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Walking every day, whether it’s around your house with a walker, can make a big difference. We actually had a client who did precisely this; she would even wear a pedometer, measure her footsteps with a smart watch, and assess how many steps she took throughout the day. She would just walk circles around her house with a walker, or sometimes without one, depending on what level of balance she was at. She did very well because she was very proactive in that way. Several years later, she’s still living at home independently because she possesses that level of tenacity. She’s over the age of 90 years old, and it is her tenacity to get after it and to be able to do those simple things that’s made a big difference.
The simple things don’t have to require a massive amount of energy, they don’t have to be complicated, and they don’t have to be a big deal. Simple activities like walking and standing up from a chair on a regular basis can go a long way to improve your physical abilities. If you can walk longer, then your heart system, your cardiovascular system, and your lungs – your pulmonary system are going to be a lot better off.
If these systems are improved, many other medical complexities tend to get better as well. Therefore, the medications that you need might be reduced, which would reduce the number of medical interactions that might go wrong. For instance, if you need to undergo a procedure where they need to anesthetize you, less medical complexity poses fewer risks. The older we tend to be and the more medically complex we tend to be, the more likely it is for the anesthesia to have an effect on our brains. Undergoing surgery, hip replacements, or similar procedures, increase the risk of anesthesia affecting your cognitive abilities, and therefore, increase the risk of dementia.
Therefore, walking on a regular basis can really go a long way to begin to prevent those problems. It strengthens the heart and lungs, and of course, your musculoskeletal system will improve along with those as well if you’re up and walking on a regular basis. The key is to walk continuously. It’s not enough to say, ‘okay, I’m walking from here to there, and I’m doing that a lot throughout the day.’ Yes, that’s a great start, but if you really want an improvement of your cardiovascular system, walking continuously for as long as you can, or for a good amount of time, is a great way to improve your heart health and your lung health