As we age, we know that the key to overall health is exercising. Exercising not only helps to keep our bodies fit and healthy, but it also is good for our minds and mental well-being. As seniors age the benefits to exercise seem to increase, making it even more beneficial for seniors to begin a walking routine.
According to Diane Reier, Lifestyle Specialist at Grandbrier of Prospect Heights, a senior living community in Prospect Heights, IL., beginning a walking routine is the hardest part, but worth it in the long run thanks to the wide array of health benefits. “It’s best for seniors to start with a goal that is simple. Try choosing a certain time of day to walk, such as early in the morning or after lunch,” says Diane. “A nice evening stroll can also help seniors to relax for bedtime. Once seniors are used to going for walks at a certain time, try increasing the distance or length of time of the walk. It’s important to remember to ease into it, and to not push too hard at first.”
Another reason that starting a routine is difficult is the monotony can become boring, according to Diane. “Oftentimes, if seniors find themselves bored with the scenery or begin to lose the motivation to continue their routine, a change can help,” says Diane. “Try to make the routine more enjoyable by listening to music or walking with a friend. Even better, try varying where you walk. If you or a loved one usually walk inside, take your walk outside. If you usually walk outside, find a different path or trail to take. You’d be surprised how much of a difference one change can make.”
Walking Routine for Better Health
Although many seniors believe that in order to get any benefits from exercise, they must find a strenuous activity to do, that’s not entirely true. According to various sources, walking has a large number of benefits that can help seniors to stay healthy and well. Below, we’ve highlighted the top 5 benefits a walking routine has for seniors. These can include:
Helping seniors manage weight. This seems like a no-brainer, however it’s not as easy as it seems. Many seniors’ metabolism lowers as they age making it harder for them to lose weight without a significant lifestyle change. According to AARP, when combined with healthy eating habits, physical activity can help to control weight. When seniors are within a healthy weight range they are less likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease and strokes, making a walking routine seem much less daunting to enact in the long run.
Decreasing the risks of heart attacks. Going for walks allows for a decreased risk of heart attacks because of a boost in good cholesterol and a lowering of high blood pressure. According to AARP, walking briskly for only three hours a week can lower a senior’s risk of a heart attack exponentially. In fact, just by walking this minimum amount women have a 30 to 40 percent lower risk of heart disease.
Improving balance and decreasing falls. Because many seniors are more prone to falls as they age, it’s nice to know that walking can help. In an article by Harvard Health Publications, it states that walking builds lower body strength and increases balance and flexibility. When seniors have poor balance, they are more likely to fall and cause themselves injuries such as hip fractures. Walking consistently can help to lessen the chances of falls and breaks.
Increasing social opportunities and decreasing depression. Many seniors tend to walk with either a friend or family member, but those who do not may find themselves walking on the same schedule as others and making friends. By walking with others, seniors have an increased opportunity to socialize and often feel less isolated. Not only does walking with others increase social opportunities, but it can also help to increase positive endorphins that can help to decrease the likelihood of depression.
Strengthening bones and keeping joints flexible. Walking can help seniors to relieve arthritis and back pain while helping to strengthen the bones and joints over time. While many people believe that exercise can make arthritis and its pain worse, the opposite is actually true. According to another article by Harvard Health, taking walks during the week can help to ease pain and improve symptoms of arthritis such as fatigue and stiffness. These symptoms will improve over time as the routine becomes more normal.
Before seniors begin a routine, it’s important to talk to a doctor, as they may have more information that can help seniors tailor a routine to their particular situation, giving seniors the maximum benefit.
At Grandbrier of Prospect Heights, we’d like to help you get started on the right foot. With various customized programs and our award-winning VIVA!SM programming by Pathway to Living™, we help seniors truly live well beyond ordinary in an environment they thrive in. To learn more about our unique lifestyle and engaging programming, we’d love for you to give us a call today at 847-243-6920.
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Live Well Beyond Ordinary at Grandbrier
Now open and offering Independent, Assisted Living and A Knew Day Memory Care, Grandbrier of Prospect Heights is a distinctive senior living community designed to offer seniors residing in the Chicago Northwest Suburbs area a fresh alternative to “typical” senior living communities.
Grandbrier of Prospect Heights provides residents with the ideal balance of personalized support, dignified privacy and enhanced independence complemented by luxurious amenities and our life-enriching, award-winning VIVA!SM programming by Pathway to Living™.
Managed by Pathway to Living™, an innovator in senior living, Grandbrier offers the choice of a private studio or a one- or two-bedroom apartment and the beauty of a brand new community, stunningly appointed and decorated for unsurpassed comfort and style by the award-winning senior living design firm, Thoma-Holec Design, Inc.
For more information, please call Diane or Janette, Lifestyle Specialists, at 847-243-6920.
Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Grandbrier of Prospect Heights for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.