VIDEO: The importance of walking in older people

Ilustración de personas mayores caminando juntas

Did you know that only 150 minutes of walking a week reduce the risk of depression in older people? More details in this article.

By Natalia Correa

Illustrated video that explains why walking is important for mental health in older people. Realization: Bonsai Films.

A walk can make a difference when it comes to mental health. Sedentary people, especially the elderly, are at higher risk of depression.

According to WHO, “active” older people spend more than 150 minutes per week in moderate aerobic activities, such as walking. That is, they spend at least 30 minutes every day, from Monday to Friday, walking. This practice is directly associated with physical and mental improvements in quality of life.

The development of walking programs contributes to maintaining their functionality and autonomy: according to a study by our associate researcher Alejandra Araya, along with Evelyn Iriarte, physical exercise has proven to be an effective strategy to reduce the fear of falling and the occurrence of falls in older people, in addition to helping reduce the risk of depression.

Another study by the same researcher revealed that 56.7% of older people were classified as having multidimensional frailty, which includes physical, psychological and social aspects.

Being a frail elderly person implies worse results in their functionality and in carrying out their daily activities, as well as problems and adverse results in the cognitive, affective and social areas.

The main thing is to encourage physical activity. Going for a walk in a group every day is an alternative, which can also help reduce emotional distress.

From public policies, promoting the availability of Day-Time Care Centres is a necessary step. The evidence confirms that older people in these centres have positive changes in the face of depression and the perception of social support, thanks to their strong group and participatory component.

That is why it is important to detect frailty on time and carry out interventions that improve the quality of life of older people.