Walking and Its Effect on the Health of the Elderly

Older adult’s Walking is a cure for most health-related issues. Numerous studies focused on walking, and they have all concluded that 20 to 40 minutes of walking a day would decrease the mortality rate by up to 50 percent. Although aging and death are inevitable, maintaining a simple and active lifestyle can reduce the mortality rate. That is a safe and accessible exercise that does not require any specific talent and has many health benefits.

When walking, the body bears its weight, and this condition is an endurance exercise. This article will investigate the effects of walking on reducing the risk of death for older adults.

Walking has many benefits and can have a significant impact on our social life and body health. It also prevents many diseases and strengthens memory. The following list shows the effects of walking on the bodies of the elderly.

Walking is one of the best, most effective, and cheapest, and the most uncomplicated physical activity that leads to fitness. Researchers believe that walking is a sport suitable for all ages. The importance of this sport is significantly higher for the elderly. On the other hand, running is dangerous for seniors, especially if they have heart disease. Want to know more about Suitable sports for seniors, Read This.

Weight Control

Walking beside a healthy diet can help the elderly maintain an average weight. Several common conditions among people over 65 are related to excess weight, and walking can considerably reduce their risk. Walking helps us prevent type II diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, cancer, and many other issues.

More Resources: Best Foods to Prevent Cancer in Old Age

Heart Attack Prevention

Exercises such as walking for 30 minutes a day can reduce heart attack possibility up to 30-40 percent.

Blood Pressure Control

Walking strengthens the heart, and as a result, the heart can pump more blood with less effort and pressure.

Cholesterol Reduction

Regular, daily physical activity lowers harmful blood cholesterol levels. This harmful cholesterol is the leading cause of diseases and heart attacks.

Gallstone Prevention

The formation of the gallstone is one of the main issues that the elderly are suffering from. In some cases, due to the elderly having some other health-related issues, it is impossible to do surgery to remove the gallstone. Studies show that regular walking or other physical activity reduces gallstone surgery risk by 20 to 31 percent.

Improving Heart 

Walking helps improve heart health. Walking is the best exercise for sedentary people, especially adults, to reduce cardiovascular disease risk.

Strengthening Muscles

Aging causes the person to lose muscles. Walking can strengthen the muscles, and it is the best strategy to prevent muscle loss. Regular walking is good for the muscles of the back and leg.

Diabetes Control

A sedentary lifestyle leads to the development of one of the most common diseases, diabetes. Walking every day can help control blood sugar levels, which helps prevent type 2 diabetes.

Improving Bone Health

Seniors’ Bones become weaker with age and Regular walking strengthens bones. . As a result, it reduces the risk of osteoporosis, fractures, and injuries. Because bones determine our framework, more powerful and healthier bones help improve strength, endurance, and balance. Walking can also prevent arthritis and reduce pain.

Depression Prevention

Depression is one of the most common conditions the elderly are suffering from, and loneliness is the leading cause of depression. Walking (especially walking with a group of friends) can prevent depression. 

Improving Blood Circulation

Walking can increase intelligence. Walking nourishes the brain with the required amounts of oxygen and glucose and helps it function better. It also lowers the level of bad cholesterol, which clogs the arteries and reduces stroke risk. So walking can help improve brain circulation and cellular functions.

Improving Digestion

Improper digestion can lead to several problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, colon cancer, etc. Walking along with healthy eating habits and drinking enough water can improve digestion.

Increasing the Capacity of Lungs

Walking can increase the lung capacity of the elderly. When you walk, you breathe more oxygen than when you are not doing any activity. This exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in larger volumes can help increase lung capacity. As a result, it increases the strength and performance of the exercise. You do not need to run. An average 60-minute walk can help you achieve your goals.

Delaying the Aging Process

Senior Couple Walking With Bulldog In Countryside. they are laughing.

A long-term study conducted on a large group of people doing 30 minutes of walking every day showed that those who walked every day had delayed their aging process. Walking prevents the production of an enzyme in the body responsible for aging and prevents many diseases the elderly are suffering from.

Improving Memory

Walking can improve the memory and cognitive abilities of the elderly. Physical exercise helps increase the size of the hippocampus. At the same time, a sedentary lifestyle reduces the hippocampus and leads to memory loss. So walk every day to increase the power of your memory dramatically.

Helping with Vitamin D Absorption

Most of the elderly spend their time at home and do not expose themselves to the sun. That leads to severe deficiency in vitamin D. Sun is the primary source of this essential vitamin, and walking outside can help the elderly increase this vitamin. It is also necessary for bone health and prevents cancer and type I diabetes. Walk at least 10-15 minutes every day under direct sunlight. Sun coming through the glass does not have the same effect, so walking on a treadmill at home in front of the window will not affect vitamin D absorption.

More Resources: The Best Vitamins for the Elderly during Winter

Preventing Dementia

Dementia is a condition in which the person gradually loses his memory and cognitive abilities. Dementia also stops you from doing your daily tasks and makes you dependent on others. Walking with average speed can help the elderly to prevent dementia, and it improves memory.

Preventing Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is weakened bones, and the person faces fractures. That is mainly due to a lack of calcium and vitamin D in the diet. However, sedentary life also makes the person susceptible to osteoporosis. Walking and other physical exercises increase the movement’s range in seniors’ bones and joints and can stimulate bone growth.

Requirements for Walking

Group of active seniors as friends do Nordic walking in nature. they wear walking shoes and clothes.

As said earlier, walking is one of the exercises that does not have any special tools. To have a healthier performance, you need a pair of standard shoes suitable for walking, comfortable clothes, a bottle of water, and a towel. Proper shoes are necessary since using uncomfortable and non-standard shoes makes it challenging to sustain walking, but they also cause severe damage to your legs and back.

