Walking has long been known as a great way for just about anyone to get some physical exercise.
However, for the elderly, walking can help them receive all kinds of important health benefits to keep them living the quality of life they desire.
If you’re taking care of an elderly parent, encouraging a daily walk for your parent can really help your parent improve many areas of her life. Your parent can walk alone or with someone. If she loves companionship while walking, enlist an elder care giver and/or family member to walk with her whenever possible. Before you know it, your parent will be reaping these rewards:
Taking a walk in the morning can actually help a person sleep better at night. It’s also a great way to greet the day and get the body ready for a day’s worth of activities. While walking anytime during the day helps, morning walks seem to keep the body’s daily rhythms in better order, helping it to know when it’s time to sleep and time to wake up each day. If your parent is an early riser, encourage her to take a stroll before the heat of the day starts to set in.
Slowed Cognitive Decline
Walking regularly is a great way for seniors to keep mentally sharp as they age. University of California researchers found that women over 65 who walked often had a less overall cognitive decline. In fact, the more they walked, the less decline they had. Another study found that older men had less incidence of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease if they practiced a regular walking routine.
The health benefits of walking are plentiful. They range from improved circulation, reduced cardiovascular disease, an improved immune system, and a less likelihood of developing a chronic illness, such as cancer. Walking can help your aging parent to meet all four of the recommended four core areas of fitness that the National Institute of Aging lists for all seniors – endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. It’s like a magic bullet for better health!
Walking helps the body release endorphins which in turn, brighten up a person’s mood and gives them a shot of positive feelings. Just 30 minutes, five times a week can help your parent feel better mentally as well as physically.
If your parent can find a walking partner, walking can also be a great time for her to connect with others and improve her social life. Your parent should walk at such a pace that conversations are easy, thus making sure she’s not overdoing it, as well as giving her the opportunity to connect with the person she is walking with. It can be an old friend, a neighbor, or her elder care provider (or it can be a nice mix of all of them).
Stronger Bones and Muscles
While walking is low impact, it is still a complete body workout, providing health benefits to your parent’s muscles, bones, and joints, all at once. Walking lubricates the joints, which need regular activity to stay functional.
So, help your parent find a good pair of walking shoes, put on that sunscreen, and find a place to walk every day to extend her life and the quality of it.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Elder Care in Los Gatos, CA, please contact the caring staff at Reachpoint Home Care & Resources Inc. today. (408) 692-4110