How-To Articles

How to Keep Exercise Fun
for Your Residents

Exercise can become boring and redundant, unless you incorporate fun and exciting ideas into your exercise class.

To get your residents interested in your exercise activities, be sure to add in a few of these 10 tips:

1. Be Energetic! After all, you want the residents to actually enjoy the activity.

2. Rename the Activity. Instead of Exercise Class, call it Fitness Fun or Morning Stretch.

3. Use Props in Your Class. You can add one-pound weights for added resistance or scarves for visual interest as residents do arm exercises.

4. Think Outside of the Box. Include other activities during the day that are physical. For example, in the afternoon, add Balloon Tennis to your program in which residents use plastic tennis rackets to hit a balloon back and forth to one another. You can also have a Bowling Tournament or Shuffleboard Tournament. These activities sound fun and help get the residents up and moving.

5. Start on Time. You do not want to lose residents from your class just because they hate having to wait for the instructor.

6. Say Thank You. At the end of the year, give out awards or ribbons to class members for their participation in your exercise class. (The awards may even encourage them to continue with the class.) Be sure to hand out the awards at a large group meeting so that your other non-active residents can see the “rewards” of coming to exercise class.

7. Ask Residents for Suggestions. Many residents have taken exercise classes at the local YMCA or in their retirement communities. They may have good ideas that you can incorporate into your routine.

8. Play Background Music. You can play background music that relates to the type of exercise that you are doing. For example, play classical music for stretching, big band music for dance, or new age music for yoga.

9. Serve Drinks Afterward. Make sure to serve water to your residents after each exercise activity. It is important to keep your residents hydrated.

10. Ask an outside instructor to teach a class. Don’t be afraid to pick up some tips and tricks from a person who conducts exercise classes for a living. Invite a local instructor to teach a class or two to your residents. Be sure to sit in on the class and take notes!

Related: How to Increase Your Residents’ Finger Mobility

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