The Perks of Walking
Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and the sun is showing more and more of itself with each passing day. Yes, it’s true. Spring is in the air. This is one of the best times to take the opportunity to get outside, walk a little, and enjoy the fresh air. The benefits of walking and getting fresh air far outweigh any possible negatives.
Before cars, bikes, trains, and planes, humans primarily got around by simply walking. After all, we’re built for it. Of course, other forms of transportation are far quicker when it comes to getting to your destination, but when it comes to your health, walking is king.
For seniors, walking is of vital importance. The saying, “A body in motion tends to stay in motion,” is quite true. When seniors walk they’re doing a lot more than taking in the sights around them. Actually, walking has been shown to help with a lot of different things.
- Lowers Blood Sugar – When food is consumed, the individual’s blood sugars tend to spike. This alone is not irregular, but with seniors, the spike is not always a good thing. A much as 25% of people 65 years or older have diabetes. Having spikes in your blood is not a good thing in this case. But, taking a 15 minute walk after eating can reduce this spike in sugars. This is because your body is actually using sugar to strengthen muscles while walking.
- Strengthens Muscles – Stagnation can cause muscles to be weak. In severe cases, lack of movement can even lead to the degeneration of muscles or atrophy. Couple this with the natural aging process and the ability to continue to do things can be limited. Loss of muscle mass is normal, although it can be offset by something as simple as walking. Walking has been shown to strengthen muscle mass in seniors, specifically in the legs and abdominal muscles. This leads to better mobility. Surprisingly, the more you build muscle mass, the less pressure is put on joints, which worsens arthritis.
- Mental Health – Getting outside and into the fresh air for a nice walk can have a profound effect on your mental health. It begins with the simple act of feeling better about yourself. While walking the brain releases endorphins that can reduce anxiety, improve mood, and generate a sense of well-being.
- Weight Loss – Being overweight can not only affect your self-image, it also has a big effect on mobility. Walking as little as a half hour a day can burn 200 calories. This can lead to weight loss as well as an easier time maintaining weight.
- Improved Sleep – The simple process of physical exertion can lead to better sleep patterns. Seniors that have insomnia would benefit from walking. Studies have shown that seniors that spend up to an hour walking everyday have less insomnia and better quality of sleep.
Others reasons to start walking include: more Vitamin D, increased mental sharpness, better stability and balance, improved circulation, and more. The various reasons to get outside and walk are plenty. If nothing else, simply enjoying the nicer weather spring has to offer is well worth it.
A Breath of Fresh Air
As if getting outside and walking wasn’t enough, taking in all that fresh air also has its own benefits. Air inside of any enclosed space is typically not as fresh as outside. It has a higher level of carbon dioxide from the process of exhaling, more dust particles, and sometimes can contain fumes from curing products, like paint. Outside, on the other hand typically has a higher content of air. While it’s true that the outside world is filled with pollen, smog, and various other things, there is more space for those things to spread out and not influence your body as much as an inside location could.
- Revitalize Your Body – Fresh air is chocked full of oxygen. Oxygen is essential for every single cell in the human body. There’s a two-fold benefit for your lungs when breathing fresh air. Increased oxygen helps your lungs dilate, thus allowing them to clean themselves better. The second benefit is that cleaner lungs typically can inhale more air, boosting energy levels. The high oxygen level also refreshes white blood cells. These cells are responsible for getting rid of germs and bad bacteria in your body.
- Fortify Your Brain – The brain is a demanding organ. It demands as much as 20% of all oxygen that a body takes in. Giving the brain a fresh stock of oxygen allows for better clarity and can greatly increase the ability to concentrate.
Now that the weather is better than the winter months, taking some time to get outside, walk a bit, and breathe in the fresh air can have a wonderful effect on both the physical and mental health of seniors. Make walking a social things by inviting some friends. All will benefit from both the act of walking and the socialization of walking.
Bonaventure Senior Living always encourages getting outside, walking and getting some fresh air. We do this by scheduling a lot of activities that are based outside. This ensures that our residents are not only having a good time, but that they’re also getting some good quality time outside. Find out more about how we have Living Perfected HERE.