Walking Your Way to Wellness: How Seniors Can Stay Active and Healthy
Most of us know that physical activity is important for maintaining a healthy and happy body. And this is even more true for the senior citizens in our lives.
Being regularly physically active—more than once a week for about 150 minutes total—can greatly improve our physical as well as mental well-being. Studies have even shown that engaging in exercise throughout one’s life can help delay some 40 chronic health conditions.
And while most of us may know this to some extent or another, that doesn’t mean we practice it as often or consistently as we probably should. But hey, we get it. Getting up and ready to go to the gym, or an exercise class isn’t always an attractive, or viable, option for senior citizens.
The good news is that getting exercise doesn’t have to be an intense weight lifting regimen or waking up at the crack of dawn pushing tires around. For senior citizens, walking can be a great way to keep physically active and help strengthen their respiration.
In this article, Christian Companions Houston will share with you the benefits of implementing a walking routine as well as some tips on making it more safe and enjoyable.
Benefits of walking for seniors
Walking is a great way for seniors to improve and maintain cardiovascular health. Having a regular walking routine can help lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, as well as improve blood flow to the heart. All of this helps to lower the risk of heart disease and strokes.
Muscle Strength and Endurance
It’s natural for our bodies to begin losing muscle mass as we age. This leads to a weakness in the body that can increase the risk of falls. Walking regularly is a great and efficient way to help seniors maintain their muscle mass, overall strength, and their endurance.
Balance and Coordination
The risk of falling and other movement related injuries continues to increase as we age. One way to greatly improve our odds against dangerous falls is to keep our balance and coordination in check. Walking regularly can help seniors stay limber and have a better sense of their body’s proprioception, also referred to as kinesthesia. By being more aware of their body and its movements, seniors will be better at maintaining their balance and recovering before a fall.
It’s no secret that there are a myriad of chronic diseases that afflict seniors as they age. From diabetes, arthritis and hypertension, walking is a great way to help seniors reduce the risk of these chronic diseases
The benefits of walking extend well beyond the physical body. Walking has significant benefits for the mental well being of seniors as well. Regular exercise has been shown to help reduce anxiety and depression. Taking a nice walk outdoors is also a great activity to help improve cognitive function. There is also the added benefit of enjoying the outdoors while walking.
How Christian Companions Can Help
Companionship on Walks
Our in-home caregivers can be a senior’s walking buddy and help encourage them to get up and get out. Sometimes all we need is a little push and someone to help us overcome the inertia of being sedentary. It also takes the focus off the activity and is more of a social activity with a friend.
Another added benefit of an in-home caregiver on walks is their ability to make sure the path is clear and safe of any hazards. The last thing we would want on our walks would be to stumble on some rocks or difficult terrain and injure ourselves. That’s where our caregivers can help plan and scout routes that would be best for a senior to walk and enjoy.
Supplies and Medications
Our in-home caregivers can be in charge of carrying any supplies that might be needed on the walk. Whether it’s extra water, some snacks, or even medication, seniors don’t have to worry about carrying any extra things with them and can keep their focus on the walk. This also makes the walk safer as it keeps a senior’s hands free and not unnecessarily weighed down by anything.