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Importance of walking for Senior Citizens

Importance of walking for Senior Citizens

When one visits a physician or a health care facility, they are provided with recommendations on medication and how to take better care of themselves. Maintaining a healthy routine is often suggested during this process which most people choose to ignore. One might ask “what is meant by a healthy routine?” and the answer would be maintaining a sleep-wake cycle, eating nutritious food, and exercising. Now let’s talk about older adults. As a person ages, several changes start occurring in his/ her body such as weakening of immunity, problems in organ functioning, sensory difficulties, and general weakness. Therefore, maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes even more important for people who are over 60. Evidence suggests that walking on a regular basis is extremely beneficial for older adults. The advantages are not only associated with physical health but also with social and emotional wellness.

The physical benefits of walking especially morning walks are described below:

  • Weight management– walking acts as a cardio exercise that helps in maintaining weight
  • Increased muscle strength– a lot of older adults experience general body weakness during the process of aging. Walking helps in strengthening muscles and prevention falls by improving posture
  • Better management of chronic conditions– Diabetes and Hypertension are common complaints amongst older adults. Since there is currently no cure for them, it becomes even more important to keep them controlled and reduce the risk of further damage to the body. Along with medication, gentle exercise like morning walks helps in preventing further deterioration.
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke– as mentioned earlier, walking is cardio-based which helps in exercising all the major systems of the body e.g., circulatory and pulmonary systems. This acts as a protective factor in preventing serious illnesses like heart disease and stroke.

Walking also helps in maintaining the emotional health of an individual in the following manner:

  • Improved mood– Walking leads to the release of endorphins which help in mood regulation and reduction of stress.
  • Improved self-esteem.
  • Reduced risk of psychological illnesses and dementia– studies suggest that people who exercise regularly are at a lower risk of psychological and neurological illnesses like dementia.
  • Increased sense of general well-being.

There are not only physical and emotional benefits of walking but social as well. Social isolation is often one of the main concerns shared by older adults when their children leave home and settle elsewhere. Going out and being active gives seniors a chance to be a part of a larger community and a daily walk can be an opportunity to meet new people every day. Sardar Fauja Singh is an exemplary figure in this regard. After experiencing multiple personal setbacks in his life, at the age of 93, he completed a marathon in approximately 7 hours! Clearly, walking has multiple health benefits and is something seniors must incorporate into their daily schedule.

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Samvedna Senior Care, G-7 Oriental Villas, Sushant Lok III, Sector 57, Gurgaon

Samvedna Senior Care, C-13 Anand Niketan, New Delhi