Walking To Improve Health

May 27, 2018

Will walking really help grandma’s health? Yes! We all know that exercising is good for our bodies since we’ve been told to exercise since a young age. Whether you’re young or old, exercise is still great for your health and your body. There have been many studies about the benefits of seniors walking and studies have shown that it can prevent musculoskeletal declines, has cognitive benefits, seniors felt an increase in quality of life, and in some cases provided therapeutic benefits for older adults suffering from depression. Another study found that walking and being active also helped with their balance and decreased their risk of falling.

In the article “Assessing the Effectiveness of a Walking Program on Physical Function of Residents Living in An Assisted Living Facility,” they set up a study where they prompted the idea of starting a walking club to a resident and had the resident set up the walking club. Each resident was able to choose if they would like to participate and what goal they would like to set for themselves to reach. Because they were able to choose how far they would walk, everyone that wanted to participate could.

At the beginning of the intervention, the researchers did pre-tests and planned to do post-tests to see how walking for 9 weeks affected the residents. One of their tests was the Functional Reach Test which “was selected to measure balance and assess the likelihood of falls.” For the test, the resident would stand with their arm extended and their hand in a fist and they were asked to lean forward without taking a step or losing their balance. If they reached less than 6 in., they were associated with a significant risk of falling. When they conducted their post-test, they found that of the 15 that were tested, 7 were at the 6 in. mark as compared to only 3 in the pre-test. In other words, “only 20% of the participants tested at 6 in. or above before the walking program, whereas 47% tested at or above 6 in. after.” Not only did the researchers see the physical difference that the walking club made, they also noticed the residents saying enthusiastic statements about walking and how it has benefitted them physically and emotionally and how they liked the experience.

At the Gables of Ammon, we know how important it is for our residents to remain active so that they can lead a happy life. Because of this, we have exercised almost every day of the week. In addition, since the weather is nicer now, our activities director will take our residents on a walk outside. Every year we participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and we love to have residents join us if they would like to and are able. They begin walking now to “train” and build their stamina so they can participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s with us. The research study was just over 9 weeks and they had amazing benefits–imagine after a few months!


Taylor, L., Whittington, F., Hollingsworth, C., Ball, M., King, S., Patterson, V., . . . Jr., A. N. (2003). Assessing the Effectiveness of a Walking Program on Physical Function of Residents Living in an Assisted Living Facility. Journal of Community Health Nursing,20(1), 15-26. doi:10.1207/153276503321159340