Here at St. Anne’s, we don’t let the cold weather and slippery roads keep us from getting some healthy exercise. We’ve developed a practice we refer to as “indoor walks.” According to calculations by our activity staff, four laps around the building adds up to a mile.
Walking with our residents provides them with a little diversion and good exercise. We even exercise our vocal chords sometimes when walking, singing favorite songs such as “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” and “Amazing Grace.”
Walking is known to offer many benefits for seniors and others.
Also, walking is free; there is no charge for walking, so it’s easy on one’s pocket book as well as on the joints. Walking is actually encouraged for those with arthritis.
Walking also helps lower your chance of getting a blood clot, improves circulation, breathing and blood pressure, and strengthens your heart as well as your immune system. For a woman, a half-hour walk each day can also reduce chance of stroke considerably. Also, people with osteoporosis will find that walking can stop bone mass loss. It also supports your joints.
As we’ve found here at St. Anne’s, walking can also help one’s mood. It can also help fight memory loss and prevent dementia. It can also give you energy and even releases pain-killing endorphins in your system. Who could ask for a better medicine?
Not surprisingly, walking can also lead to weight loss and strengthen your muscles. It can also help you sleep better.
Walking for at least a half an hour has been shown to have various health benefits, but a short walk is better than no walk at all. A half hour walk can improve your blood sugar level, reduce breast or colon cancer risk, and also reduce risk of Type II diabetes by 60%.
Walking is also good in that it lessens the amount one spends sitting, which can be detrimental to health.
Another interesting fact about walking is that it can subdue your urge for something sweet. With that in mind, if more of our residents participated in our walks, we might be able to cut back on the number of cookies and snacks we serve.