As mentioned in the article’s course, it is better to walk outdoors to enjoy your friends’ company and reduce the sense of loneliness. Exercising outside also helps the elderly to absorb vitamin D, which is necessary for bone health. However, some of the seniors cannot leave their homes for walking in the yard or indoors. Buying a treadmill is also the right choice for these days since the COVID-19 is becoming widespread worldwide, and having a treadmill can act as a good alternative for people to keep on exercising. 

Drinking enough water during walking and exercising is also vital and should not be ignored. If the seniors are new to walking exercise, they might lose a great deal of the water they have in their bodies, causing dehydration. Not drinking enough water can destroy all the benefits gained by walking. Some people might prefer energy drinks, but they are suitable for older adults since the high amount of sugar in these products can be dangerous for the elderly who have diabetes or high blood sugar. 

More Resources: How does COVID-19 influence the lives of seniors?

two old senior friends are walking near sea.

Conclusion

The health benefits of walking are endless, and it is up to seniors to add walking to his/her daily schedule to enjoy the benefit of having a healthy living. The seniors might be reluctant to take up walking, but after a few days, it will turn into an enjoyable habit with lots of significant advantages. 

More Resources:

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Source harvard mcmasteroptimalaging betterhealth
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Bruce DS
Bruce DS
6 months ago

Sometimes to clear my mind, I take a walk, and after that, I can’t control my craving for sweets and fats. There’s no possible way I can keep a diet when I regularly walk! Walking doesn’t help anyone to lose weight. If anything, it makes people gain more weight. Sure, it’s a great workout and an excellent mood booster, and it decreases specific pains. But the only way walking can help you lose weight is by walking to the gym! 

Ariel
Ariel
Reply to  Bruce DS
4 months ago

I don’t think eating after walking is for everyone. Maybe that’s something only you do? I walk a lot, and I don’t even feel like eating anything afterwards. People have different types of bodies. And not all exercises work for everyone. But anyway, even if walking doesn’t help us lose weight, it helps us feel better, and I think we’re both in agreement about that. 

Amber
Amber
6 months ago

I am a professional caregiver. And we are told to convince our seniors to walk for at least half an hour a day. It is surprising how many of them don’t want to do that. For some of them, it’s really hard, but they’re exceptions. Most of our seniors are perfectly capable of taking long walks; they just can’t find the energy to do it. I hope they wouldn’t resist it so much since it has a huge effect on their health.

Liliane
Liliane
Reply to  Amber
8 days ago

Dear Amber, one of the best solutions for such seniors is asking them to do it with their friends or loved ones if possible. This is because when you have a companion to share the route with, especially the one you can talk to enjoyably, you don’t feel the passage of time or get less tired. It has worked for me, so try it and see the result.

James
James
5 months ago

I used to walk every day. I think nothing is more effective than walking for seniors. Because we can control our body metabolism with routine walking. Also, if you feel pain in your knees, you can walk in straight and smooth ways. 

Toby
Toby
1 month ago

To me, walking is like meditation. Whenever I feel depressed or grumpy, I go out, take a walk and pay attention to the details of nature. I hear the sound of birds, children’s laughs and the stream of the water. The point is that I feel less lonely and isolated when I walk and see other people.

Robin
Robin
Reply to  Toby
1 day ago

I share the same idea with you, Toby. I am 72 years old, and I am generally quite active. I consider walking as yoga to clear my mind and make myself present; whenever I want to get out of a stressful environment and breathe fresh air, I walk. My goal now is around six thousand steps a day. You can build your walking habit by walking with friends or your loved ones. It is a fantastic method that helps me stay motivated to keep walking.

Elliot
Elliot
25 days ago

Back in college, I used to walk wherever I wanted to, no matter how far it was. But now my knees are not friendly to me, and I have to sit after 5 minutes of walking, which is a bummer.

jack
jack
21 days ago

Walking is awesome; it has changed my life!
And doing some strength training is also very much recommended.
I am 59, and I do both. I go to the gym and work with a personal trainer every two weeks.
The more you keep up with both, the better.
Some people, of course, cannot afford that, but there are also things on PBS that you can look at. 
I think walking alone isn’t enough for our age, but a daily 30-minute walk is a basic recommendation for everyone.

Ethan
Ethan(@alireza)
9 days ago

Before Covid, I used to go out for 2 hour walks every day. It was just me, my earphones, and my music playlists. With the help of intermittent fasting and long walks, I lost more than 30 pounds in less than six months. But it wasn’t just about the weight; after the first 2 or 3 months, my feet became stronger and breathing after climbing the subway stairs became much easier. Unfortunately, after the Covid breakout, I stopped these walking sessions entirely. Wearing a mask while going for a long walk in a crowded city was just not possible for me. I can’t wait for the pandemic to be over so that I can go back to my old walking routine.

john
john
9 days ago

Walking is a perfect activity with my grandparents or even with the whole family. It improves our mood and is also great for building strength, especially for back and abdominal muscles. Also, You can increase your vitamin d by being outside a couple of times during the week.

ilLife
ilLife
5 days ago

I don’t remember the time accurately, but I was diagnosed with diabetes around five years ago. My doctor said if I want to live longer, I really should get off of my coach. Since then, I have gotten up every morning and gone for a 30 minutes walk around my neighbourhood. It changed my life—both physically and emotionally. My mood is better, my health is better, and I have met some incredible people there.

Habib
Habib
1 day ago

Nothing can compete with walking! It is the mother of all exercises. I spend three hours a day walking in my neighbourhood; it cheers me up, and since I pay attention to details while I walk, it helps me be more focused.