If one of your parent’s New Year’s resolutions was to start walking but she just hasn’t started yet, don’t feel bad.
There’s no rule that says a healthy lifestyle change has to start on Jan 1 every time. Instead, encourage your parent to start now with a simple walking program to fulfill her resolution. Walking has multiple health benefits ranging from disease prevention to increased energy to elevated moods. But if your parent hasn’t done a lot of walking lately, you may wonder how to begin in a way that is encouraging, but not overwhelming. Here are some great steps to get started.
1. Get the equipment your parent needs. For most elderly, this will simply mean she’ll need to make sure she has good shoes for walking. Make sure her shoes provide the needed support as well as have good treads to walk on multiple surfaces. For other parents, you may also want to look into providing a good cane or walker that she can use while walking. If your parent needs a companion for walking, talk to your elder care provider about walking with your parent to provide physical and emotional support.
2. Get a walking journal. Many people are motivated by seeing their progress. Have your parent track how much she walks by either the time or distance. She can wear a pedometer if she’s interested in distance or she can simply track the time she’s out walking. Have her elderly care provider or yourself mark each time she goes out. She may be surprised by how much she’ll improve in a couple of months.
3. Find a place to walk. Depending on where you live in the country, now may be the perfect time to walk outside because those scorching days of summer are gone or it may be an awful time to walk outside because of cold weather and icy walkways. If outside doesn’t work now, don’t hold off until spring. Many places offer free or reduced indoor walking areas that can be safely walked by wearing a mask and social distancing. Check out local malls, schools, and walking tracks if your parent will need to walk inside. Your elderly care provider can provide any transportation your parent may need to these locations.
4. Start small. Like any new exercise program, check with your parent’s physician first to see if there are any limitations she may have when she begins. Once given the go-ahead, plan the first walk. It may be simply a walk around the block or even just to the end of a long driveway and back. It doesn’t matter the length; the important thing is just getting started. Once completed, celebrate the walk by writing it in the journal and a shared toast of refreshing water. Then make the commitment to do the same tomorrow and the next day and the next day, eventually building upon that walk and her endurance.
Walking will improve your parent’s health and well-being, providing her with endless places she can go, see and experience.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional Elderly Care in Trussville, AL, call and talk to the staff at Lipford Home Care (205) 623-5700.
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