Walking is exercise that is free, can be done anywhere, and has plenty of health benefits. For our older adults, maintaining balance and coordination and strengthening bones and muscles are important to help prevent falls. It should not surprise you that walking is recommended for people with arthritis because it is low impact, helps keep joints flexible and can help strengthen muscles around your joints.
If your older adult is sedentary, walking is a great way to bring movement back into their daily routine. Of course, any exercise program should be given the green light by their doctor.
Springpoint at Home’s Certified Home Health Aides can help encourage a new exercise program by accompanying clients on walks. A walking companion has proven to be a motivator to start moving, serves as a social outlet, and inspires your older adult to keep up the exercise program.
Incorporating walking into part of your daily routine should be approached slowly, so you can start out by walking around the house or going to get the mail. This will quickly get boring, but is a great way to gain confidence. It is also important to think about what works with daily routines. If your older adult is slow moving in the morning, then a walk after lunch or before dinner may be the optimal time.
The goal is to lengthen walks or walk more often during the week and to make the routes more interesting. A walk around the neighborhood, through a park or even the mall during bad weather gives you new things to talk about and an opportunity to change the routine.
But what about walking as an exercise for people who use a cane or rollator? The answer is a resounding YES. These assistive devices can help improve balance and posture, two key components for safe walking. However, it is important that whatever device your older adult is using is being used correctly. This includes having the correct assistive device. For example, a tripod or quadruped cane are slightly heavier than a cane and may not be the best for longer walks. Rollators are similar to wheeled walkers but have a seat, which is great to have on longer walks for a rest when necessary. It is important that a physical therapist gives you their professional advice on the best assistive device for walking and how to use it properly. Any recommendation will be based on gate, balance and strength, all important indicators for a walking program.
The intangible benefits of walking (better mood, cognition, memory, sleep improvement and reducing stress and tension are just as important as the physical health benefits. A walk with their Springpoint at Home Certified Home Health Aide is a great way to increase their connection, another important benefit to a walking program.
For more information on how Springpoint at Home can help, call us today at 844-724-1777.