Time and time again, we hear about the benefits of walking. For decades it’s been touted as an essential part of a healthy lifestyle built on a balanced diet and moderate exercise. But by some accounts, walking starts to sound like a miracle cure that can treat anything from arthritis to dementia. So what’s the truth about the benefits of walking?
Walking Is Good For Your Body, Mind, and Soul
While walking might not be a panacea, it certainly has several positive effects on many parts of the body and mind. It’s especially beneficial for seniors because of its low impact. It can be a great option even for people with arthritis or other mobility issues that make more strenuous activity uncomfortable or even unsafe. Here’s all the good that walking can do for you.
Walking Benefits the Body
The benefits of walking on your physical health are tangible and well-studied. Even taking a 15-minute walk after eating has been proven to reduce the post-meal spike in blood sugar that many seniors experience. And of course, walking is excellent for heart health as well: daily walking reduces the risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Taking a stroll is also great for gently improving your muscle strength, flexibility, and balance, all of which particularly benefit seniors.
In time, walking can even decrease your likelihood of falling. It can also help reduce some pain, especially due to arthritis or lower back pain. Even a 20-minute walk three times a week can have a meaningful impact on chronic low-grade pain. It can also help stave off osteoporosis, increase your energy and stamina, and keep your weight steady. It’s difficult to overstate how far-reaching the benefits of walking can be for your body!
Walking Benefits the Mind
Sadly, many seniors experience anxiety and depression as they age. The good news is that by simply taking regular walks, you can help reduce the impact of stress and sadness. Even mild physical activity releases endorphins, which can immediately help you feel more happy, optimistic, and better about life. An Australian study found that women who had walked 300 minutes a week–that’s just about 40 minutes a day–were proven to have more energy, more social contact, and felt better emotionally.
The study participants were also less limited by their depression than their more sedentary counterparts when researchers followed up after three years. And walking isn’t only good for your mental health; it can also help stave off dementia. Adults over 65 who regularly walked had significantly lower rates of dementia than those who were more sedentary. Research shows that the importance of walking is not only significant in an immediate sense, but is a valuable investment in your future.
Walking Benefits the Soul
The benefits of walking on your body and mind have been studied and proven countless times. But the true rewards go even deeper than the physical and chemical reactions it creates. Walking is a great way to connect with other people; going for a stroll in a group is not only more fun, but it can also help seniors feel less isolated. It’s also a great way to reap the benefits of being outside, which has all sorts of additional bonuses to your wellbeing. At the end of the day, the positive effect of walking on both your body and mental state can create meaningful changes in your long-term happiness.
How To Start Walking More
One of the best things about walking is that it’s so easy to get started. To make walking an essential part of your daily health routine, you just need a sturdy pair of shoes and a safe place to ramble. Be sure that your shoes have decent arch and ankle support to keep you steady on your feet. When it comes time to pick out a place to walk, you’ll want to find somewhere with well-maintained sidewalks and preferably less car traffic.
Caregivers Can Help
Of course, not all seniors feel confident enough to get out and hit the pavement. Some might have balance issues; others may not have a good location to walk nearby and no transportation to get elsewhere. Some seniors might have everything they need to start walking, but lack the motivation to take the first step. If you’re struggling to start your walking journey, an in-home caregiver might be able to help.
One of the most significant benefits of an in-home caregiver is their flexibility. No matter your needs, a caregiver is there to make things easier. When you’re trying to build a new habit like regular walking, a caregiver can lend a steady hand, so you feel safe from falls while you walk. During months when the weather is too hot or unpleasant to exercise outdoors safely, a caregiver will provide transportation to a shopping mall or indoor track where you can get your daily walking in comfortably.
And if you’re worried about how a routine walk will cut into your schedule each day, a caregiver can help you save time by taking over chores around the house. Cooking, tidying up, and other household tasks are all part of a day’s work for your caregiver. All in all, a caregiver is a valuable ally when it comes to making the most of your later years. Like walking, a caregiver might not be able to fix everything–but they sure can do a lot to help!
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.