Is Walking the Ultimate Workout for Seniors?
Agility Health knows that exercise is important, and this fact is doubly true for seniors. Because seniors are at increased risk for many diseases that can be partially or fully prevented by exercise, finding a suitable workout regimine is necessary. However, working around the needs and capabilities can prove to be challenging for some. Today, Agility Health explores one question: is walking the ultimate workout for seniors? Read on to see all the reasons we’re in favor of walking!
Modifiable for Any Activity Level
One huge benefit of walking as a workout is how accessible it is. Even with disabilities or impaired movement, most seniors can participate in walking. This relatively easy exercise can be done at any pace, and is generally light on the joints. Walking is beneficial for those undergoing physical therapy or movement rehabilitation, possible for seniors with mental illnesses, and can even be used in short form for those who only partially use a wheelchair. As your senior loved one becomes used to walking as an exercise, the pace or distance can be easily increased to accommodate their new physical capacity.
The seniors cared for by Agility Health are lucky, as San Francisco has mild to beautiful weather year-round. However, it doesn’t matter where you’re located – walking can be done in any season! Bearing dangerous conditions, walking can be completed whether hot, cold, or somewhere in between. An activity with no seasonal limits like walking heightens the likelihood of making exercise a habit, and prevents long periods of time with no physical activity. Like any other outdoor activity, Agility Health recommends taking extra precautions based on the weather conditions. Pack extra water on hot days, extra layers on windy ones, and consult a healthcare professional if necessary.
Can Be Done Anywhere
The idea that walking can be done during any season also supports the idea that it can be done anywhere. Bustling urban areas offer the same opportunity to take a stroll as suburban neighborhoods. Hazards do exist for tripping, slipping, and falling though, and Agility Health recommends that no senior ever walk alone. If your loved one’s environment isn’t safe to walk through, there are a number of online resources for treadmill workouts geared towards seniors.
An unfortunate reality of aging is that seniors often feel lonely and alienated, often due to moving into care facilities or losing loved ones of a similar age. Walking is more than exercise, and can be a form of socializing. Creating a group activity out of walking raises spirits, giving seniors the chance to talk with friends and family of any age while they stroll.
Getting outside has been shown to be an effective method for lessening the impact of symptoms associated with mental illnesses. Engaging in walking often means sunshine and the great outdoors, and fresh air at a minimum. Not only will seniors improve their cardiovascular health, but they’ll get their daily dose of Vitamin D! Many have also found that meditation and walking go together well. When walking, encourage your loved one to observe surroundings only through one of their senses. Tuning into one source of sensation at a time while walking creates “moving meditation,” improving the quality of the walk.
Get Walking With Agility Health
Designing the perfect exercise plan for your senior loved one can be difficult, but Agility Health is here to help! Our nurses and caregivers are experienced with every level of physical ability, and our team offers physical therapy, occupational therapy, and in-home exercises. Each patient is assigned a personal care manager who provides optimal and customized care while working alongside doctors, specialists, and your family. Contact Agility today to see how your senior loved one can get walking!