Yoga for Beginners App Offers Caregivers, Clients Easy Way to Exercise

Relieving stress and staying active play a big part in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but most of the time that seems easier said than done. For senior caregivers whose work is particularly demanding, setting aside time a couple of times a week to exercise and de-stress can make a big difference in mental and physical health. The Yoga For Beginners app offers a way for caregivers and their senior clients to stretch and exercise wherever is most convenient for them. 

The home screen of the app is divided into four different sections: Yoga Plans, Yoga Poses, Health Tips and Instruction. Under Yoga Plans, caregivers will find the different options for yoga programs that they can complete through the guided instructions in the app. The Yoga for Beginners plan is free, while the others such as Yoga to Relieve Stress or Yoga for Better Sleep must be paid for. Starting with Yoga for Beginners will give you and your senior clients a feel for the basic poses and will help with the aforementioned issues. Simply doing any yoga helps bring calm to the mind and stretch the body. 

Once users select a program, they can click start to begin the countdown and launch into their exercise routine. The screen shows the specific pose that caregivers should use, and if a demonstration is needed then caregivers can click on the play button in the upper right-hand corner. This will pull up a video explaining and demonstrating the pose for someone who has never done it before. The videos are embedded directly into the app from YouTube, so they aren't all the same style or instructor. But given the free nature of the app, they do a sufficient job of educating the viewer on how to complete the exercise. 

Under the Yoga Poses area of the app, caregivers will find a list of poses that serve different purposes and instructions on how to complete them. The categories include Yoga Poses, Abs Exercises, Stretch Exercises, etc. Every category includes some free poses and some locked for a paid subscription. These all include a written description of the activity and what it helps with, and then a YouTube video showing the exercise. These YouTube videos appear to be specifically put together for the app, as opposed to the videos in the other portion that differ in instructor and style video-to-video. 

Under Health Tips, caregivers will find several categories sharing tips on everything from Women's Health and Weight Loss Tips to Healthy Eating and Aging & Health. When users read these tips, even in the prose they are reminded to consult with their doctors for expert opinions before changing their habits drastically. Especially when it comes to senior clients, medical professionals will offer a more sound opinion than general tips in an app. However, this section can offer some food for thought, and options to discuss at future doctor's appointments. 

The Yoga for Beginners app is available for Apple platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Stay Fit into the Fall Using Yoga App

Summer is almost gone, and with fall comes the tendency to spend more time indoors and sedentary. For senior caregivers, regular exercise can provide much-needed stress relief. Yoga offers a chance to get moving and improve flexibility while staying indoors. The Simply Yoga app teaches caregivers how to do complete different yoga exercises. 

When caregivers first open the Simply Yoga app, they will find a very basic home screen. One detriment to the app is the lack of labels on the home screen. Across the top, there are simply selections between 20, 40 or 60 minutes and underneath that numbers representing difficulty level. When users select a length and a difficulty number, the video program begins. 

The video introduces a pose by saying the name, describing the pose and how to effectively move your body to complete the pose. Poses in the program include Mountain Pose, Sun Salutation and Chair Pose. Users have the ability to move forward and backwards between the different poses using the buttons at the bottom of the screen, so if they miss part of the instructions they can listen again. 

In the background as the narrator talks, the app also plays background noise of waves in an ocean. This, along with the tone of the narrator's voice, is meant to help calm the user as they complete the exercises. In the settings area of the app, caregivers can turn this ocean waves sound on or off, as well as the pose sound and instructions sound within the app. 

The settings area of the app also offers a reminder day and time for notifications to complete a workout. Caregivers can complete these exercises in their living room, or with a senior client in their living room. Remember to use a mat, particularly if you should be exercising on a hardwood floor or a similar rough surface. 

For senior clients, yoga can offer a low-impact way to keep moving and improve flexibility. However, always check with their doctor before starting a new exercise plan and don't force any poses that might be too challenging for them. Participating in a yoga program together also gives you a chance to bond with your senior clients. 

The Simply Yoga app is available for Apple and Android platforms. While the interface itself leaves something to be desired in design, the videos themselves make for useful beginner educational tools. 

 Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko 

Add Your Steps Into Miles Using MapMyWalk App

Everywhere you turn these days, people are discussing how many steps they got today and if they've met the main goal of 10,000 throughout the course of their day. The FitBit craze has taken over. For senior caregivers who may not want to spend $100 or more on a wristband to count their steps, the MapMyWalk app offers an alternative to tracking light exercise. 

Going for a walk offers health benefits to senior caregivers and their clients alike. For senior clients who may not have ease of motion any longer and cannot participate in high-impact activities, walking provides a way to still get up and move while setting their own pace. For senior caregivers, walking can help get you out of the house and relieve stress. And, according to Harvard Health, as a form of moderate exercise, walking can improve cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, etc. 

When users first open the MapMyWalk app, they need to create an account. This allows caregivers to keep historical data of their walks to review and compare over time. Starting a new workout is easy. Caregivers simply need to click the "Record a Workout" button and make sure the proper exercise appears in the upper left corner. 

While the app's main focus is walking outdoors, other exercise types are available to track as well. Users can choose between stairs, walking on a treadmill, running, mountain biking, hiking and more. Once users select an activity, they can click the "Start Workout" button as they begin exercising. 

If caregivers don't have a specific route in mind, they can make it up as they go and the app will track it. Otherwise, if they'd prefer to have a set route ahead of time, the app offers a tool to see nearby routes that other runners have taken to help plan yours. For an additional fee associated with the MVP membership, users can use the Route Genius tool, which analyzes the map in your neighborhood and suggests the best path. 

As users go for their walk, the app tracks distance, duration, pace and calories burned. Don't think of this as a race against the clock, though. Take your walk at a pace that you feel comfortable with, especially if you have a senior client accompanying you. Once a workout is complete, it's stored in the workouts tab for future reference. Users can easily review how far they've walked over time on this tab. 

The app also features challenges that caregivers can opt into, if they so desire. These range in difficulty and requirements, such as walking a certain amount throughout the whole year. Users can also search for friends in the app to view their activity and send them encouragement. 

The MapMyWalk app is available for Apple and Android platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discovers additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Use Yoga App to Keep Fitness Resolutions

At the start of every year, gyms are flooded for a few months with new members and the number of diet commercials on TV seem to quadruple. If you made a New Year's Resolution to be a healthier you, try the Daily Yoga app for an easy way to get some exercise at home. 

Yoga provides increased flexibility and muscle strength when practiced on a regular basis. It's also a low-impact exercise, making it ideal to do at the end of a tough day or with your senior client if they have the range of motion needed. 

Users need to create a free account with the app when they first download it, and then they're able to see all of the workout options on the home screen. The default screen shows an option to filter between Featured workouts or All Sessions. Under all sessions, users will see Beginners sessions such as Standing Poses, Lying Poses, Seating Poses, etc. 

Once users select one of these categories, they will see a menu of different poses such as Supine Torso Twist, Dynamic Half Little Boat, or Prone Neck Stretch. The names sound foreign to someone who is new to yoga, but the thumbnail pictures next to the name make it easier to understand what the pose will look like. 

After picking a specific group of poses, caregivers can view a preview of the video for that pose or download the video to complete their workout. The videos per pose last for about 45 seconds and shows a person on a mat completing the moves slowly while a narrator explains each part. All of the poses in a Session last for a set amount of time, i.e. 15 minutes. The videos are easy to follow, stop and rewind as necessary to ensure users complete the moves completely and accurately. 

Users can also read about the poses offered and get more background in yoga by clicking View Details under a session. A biography for the instructor leading that session also appears so users can learn more about the person they're learning from. 

Yoga offers stress relief for caregivers, and often includes a meditative state. Try completing a session when you first wake up before your hectic day, or at night before you go to bed. The app also provides a Community section for users new to yoga to talk about why they started yoga and ask questions about the practice. 

The Daily Yoga app is available for Apple and Android platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discovers additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Summer Exercise Through Swimming App

Summer is right around the corner and with it comes the opportunity to get outdoors, enjoy the sun and get fit. Swimming offers an effective cardiovascular workout while being gentle on the joints. Senior caregivers and their senior clients can enjoy the activities together or senior caregivers can track time spent before or after work taking a few laps in the pool with the Speedo Fit app. 

