Adult Day Centers Encourage Healthy Lifestyle for Adults with IDD and Caregivers
Did you know that August is National Wellness Month? This observance is the perfect excuse for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and caregivers to focus on healthy routines, stress management, and self-care. Physical activity programs tailored to persons with intellectual disabilities have been shown to improve physical characteristics such as cardiovascular fitness, strength, weight, and balance. Additionally, physical activity boosts self-esteem and can improve behavior. Participation in group classes or events offers a social outlet for the participant as well as the caregivers.
Before starting any new physical fitness program, it is a good idea to check with a doctor. Adults with IDD may have medical conditions that warrant some precautions before being cleared to participate. Many adult day centers now offer programs tailored to individuals with intellectual disabilities, including:
Aerobic activity, sometimes referred to as cardio or fitness training, is activity of moderate to high intensity that can be sustained over a long period of time; strength training, also known as weight training, is physical exercise that utilizes resistance to induce muscle contraction; stretching exercises can be done at any time and should be done before and after exercise; and balance exercises. Examples include standing on one foot, walking heel to toe (as if on a tight rope), or side leg lifts. These exercises are useful in preventing falls and building confidence.
Wellness is an ongoing commitment, and sometimes one of the essential factors is encouragement. Healthy lifestyle decisions are often easier when being cheered on, and there is accountability involved. Be sure to give credit for any changes made even small ones. Because when it comes to physical activity, every little bit helps!