Most grandparents would agree that time spent with their grandchildren leads to some of their most cherished moments. The physical stress of lifting, carrying, and chasing children around, however, can be considerable for an aging body.
In order to remain healthy and active as a grandparent, you need to ensure you’re taking steps to keep your joints, muscles, and stamina strong and primed. How exactly do you do that? Here are our top tips for keeping up with your grandchildren’s rambunctious pace.
1. Break a sweat
Do you only partake in activities when you’re with your grandchildren? If so, this is something that you should work to change. Getting regular aerobic exercise will not only help you keep up with the kids, but will improve your ability to tackle everyday tasks. This is because regular movement keeps your joints effectively lubricated. It also helps you maintain muscle strength, supports cardiovascular health, and builds your stamina.
If you currently experience joint pain, focus on engaging in low-impact forms of exercise, such as swimming, walking, or bike riding. You could even include your grandchildren in some of these activities (if safe to do so) or work up a sweat by pushing your grandchild in a stroller.
Aim to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. That translates to 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.
2. Work on your flexibility, balance, and strength
From bending down to sitting in awkward positions to lifting heavy toddlers, spending time with your grandchildren can be a real test of your flexibility, balance, and strength. While these motions and positions likely used to be a piece of cake, they can be a challenge for older adults. As such, it’s important to focus on improving in these three areas.
You can achieve this with certain exercises, including (but not limited to):
Click each link above for a demonstration of the exercise.
3. Be mindful of proper lifting
Repeatedly lifting your grandchildren on and off the ground or in and out of a car seat, stroller, or booster seat can give your body a pounding. To protect your body, especially your back, it’s essential to be mindful of your lifting technique.
To pick a child up from the floor or the toilet, squat down at your knees, rather than bending over at the hips. Widen your legs and hold the child as close to your body as possible. Keeping your shoulders back, use your legs (not your back) to push yourself back up to a standing position.
If you’re taking a child out of a car seat, stand as close to them as possible without leaning into the car seat. Then, while keeping your back straight, lift them and turn.
4. Encourage independent steps
As your grandchildren get older, bigger, and heavier, encourage them to take independent steps. This might entail holding their hand as they walk themselves to the bathroom or helping them use a step stool to get on the potty or into their car seats on their own. This will not only give them a sense of accomplishment, but will prevent excessive wear and tear on your arms, legs, and back.
5. Take supportive supplements
High-quality supplements can play an important role in keeping your joints healthy as you age. That is especially when they’re part of a big-picture plan that includes diet, exercise, and support from healthcare providers.
One such supplement is JointFuel360. This oral supplement combines research-backed, anti-inflammatory ingredients, including turmeric root, black pepper extract, Boswellia serrata extract, resveratrol, collagen (type II), and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients work together synergistically to improve joint comfort, mobility, and flexibility, allowing you to better keep up with your grandchildren’s youthful exuberance.
6. Stay hydrated
When you’re busy playing with your grandchildren, it can be easy to forget to drink water. Hydration, however, is essential when it comes to joint health, energy, and overall health.
Carry a reusable bottle of water with you during your activities so that you have access to clean water throughout the day. Aim to drink about eight, 8 ounce glasses of water a day, or more if the little ones are really giving you a workout. To entice you to drink more water, try enhancing the flavor by squeezing in some lemon or infusing it with fruit.
7. Know your limits
Even if you’ve been working on improving your strength, balance, flexibility, and stamina, it’s essential that you know and respect your limits. Kids have boundless energy that can last all day and as much as you might want to play with them to their heart’s desire, you need to listen to your body.
Take frequent breaks during play and activity and if you feel you’ve had enough movement for one day, steer your grandchildren to a low-key activity. Good options include coloring, watching a movie, playing with dolls or Legos, or baking cookies.
Also, remember that just because you can’t keep a baseball game going all afternoon doesn’t mean you have to eliminate that game from your activity repertoire completely. It just means you need to play for a shorter duration. Your grandchildren will enjoy spending time with you no matter what you’re doing, so be sure to put yourself and your well-being first.
The bottom line
Spending time with your grandchildren is a joy, but sometimes it can feel like you’re participating in a marathon. And just like you need to train for a marathon, you need to train for spending time with your grandkids. Staying active, supporting your body with an anti-inflammatory supplement like JointFuel360, taking some precautions, and building your strength, flexibility, and balance can help you get the most out of your days with your grandchildren while protecting your health.
As with any form of exercise, it’s best to check with your doctor to get a thumbs up before participating in more strenuous activity.