As we age, high-intensity workouts like running can become too hard on our body. Many elders who want to remain active will ultimately make the switch to walking as their primary form of aerobic exercise. As we tell residents at our skilled nursing facility, walking provides a long list of physical, mental and emotional health benefits.
What Elders Get From Walking
When considering why walking is such a great choice for seniors, two reasons that come immediately to mind are that it is free and that it is easy to get started. All you need is some comfortable shoes, appropriate clothing for the weather and a sidewalk or path. And as soon as you start a regular walking practice, you will begin to see the benefits, which include:
- Stronger bones. Walking for 30 minutes a day can help stop bone loss in people who have osteoporosis, which can reduce the risk of hip fractures and other broken bones.
- Improved circulation. Increasing your heart rate strengthens your heart and helps it move blood more efficiently throughout the body. Walking also lowers blood pressure and can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Better mood. Walking causes the body to release endorphins that can elevate your mood and also decrease pain.
- Stronger muscles. Muscles of the legs, abdomen and even arms can be strengthened by a regular walking regimen.
- Weight control. Walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes can burn 200 calories and, along with a sensible diet, help you maintain a healthy weight.
- Improved sleep. People who walk for an hour each day tend to have less insomnia than people who do not walk for exercise.
- Decreased risk of mental decline. Regular walkers have a lower incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Better joint health. Most joint cartilage doesn’t have direct blood supply and instead gets its nutrition from synovial fluid. This fluid is circulated by the motion of walking.
- Improved respiration. Walking at even a moderate pace increases respiration rate and depth. This moves more energizing oxygen into the blood and helps it better support your organs and tissues.
- Improved immune system function. People who walk regularly get sick less frequently and for shorter periods than people who do not get regular exercise.
Simple Steps for Better Health
It is rare to find an activity where such a small commitment of time and energy can deliver such big benefits. That’s why at Green House Homes at Mirasol, we encourage residents to get out and about every day. As a leading provider of skilled nursing care in Northern Colorado, we do all we can to help elders stay active, healthy and happy.
November/08/2018 | News