Old age is not a disease rather it is the phase of life where a person demonstrates exceptional strength and survivorship through all the difficulties of life. Surviving the youth is way easier as compared to old age mainly due to the drop in the health of the seniors. If you know someone who is getting old, you can help them regain their mental and physical strength through activities such as walking. A morning walk brings plenty of benefits for the seniors.
Benefits of Walking for Seniors
Strengthening of Bones and Joints
People who age beyond 40 are at the risk of having Osteoporosis. This is a disease that weakens the bones and joints which can become brittle over time. Stress over these bones could result in fractures or excessive pain. It can lead to hip fractures, a condition which does not usually get serious but could be fatal on rare occasions.
Based on the elements of Osteoporosis mentioned above, elders should be walking to regain the strength in their bones and joints. One of the main reasons for Osteoporosis is that there is not enough exercise of the bones. As a person reaches old age, they tend to rest more which means that the bones lose their strength over time. Walking regularly will help your bones to stay active and fit as well as not develop any kind of bone disease.
Improves Heart Health
Another important aspect to consider is that heart health is also impacted by walking. People who walk, especially elders, have noticed lower and controlled blood pressure as well as improved cardiovascular function. Any kind of heart disease is also reduced because the body is working on an optimal level of blood pressure. Many studies have shown that walking for a few kilometers every day will help in a reduced risk of heart attack, especially for seniors.
Walking every day will also provide a reduction in the risk of high cholesterol. Any kind of coronary heart disease will be avoided leading to a more healthy and active life even when you have reached an older age.
In elder age, one problem that many face is that they start to experience pain in the different parts of their body. Common pains among seniors include back pain, leg pain, arm pain, and chest pain as well. Studies have shown that walking could be one solution to all of these pains. All you need to do is to maintain consistency in walking by doing it at least three times a week and there will be a significant reduction in the pain you are facing.
This happens mainly because with exercise such as walking, the whole body is in motion with many of the muscles being active and in use. As a result, potentially those muscles which have got sore or require constant exercise for staying in optimal condition are utilized with walking.
Boosts Mental Health
It has been noted that many elders develop a problem of bad mood and temper over time. They tend to get angry sooner than others and that could annoy others. This mainly happens because of the changes in the body as well as the fact that the body strength has reduced over time. Elders start to feel moody because they are no longer independent rather they have to depend on their family members or caregivers for the fulfillment of basic needs.
However, mood issues also have a simple solution and that is a routine exercise. If the elders cannot undergo extensive exercise, all they can do is walk every day. Studies have shown that exercises help in creating positive vibes in the mood of a person and also creates a sense of well-being. The chances of suffering from anxiety, depression, or other related issues also reduce. Boosting your mental health has never been easier!
Moreover, mental problems that are faced by elders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are also treated with exercises. It helps in staying sharp even at old age. Researchers have concluded that there were fewer incidents of mental problems among those who walked a quarter a mile or more per day.
There are other fun activities as well that could boost your mental health. Read about them here – Get Fun Elderly Activities.
Live a Healthy Life Longer
Unarguably one of the most important benefits is that walking helps seniors in living their life to the fullest even at old age. With consistent exercise on a daily basis, you will stay healthy. Since you will be away from a range of medical issues that are generally faced by elders, you would have a longer and healthier everyday life.
Improve Social Connections
Although not as important as a health benefit, it still stands as an important one. If you ever wake up early in the morning and head out, you will see many different elders walking together. In many local parks, exercises are conducted for seniors in routine. This helps in improving social connections, an element that lacks quite a lot in the life of a senior. As many people approach old age, they don’t have many people around them to talk to. The life of a person that has retired gets very boring because he does not go out much nor is he indulged in any kind of social work.
However, going out for a walk might help in fostering social connections. There might be others of the same age as the senior citizen himself. Making friends and catching up on some old folks’ talk is not that difficult. Having these social connections in life gives an important sense of happiness, remembrance, and importance. The bored and isolated senior is able to find life once again with improved social connections from his age fellows.
Consider These Before Making a Walk Routine
Although walking is a suitable exercise for most seniors, there are certain things you should consider prior to establishing a walking routine for seniors.
Is the Senior having any Medical Issues?
The foremost important thing to consider is whether or not the senior is suffering from any medical issue. If he is facing one, it is better to take advice from the physician. Depending upon the health of your vital function organs, the physician will tell you the most appropriate level of exercise that you can do every day. People who face medical problems such as Osteoporosis or Dementia are usually not recommended to go on extreme physical exertions. Therefore, the senior should consult the experts before starting.
Some people who are diabetic or having extraordinary heart conditions are also not advised any extra exercise. People who regularly take medications such as for the thinning of blood would also have to take opinions from the doctor before starting their walk.
Does the Senior Require a Nurse?
It is important to know if the elder needs any kind of support with them or not. If they do need human support for different day-to-day works, then having this support at the time of walk is also necessary. You would have to consult with the caregiver if he or she is willing to spend a particular time with the elder for walking. For example, some seniors have rare conditions where they have shivering hands. As a result of this, caregivers assist them in day-to-day tasks. If a senior does face this condition, he would have to go out with adult supervision so that they don’t fall.
In other cases, a nurse is required when the senior is facing a problem of short-term memory loss also known as Alzheimer’s Disease. The senior needs to be with a full-time attendant at the time when they are walking so that they know where they have to head back.
We know that the seniors do have some tough time walking compared to a person that is in his 30s. To make sure that the senior is able to walk properly, one of the most important things is to arrange the right equipment. Some elders might need a stick for support purposes which can be easily sourced from Amazon.com
Others might need shoes that allow for a better grip on both slippery and non-slip surfaces. The appropriate equipment can also include a tracker for the elders so that people at the home are always aware of the location giving peace of mind to all. Remember that aiding equipment is nothing to be embarrassed about as the majority of the people do need it.
Many elders often face stress at the hands of their caregivers. Find out how you can overcome that – How to Deal with Caregiver Stress.
Old age is a tough one and surviving it in a way that your physical and mental health is not compromised isn’t very easy. However, with exercises such as walking, one is guaranteed to have an exceptionally well living standard. All you need to do is to get the elder person to have a consultation with the doctor prior and arrange other important stuff as we mentioned above. Walking would easily help in eliminating many problems and healthier life.