Exercise is key to living a long and healthy life, and if your aging parents are currently in less than great shape, it may be up to you to encourage them to turn things around.

Start From a Place of Love.

No matter what shape your parent is in, they are unlikely to receive negative fitness encouragement toward their current state. Be sure to express that you love them and really want them to enjoy a fantastic quality of life for many, many years to come.

Give Them a “Why.”

For some, just regaining control of their health is reason enough; for others, being able to play an active role in their grandchildren’s lives may carry more weight. Focusing on what they want to achieve will give your parents more incentive to keep going.

Give Them Tools.

If your parents are receptive to education, do some research on the benefits of fitness for aging adults. Connect them with like-minded communities such as “Fit After Fifty,” and make sure they know they aren’t alone.

Help Them Get Started.

Setting up a fitness plan after many years of no exercise is difficult and can be quite intimidating. Depending on your parents’ personality, giving them some ideas that you have researched might work or they might prefer to educate themselves.

Support Their Efforts.

Few people, if any, flourish in something difficult without positive reinforcement. Try suggesting exercising together. Time spent hiking with their kids (now adults) or grandkids may be just the motivation they need.

Set Milestones and Goals.

Positive encouragement is one thing, but when your parent feels you’re as excited about their achievements as they are, it can go so much further! Listen to your parents about what they hope to achieve. Help them set goals, and then celebrate when they reach or pass those goals.


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