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4 Reasons the Elderly Should Walk Regularly

By Debbie Waddell, 10:30 am on

Walking is a form of exercise people of all ages can enjoy, and seniors can especially benefit from making this activity a regular part of their routine. While everyone likely knows walking is important for weight management and heart health, there are some lesser-known reasons why your senior loved one should make daily walks a priority. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care Placer County families trust, wants to share 4 of those reasons with you and your loved one.

1. Lower Risk of Bone Loss and Injury

Osteoporosis is a serious concern for seniors because it can lead to an increased risk of injuries due to bone loss. Fortunately, walking is a weight-bearing exercise that can slow or even stop the loss of bone. It can also help increase your loved one’s balance so he or she is less likely to experience a fall.

2. Decreased Risk of Alzheimer’s

In a recent study conducted by the University of Virginia Health System, it was discovered that seniors who walked at least a quarter mile each day had half the rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s symptoms as those who did not walk. While more research is being done to understand why, experts believe it is related to increased blood flow to the brain. Additionally, seniors who walk everyday enjoy mental stimulation from being in new surroundings.

3. Better Sleep

Most seniors could use more refreshing sleep, and those who have insomnia can ease their symptoms with a walk. During a walk, energy is expended while hormones are released to decrease stress. Seniors who walk outdoors also expose their body to sunlight, which can help regulate the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. To get the most sleep-boosting benefits from a walk, your loved one should avoid walking within two hours before bedtime. Instead, a brief morning walk can get him or her energized for the day and ready for bed by the evening.

4. Increased Joint Health

Many seniors have significant joint pain that interferes with their daily activities. However, it is important to understand most of the cartilage in a person’s joints does not have its own blood supply. Instead, the cartilage gets nutrients from synovial fluid that circulates during movement. Walking can help ensure your loved one’s joints get this important fluid, which is filled with oxygen and nutrients that can slow deterioration.

Though walking may not be suitable for all seniors, there are exercises those with limited mobility can still perform. If your loved one needs help with exercise and mobility, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist with these and many other important tasks. We also offer specialized Parkinson’s, stroke, and Alzheimer’s home care Placer County seniors can rely on. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 916.226.3737 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.

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