Have you noticed your aging relative having more “senior moments” than in the past?
If so, you might be worried about their brain health and whether there’s anything that can be done to protect it. The good news is that a recent study indicates walking, as well as other kinds of moderate exercise, may help to improve brain health.
About the Study
The study involved 160 participants who were aged 55 or older. None of them had a serious form of dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease, but they did complain of having memory problems prior to the test. On cognitive tests, the group performed as though their average age was 90.
Participants were divided into four groups:
- Exercise only. Exercise consisted of 35 minutes of walking or riding a stationary bike three times per week with a 10-minute warm-up each time.
- Followed DASH diet
- Exercise and DASH diet
- Health education only
At the conclusion of the six-month study, both of the groups that exercised improved on their cognitive tests. The group that showed the most improvement was the one that both exercised and changed their diet. The group that changed their diet only had improvements, but not as much as with exercise.
Walking Safety Tips
While the study was small, and more research is needed, it does offer a promising option for helping your aging relative to give their brain a healthy boost. In addition, exercise has a lot of other health benefits. Before starting a new exercise routine, talk to the older adult’s doctor. Once they have been cleared to walk, they’ll need to follow some safety rules to ensure they are not injured. Some walking safety tips are:
-Choose footwear that is supportive and offers good traction.
-Try to stick to sidewalks, but if the older adult must walk on the side of the road, they should always walk facing oncoming traffic.
-Walk only during daylight hours, if possible. Wear brightly colored clothing that is easy to see.
-The senior should carry a charged cell phone, so they can call for help if they are injured.
-If your aging relative is walking with their dog, the dog should be kept on a short leash. A short leash gives the senior better control over the dog and reduces the risk of them tripping over the leash.
Another way to help your aging relative to stay safe while walking is to have them walk with a senior care provider.
Senior care providers can help older adults who have balance or mobility problems by holding their arm as they walk or reminding them to use an assistive device, like a cane or walker. If the older adult prefers to use a treadmill or stationary bike at home, a senior care provider can keep an eye on them to make sure they are safe and don’t overdo it.
Are you or a loved one considering hiring Homecare in American Fork, UT? Please talk to the friendly staff at December Rose Senior Care at Home. Providing Home Care in Highland, Utah and Surrounding Communities. 801-427-ROSE (7673)
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