The Speedo Fit app features swimming tracking and goals for beginners through advanced swimmers. When users first create an account, they set goals in the app for distance to swim. Beginners can choose to start off with a goal track called "Bathtub to 500m." It features weekly distance milestones that gradually increase until they hit the 500 meter mark. This may be a simple starting point for a more capable senior client or for caregivers new to swimming for fitness. The app also offers milestones and challenges for more experienced swimmers, such as "3K in 6 Weeks." 

The Swim Tips section of the app shares suggestions for how to improve a work out. The Swim Coach area features specific guided exercise plans designed to increase endurance and speed or improve technique. This section also provides informational videos on how to properly complete various strokes, such as the freestyle, backstroke or butterfly. It even includes an area devoted to tips for swimmers new to fitness swimming. The tips vary from pool rules and guidelines about which lane to use to what to bring with you and what gear to wear (googles, swim cap, etc.)

The Gear section expands on what's needed to get started as a new swimmer. Since the app is put together by Speedo, the gear area offers users the ability to view products and shop directly in the app. Caregivers can also take notes on what's presented in the app and shop for the items at a store of their choosing. 

Senior clients can use the app primarily for different stroke demonstrations and adapt to swim at their own pace. Even light physical activity can help seniors maintain mobility. Caregivers can accompany them to the pool and spend a little time doing a few laps on their own to help with stress relief. 

The Speedo Fit App is available for Apple platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko


September is National Senior Center Month

We know most seniors prefer to age in place, at home. In fact, according to AARP, over 90 percent of older Americans want to stay home as opposed to relocating to assisted living or nursing homes.

The challenge with aging in place is that unless the senior has a full time caregiver, they can wind up being alone most of the time. That isolation and inactivity can begin a downward spiral of depression and loneliness. Not exactly the picture of a happy way to age.

Senior care at home can also get expensive, especially if you’re paying for simple companionship. Paying a companion caregiver $15 per hour to sit and play bridge might be a bit of overkill, especially since most seniors live on a fixed income.

The National Council on Aging has designated September as National Senior Center Month, and the theme for 2014 is Senior Centers: Experts at Living Well — Discover, Play, Create, Challenge.

Not to be confused with Adult Day Care Centers which are more costly and offer a higher degree of structure and supervision, Senior Centers are facilities that offer a wide variety of activities and offer opportunities for independent seniors to interact. It’s perfect for the active elderly—those who would like a place to “hang out”, have fun, and maybe learn a little something new.

Senior Centers often offer classes, trips, parties, volunteer opportunities, and recreational activities, and lifetime learning programs, including expert lectures. A healthy meal can also be had for an additional minimal fee. Oftentimes, they provide opportunities for day- and sometimes even overnight-excursions.

Regionally, some senior center endeavors are pushing boundaries and giving area seniors a little extra this month.

  • In Livermore, California, the California Highway Patrol will be offering a free public presentation on “How to Recognize Elder Abuse”.
  • The Glastonbury, CT Senior Center are inviting seniors to take part in a 10-week fitness challenge that includes a variety of activities to make people more aware of their own health and well-being.
  • The St. Clair Street Senior Center in Tennessee is featuring a Drum Circle, Tai Chi, St. Clair Walkers and an Art Show.

Some programs have been developed specifically to highlight this month’s senior center theme, but some communities see a great opportunity in working with local seniors.

In New York, for example, the Department on Aging is teaming up with local arts councils and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs to present SPARC : Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide. The initiative places 50 artists-in-residence at senior centers across the five boroughs of New York City. The goal is to produce arts programming for seniors in exchange for workspace and a small stipend. As reported by website Hyperallergic, last year, participating dance company De Novo staged Houseguest at the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance and included seven seniors from the Astoria senior center where they had been in residence.

I plan on exploring this month’s theme by taking my own mother to a local senior center. Looking ahead to winter, it may be just the place for her to spend some time among her peers in the community. While I don’t expect she’ll be performing any contemporary dance moves, they might just get her to Zumba.

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