The key to keeping our parents on the go? Movement and exercise

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- If you have parents in their 60s, 70s, or 80s, you might notice they don't move like they used to.

Encouraging your parents to move is key to keeping their bodies resilient. Thanks to an encouraging daughter, that's exactly what 86-year-old Barbara Clarke does today.

After Clarke's husband died, her daughter noticed how the grief affected her mom's body.

"She said, 'mother, you look like an old woman.' Well, I was, but nobody wants to look like one," recalled Clarke.

So, her daughter scheduled her an exercise session at The Train Station where personal trainer Angela Franks specializes in training senior citizens.

"I think it maintains their independence. Their quality of life is important to me. I think about gaining muscle mass and how it can help their brain to learn new things," said Franks.

Franks focuses on cardio, strength, flexibility, and balance.

"So, doing a single leg stand, standing on one foot, keeping that standing leg soft, and holding onto something for support can challenge their stabilizing muscles and put their weight on one leg," she explained.

Also, do a sit to stand with your parents.

"They sit in a chair that's sturdy. Put their heels under their knees and just stand up and sit down," she added.

"A push up on the floor or counter will be too difficult. So, pushing up against a wall is a good way to work the arm muscles," said Franks.

If your parents can get down to the floor, try some bridges.

"This works the glutes and can help their back if they have back trouble," said Franks.

Finally, grab some cans to work the arms.

"I love to hit the triceps when it comes to seniors. That's important because if they do fall, they'll have the ability to push themselves up off the ground and maybe call for help, if that's the case," Franks explained.

You should also try a bicep press.

"It mimics putting dishes away on a higher shelf, or pulling something out of a closet that you might be pulling down," she said.

After just a few months, Clarke loved the results.

"I just felt all over better. I could move better. Get out of bed easier. Take a shower - all that," said Clarke.

Start with one round of 10 to 15 reps and then work your way up to two sets and do this workout with your parents two to three days a week.

Also, encourage your parents to go for walks outdoors or around the house, but make sure throw rugs are picked up and the home is well-lit.

Report a typo to the ABC13 digital staff

Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.