New information has shown that many Americans gained an average of two pounds a month during this year long pandemic, which adds up to over 20 pounds.
After a very long year in the house, we decided the ladies at the Brookhouse Home should get moving again. Activity Director Marsha DiCesare started up the Brookhouse Home walking group again, and it is giving our ladies a renewed sense of independence. They have enjoyed the fresh air and can already feel the benefits both physically and mentally.
Often times, older adults have the impression that they have passed the age at which starting an exercise program will do them any good.
According to a report from the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) trial, seniors who exercise are 28% less likely to have become disabled (defined by the inability to walk about 400 yards without help) compared to those who did not. They were also 18% less likely to have had any episode of physical disability.
Further, the LIFE results found that taking up exercise at any age offers benefits down the road.
Starting an exercise program can be a challenge no matter what stage of life you are in. It’s best to start slow. Exercising for just 10 minutes to begin with is great. Then gradually work your way up.
There are five additional benefits for seniors who join a walking group listed here:
1. Prevents Disease
Studies have shown that maintaining regular physical activity like walking can be a tool for preventable disease management. As seniors are prone to common diseases of aging like heart disease and diabetes, exercise improves overall immune function.
2. Improved Mental Health
Joining a walking group has mental health benefits including improving sleep, which is especially important for older adults who often suffer from insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns.
3. Walking Can Decrease Risks of Falls
Older adults are at a higher risk of falls, which can prove to be potentially disastrous for maintaining independence. Light walking can do a lot to improve strength, balance and flexibility. Because seniors tend to take much longer to recover from falls, the strength and confidence they gain from walking may help avoid them in the first place.
4. A Social Activity
A walking group can be made into a fun social event. The Brookhouse Home walking group has expressed that the walking offers a sense of purpose and is a great way to avoid feelings of loneliness or depression.
5. Walking is Good for the Mind
A number of studies suggest a lower risk of dementia for physically active individuals, regardless of when you begin a routine.