One of the most effective and easiest forms of exercise out there for the elderly is walking. Walking is a good way to keep your body active, regardless of your level of mobility. In fact, regular walks help one maintain the four core fitness areas recommended by the National Institute on Aging for the elderly – flexibility, strength, endurance, and balance. You’ll also get to connect and socialize with others in the process of exercising. We explore further the many benefits of daily walking for your aging body.
Improve Cardiovascular Health
A lot of research has shown that regular walking leads to lower blood pressure and improves circulation, mitigating the signs of cardiovascular disease. In fact, the University of Tennessee and the University of Colorado at Boulder have done studies that proved that walking a few miles daily also reduced the risk of stroke for older women.
Slow Dementia and Cognitive Decline
Walking helps people to remain mentally sharp as they age. University of California San Francisco researchers discovered that women – of age 65 or older – who had more regular walks faced lower age-related mental decline, in general. As more test subjects went for walks, the occurrence of mental decline became lesser. In the same vein, a University of Virginia study that targeted men aged 71 to 93 discovered that the test subjects who walked a quarter of a mile or more daily experienced half the incidence of dementia, compared to the individuals who did not go for walks.
Strengthen Joints, Bones, and Muscles
Walking is a whole-body workout although it is relatively low-impact. It strengthens your bones, joints, and muscles simultaneously. Walking decreases the friction around your joints, which require regular movement so they can function properly. Simultaneously, the movement of walking strengthens your supportive bones and muscles. In fact, studies have proved that walking can lower the risk of experiencing hip fractures; lessen the loss of bone mass during osteoporosis; and heavily reduce arthritis pain.
Your immune system receives a major boost naturally from walking. A huge study of 1000 adults discovered that those who walked five days a week, just 20 minutes daily, had 43 percent fewer sick days than the test subjects who did not. Additionally, walking has been proven to lower the chance of developing chronic illnesses like certain forms of cancer.
Improves Sleeping Patterns
If you walk in the early morning, it may be easier to fall asleep at night, according to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Researchers found that women – between the ages of 50 and 75 – who went for walks every morning were a lot less likely to be insomniac than those who did not.
Promotes Healthy Weight
Of course, walking promotes a healthy weight! A Harvard study involving more than 12,000 individuals discovered that those who spend around an hour a day brisk walking were very much less likely to suffer from the effects of 32 genes that induce obesity. Regular walking can help curb your sweet tooth, according to recent research, resulting in a lower intake of unhealthy and sugary foods.