10 Walking Benefits for Seniors & Older Adults

Have you ever met an elderly person in their eighties or nineties who looked younger than they actually were? You must have asked them what they do to stay fit and healthy even at this age. Their answer to this question might be along the lines of: “oh, I love to go for a walk at least once a day”.

With almost no strain required and minimum effort needed, “walking” is the best exercise for seniors to stay fit and healthy. Going for long walks at least once a day not only strengthens the muscles it also refreshes and helps your loved one’s mind function better.  Walking has endless benefits for seniors. Let’s look at some of the major benefits:

1. Improves blood circulation

Hindered blood circulation to the legs is a common problem in the elderly. You might have noticed that your senior loved one’s hands and feet are often cold, this is often because of decreased blood circulation. Some other symptoms of reduced blood circulation include:

  • Discoloration in hands and feet
  • Numbness and tingling sensation
  • Swollen ankles and feet

Decreased blood circulation can be life-threatening for seniors in some cases. But don’t worry because there’s a simple solution: “Walking”. Daily walking causes the heart rate to increase allowing blood to pump faster into the hands, feet, and every other part of the body. This greatly improves circulation and reduces the risk of heart diseases and strokes in the elderly

2. Strengths bone health

Is your loved one suffering from osteoporosis? Daily walking can help strengthen bones and help reduce the chances of them suffering from hip fractures and bone breakage. Fragile bones in old age occur because after the age of 35 less bone mass is replaced and repaired. Brisk walking for 30 minutes straight is ideal.

3. Provides a longer life to enjoy

Researchers have discovered that walking an extra thousand steps per day can increase the life expectancy of individuals by 28%. Another research concluded that people who regularly went for daily walks in their fifties and sixties were 35% less likely to die in the next eight years. Daily walking improves the quality of life by helping seniors sleep better, increasing energy levels, and slowing mental decline.

4. Reduces chances of obesity

Maintaining a healthy weight is very important in seniors to help them fight off chronic diseases that are often common in the elderly. These diseases include high cholesterol, hypertension, and some cancers. Brisk walking can help melt away excess fat that harmful and not needed so your loved one can remain healthy at all times.

5. Helps improve the quality of sleep

Daily walking increases the time duration of sleep. This is especially helpful for seniors suffering from insomnia. Besides that walking also increases the time that is spent deep sleeping. This means it reduces the chances of your loved one going into a restless sleep. So what is deep sleeping? Deep sleeping is a stage of sleeping that allows the body to restore its energy maximum capacity allowing your loved one’s body to recharge and rejuvenate.

6.Lightens and brightens the mood

Your senior loved one may feel frustrated and irritated sometimes, this is linked to their declining body health. Not being able to function at their best can lead to seniors feeling high levels of anxiety. Research shows that walking releases endorphins that are responsible for lightening mood and these endorphins can also help your loved one fight the onset of depression and anxiety.

7. Slows Mental Decline

A research study done at the University of California proved that women 65 years of age or older who walked 2.5 miles per day faced 17% age-related mental decline. While the same age group of women that walked only half a mile per day faced 25% mental decline.

It was also seen that seniors with mild metal decline showed improved blood flow to their brain and improved memory retention after taking daily walks and undergoing various other aerobic exercises.

8. Lowers risk of Alzheimer’s disease

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses in seniors they often start walking slowly. Their steps become irregular and they find it hard to navigate through simple turns while walking.

Research shows that walking at least six miles a week for over 13 years can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 50%. So walking is an amazing preventive measure that can save your loved one from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

9. Supports and strengthens joints

Joints have no blood supply of their own they get nutrition only when a person moves. Movement causes joint fluid to circulate and allows strengthening of joints. While walking the cartilage gets pressed down allowing oxygen to reach the joints as well. Not exercising the joints can lead to diseases such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in seniors.

Does your loved one suffer from Arthritis? Here’s a blog that can help you understand how it’s managed: “Ways to Manage Arthritis”.

10. Increases Productivity Level

Productivity is the ability to do more work in lesser time. Daily walking is known to improve productivity in seniors. It improves their focusing ability and attentiveness allowing them to make decisions and complete tasks at a faster rate than those elderly who do not walk daily.

Amazing grace home cares understands how important it is for seniors to keep their muscles and joints moving. So here we set a steady walking pace and time duration for your loved one.

It is important to note that walking pace and time duration are different according to their health condition. For example in the case of seniors with breathing problems a slower walking pace for a lesser amount of time is prescribed so it does not trigger symptoms of their disease. It is best to consult a doctor or professional before your loved one starts with their walking routine.

So are you ready to help your seniors live a healthier lifestyle by introducing daily walking into their lives?

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