Can Walking Help Prevent Frailty in Seniors?
Older adults shouldn’t accept frailty as a normal part of aging.
Plenty of older Americans live full, active lives well into older age. Some seniors spend time shopping wood, competing in triathlons, climbing mountains, and generally impressing the world with their strength, stamina, and vigor.
Maybe you’re not up to climbing Mt. Fuji in your 80’s or breaking swimming records in your 70’s, but you can (and should) set fitness goals that keep you active and healthy. One of the best is a regular routine of walking.
Researchers say walking is one way of preventing frailty.
What is ‘Frailty’?
Frailty is defined as a state of persistent tiredness and weakness with no energy. People who are frail may also lose a lot weight without trying.
While it depends on which expert you consult, estimates are that around 20 percent of older Americans over the age of 80 are frail. For younger seniors in the 65-75 age range, that number is closer to three to seven percent. As you can see, not a very large portion of the population is frail.
Other symptoms of frailty include:
- low grip strength
- low energy
- low physical activity
- slow walking speed
Inactivity has been identified as a contributing factor to the onset of frailty. Therefore, a top way to prevent this condition is to be physically active.
Walking to Ward Off Frailty in Seniors
One study of 188 people who were medically frail concluded that intervention reduced the progression of their frailty. The intervention included techniques to improve balance, muscle strength, and mobility.
In plain language: walking can help prevent frailty.
We all know walking is aerobic. Did you know walking also builds muscle? Like the seniors in the study above, you can work to prevent frailty by building that muscle strength… through walking.
The physical dimension of wellness can include a wide variety of activities, but walking provides some of the best benefits of all. Aside from the cardiovascular benefits and the muscle-building aspect, it’s a way to enjoy nature. You can do it with friends and family so there are mental health benefits as well.
Access to a Variety of Regular Exercise Programs
Staying active and fit is easier when it’s fun. One of the key ways of sticking with a regular exercise routine like walking is to mix things up once in a while.
Even the most beautiful scenery in the world can seem stale after you’ve walked it dozens of times. Joining a walking club can make walking more fun because it’s social. Trying other activities from time to time can keep your exercise routine fresh, too. It’s important to have a variety of options available so you don’t get bored and give up!
Walking is an Important Part of the Program at Five Star Living
Five Star Senior Living communities have weekly schedules that are chock full of fitness programs, including Fitness Walking. It’s part of our Lifestyle360 program that promotes physical, emotional, and mental health here in all of our communities. To learn out more about our exciting variety of physical wellness offerings, find a nearby Five Star Senior Living community near you and come take a look!