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Why regular walks are good for you and your parent

Why regular walks are good for you and your parent

If you read certain newspapers or visit the BBC’s news website regularly you’ll know there’s a constant stream of studies reporting on the efficacy of various lifestyle regimes.

We’ve gathered a few together that suggest that taking time out for a walk every day is a very good idea.

Preventing dementia

In light of the G8 Summit on dementia there’ve been many recommendations by practitioners for people to take preventative measures against dementia. Regular exercise as well as a healthy, Mediterranean diet have been heralded by experts for reducing the risk of dementia.

Researchers from Cardiff University found a consistently healthy lifestyle reduced the chance of cognitive decline by 60% whilst experts at Edinburgh University discovered that gentle exercise in retirement may stop your parent’s brain from shrinking.

Recovering from surgery

Taking it slow seems to be a doctor’s mantra after your parent has had surgery. Whether you parent was active before their surgery or rather reluctant to venture out, a gentle walk is often prescribed to get them up and moving again.

Offering to go for a walk with them will encourage them to get out of the house whilst spending time with you – also it means you can keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not doing anything too strenuous.

It’s the first exercise you’re allowed to do after heart surgery and indeed it can help your parent to quicken their recovery time whilst preventing further heart problems.

Reducing risks

According to the British Journal of Medicine exercise can be as good as drugs for parents who suffer with conditions such as heart disease.

The National Osteoporosis Society recommends walking to improve balance and coordination as well as develop stronger muscles which can help to prevent osteoporosis and save bones from general wear.

Research from the American Cancer Society suggests that post-menopausal women who walk for at least 7 hours a week have a 14% lower risk of breast cancer compared to those who walk for 3 or fewer hours a week.

Exercising our furry companions

For parents with pets, especially those with dogs, it can be easier to get out and about for a walk. Having an animal to exercise means that our parents can get into a regular routine which not only increases their physical fitness but their overall wellbeing as they can socialise with other pet owners. There are many ways in which our parents can benefit from the company of pets.

Walking with friends

Whether your parent arranges to walk with friends or neighbours each week, begins a local walking group or joins the Ramblers it can become a sociable thing to do and can help relieve loneliness.

Weight loss

If you or your parent are looking to shed your ‘turkey weight’ after Christmas a nice, brisk walk can be a good way to kick start your metabolism and burn those unwanted calories.

Walking for charity

Whether you have that particular charity you always contribute to or you’re still deciding who to donate to – why not get active whilst giving? Almost every charity now offers walking and running events that you and your parent can get involved in to raise money. The Macmillan Moon Walk is one of the most popular to date. Give it a whirl?

Saving the pennies

We don’t all have the time or money to become regulars at the gym. Our parents may have never set foot in the gym whilst some of us actively avoid it. Going for regular walks are definitely the cheaper option to the gym and you won’t need a car, bike or bus to start getting fit in the New Year.

Avoiding walking

Sometimes we’re all guilty of thinking up excuses to avoid exercising. Whether we feel we’re pushed for time, we’re too tired or we simply can’t be bothered it’s important to be active in some way. Our example can help our parent to warm to the idea of regular exercise and by maintaining a healthy life style we’ll have more energy to deal with any parental issues that may arise.

Excuses to avoid in the future (especially as New Year’s resolutions are just round the corner!)

  1. It’s raining/dark/too cold/hot outside (delete as applicable)
  2. There isn’t enough time in a day to fit in 30 minutes of walking
  3. No comfortable shoes
  4. Socks in the wash
  5. That’s it really…

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