Anyone who can walk can incorporate exercise into their life, no matter how old they are. Senior care studies have shown that health and strength can be improved by regular physical activity for seniors even into their 90s, so no one is never too old to start exercising. Seniors who can get in a 30 minute walk each day are well on their way to improving their health and fitness.
It may be necessary to start smaller with shorter amounts of time and work one’s way up to 30 minutes. Since many seniors are already walking as a part of carrying out their daily activities, their main goal can be increasing the amount of time they are walking each day. Before beginning any exercise routine, senior care providers recommend that seniors check with their doctor to confirm that any activity undertaken will be safe and beneficial.
Senior care studies have shown many potential benefits to walking, including:
Increasing independence: Getting around on one’s own helps seniors avoid feeling dependent or burdensome, and can give them a sense of purpose. Being independently mobile allows seniors to continue to be engaged in community activities and get around on their own, and walking regularly helps them maintain their ability to do this longer. Even if some assistance is needed – for example having a family member or in home care provider help with transportation – seniors who are able to walk without assistance can feel empowered and are more likely to be engaged in the larger community, which helps with their overall health.
Increasing longevity: Walking as a form of exercise increases aerobic capacity, builds muscle, helps maintain low blood pressure levels, increases flexibility, helps maintain balance and seems to mitigate the effects of heart disease, osteoporosis and other conditions. The healthier an individual is, the less likely they are to die prematurely.
Promoting positive mental health: Being independent and mobile, feeling physically healthy and being able to maintain relationships and activities help seniors feel good about their lives and themselves. These factors – and avoiding the negativity associated with not being able to do these things – helps seniors avoid depression and maintain a positive state of mind. Walking on a regular basis allows seniors to continue being engaged longer.
Improving one’s mind: Senior care experts have found that memory, reasoning ability and reaction time are improved by regular exercise, including walking.
Seniors can improve their physical and mental health by walking on a regular basis. Whether it’s walking in the neighborhood, at the mall while shopping, or in a beautiful natural setting, each venue offers seniors the opportunity for a better quality of life.