Three huge benefits of walking for the elderly
Did you know that May is National Walking Month? As the country is opening up again, Birchwood Care Services carers have been enjoying getting out and about with clients who are able to. Walking has some fantastic health benefits, both physical and mental. Many of us benefit from walking regularly, but it is particularly helpful for the elderly.
Minimal impact – impressive results
- low impact,
- requires minimal equipment,
- can be done at any time of day,
- can be performed at your own pace.
What’s not to love? It is a form of exercise that can be as gentle as you like and still provide great benefits and results. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can:
- increase cardiovascular fitness,
- strengthen bones,
- reduce body fat,
- boost muscle power and endurance.
And that’s just the beginning!
Great for mental wellbeing
Walking is also fantastic for mental health. It can be a wonderful mindful activity to help ease stress and anxiety. It improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed, and staying active helps those who are depressed recover.
When looking at women 65 or older, University of California San Francisco researchers found that women who walked more experienced less age-related mental decline overall. The more test subjects walked, the lower their incidence of mental decline became. Similarly, a University of Virginia study focusing on men aged 71 to 93 found that those who walked a quarter of a mile or more per day experienced half the incidence of Alzheimer’s or dementia, compared to those who didn’t walk.
Fulfilling our social needs
Not only is walking a wonderful activity for being mindful it can also be something that fulfils our social needs. Walking with friends, family, and of course, carers can be a great opportunity to make connections with both loved ones and the world around us. At Birchwood Care Services, our carers find that a walk is often a fantastic tool to lift clients’ spirits.
Staying social in itself has countless benefits for the elderly. You can find out more about that, along with a number of other great tips, in our blog for staying happy as you age.
If you’re an older adult who’s keen to get walking, make sure you touch base with your doctor before trying any new fitness program.