Spring is a time of renewal, and for many people across the country, a time to de-thaw! As the snow melts and the temperature ticks upward, now is a great time to get outside and start walking.
Barring any physical issues preventing you from exercising regularly, walking is a tremendous way to boost your health and enjoy the beautiful spring weather. Talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
Spring is a great time for seniors to start walking!
Here are five (5) excellent reasons to get out and enjoy regular walks this spring:
1. Improve cardiovascular health.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, research shows that walking reduces your risk of cardiovascular events by 31%, and cuts your risk of dying by 32%. The benefits gained from walking regularly were equally robust in men and women.
And it doesn’t take walking a marathon to see results. Cardiovascular protection was evident at distances as low as 5½ miles per week, and at paces as casual as around 2 miles per hour. Although those who walked longer distances, walked at a faster pace, or both enjoyed the greatest protection, simply getting out there and moving regularly is enough to boost your heart health.
2. Reduce loneliness and potentially depression.
Even walking alone can help reduce feelings of loneliness in seniors. Getting out into your community, whether it’s around the block, in a park or in a mall, means getting out with other people. A smile and a “hello” can go a long way toward making seniors feel less isolated and more engaged with their communities.
Going beyond loneliness, research also suggests a link between exercise (particularly walking) and improved symptoms of depression in seniors (and at any age).
3. It’s easy.
One of the best parts of walking is that it’s so accessible. Barring any physical limitations, just about anyone can walk. There’s no special equipment needed outside of a good pair of sneakers. And you’ve been walking your entire life — there are no new skills to learn or master.
Walking is the ultimate flexible exercise and hobby. You can walk just about anywhere, from your neighborhood to a mall, to a local park and even from the car to the store — every step counts! Plus, since there’s no special equipment to buy, you don’t have to break the bank in order to take up a new hobby.
4. Boost your immune system.
As we get older, our immune systems aren’t able to fight off colds, flu and other infections as easily as when we were younger. And when seniors do get sick, it often takes longer to get better (with an increased risk of complications).
Research suggests that walking (and movement in general) helps cells move more freely, therefore doing their jobs more effectively. Walking is one powerful way to improve immune function in seniors and reduce the risk of complications.
5. Add years to your life.
With the benefits in cardiovascular health and immunity, it may come as no surprise that walking regularly can add years to our lives. Research from the American Cancer Society found that even low levels of walking can help you live longer. These findings were drawn from a particularly large study of over 140,000 participants!
The findings of this study are particularly relevant for seniors. The average age of participants in the study was about 69 years. Participants who walked for less than two hours per week had a lower death risk than those who got no activity at all. And those who got in one to two times the recommended level of physical activity just through walking had a 20% lower mortality risk.
Help your senior loved ones live their best, healthiest lives.
Home health care services from Interim HealthCare provide experienced, professional, compassionate assistance for your loved ones to complement the incredible caregiving you provide. Contact your nearest Interim HealthCare location or visit our website for more information about our senior home care services.