Like yoga, walking is a simple activity that provides myriad benefits. It improves health and wellbeing and lets your elderly parents live independently for a longer period of time. It is important for the elderly to remain physically and mentally active as they move into their golden years, and walking helps facilitate this. Read on for the benefits of walking for elderly parents.
Helps Maintain a Healthy Weight
As a light to moderate physical activity, walking will help your elderly parents maintain an ideal weight. A sedentary lifestyle is not ideal for your parents, as it runs the risk of them developing obesity and the host of ill effects that come with that. Walking will help keep your parents trim, lowering their risk of heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, and diabetes.
Helps Maintain Mobility
Walking can help your parents keep their joints flexible. This is because it helps lubricate and strengthen the muscles that support joints. For those whose parents are suffering from arthritis, walking can provide many benefits and also helps with pain reduction. Regular walking also helps improve balance and coordination and decreases the likelihood of falling, which is important, especially for those in their golden years.
Strengthens Muscles and Bones
Walking tones the leg and abdominal muscles. If you encourage your parents to pump their arms as they walk, it can tone their arm muscles as well. All of this helps to increase the range of motion and shifts the pressure from joints to the muscles. It’s not only the muscles that benefit from walking, however – a regular walking schedule can help to strengthen your parents’ bones, and to prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
Helps with Mood Regulation and Socialization
Walking has more than just physical benefits. A brisk walk at the end or the start of the day can really help your parents feel refreshed and energetic. As with all forms of exercise, walking also helps increase confidence and regulates mood. It can reduce anxiety or depression. If you encourage your parents to join a walking group or to include their friends in the walking routine, it also helps them socialize. Socialization is important in the elderly as it keeps them mentally sharp and helps stave off depression. Walking also helps to improve sleep and can be a fundamental part of a healthy sleep cycle to stave off insomnia.
Things to Note Before Starting a Walking Routine
It is recommended that those aged above 65 perform 30 minutes of moderately intense activity every day. Before your parents get started with their walking routine, it’s always good to have a chat with their doctor about the level of exercise that’s right for them. This is especially important if your parents have not exercised regularly previously. When you chat with the doctor, bring up any conditions that your parents might have, even if it doesn’t seem significant. Your parents’ doctor will then be able to advise them accordingly.
Get Walking Today!
After your parents have spoken to their doctor, it’s time to encourage them to start walking! This simple activity has a host of benefits, so why not start today?