Help Your Parents Navigate Dementia | Q&A: Self Care & Mindful Walking Outside

Hi everyone! I hope you had a really nice
Thanksgiving, and that’s whatever Thanksgiving may constitute for you. If
it’s you and your spouse and your fur kids, if it’s you surrounded by lots of
extended family members, or if it’s you and a parent, I just want to wish you a
really great Thanksgiving! And that you had a wonderful time with your family. I
also was going to continue this series, but I wanted to first wish you a
Happy National Caregiving Month. You know, it’s really hard to be caregivers, and I
wanted to thank you for everything you’re doing. I’m sure you don’t hear
that enough. I don’t think any of us do, so I will be that person to say that to
you. I wanted to also thank you so much for supporting me, and my social
enterprise, Befriended Heart. My name is Laura, and my dad has dementia, so I
started Befriended Heart for daughters helping their parents navigate
dementia. In this video, as well as all the videos that I provide for you, I
am trying to give you some really great tips to make your job easier. So in
continuing our series, I wanted to say thank you so much for subscribing! I
noticed we had a couple more subscribers, and if you are interested in subscribing,
please click the subscribe button below and feel free to comment on this video
as well. Today I wanted to talk about self-care and mindful running or walking
outside. So before you start on this, I highly recommend that you are well-
hydrated. So you drink lots of water and you also eat a granola bar or
something to fuel you before you go exercise outside. The last thing
you want to do when trying to be mindful outside is to think, “Oh I’m so hungry!”
or “I’m so thirsty! I wish I had some more
water,” because that really defeats the purpose of being in the moment
and taking it all into your senses. So the next thing that I do, and this is
just based on your situation, is to take my dog Scotty out.
It is great exercise for him, of course great exercise for me, but also it’s
really good bonding time for both of us. So if you do have a dog, I highly
recommend bringing them outside with you. If you don’t have a pet, you can still
benefit from mindful running or walking. And I do say “or walking” because I
personally hate running! I remember in sixth grade — I don’t know if you had
this in your phys ed class — but we had to run a mile around lots of
different orange cones outside and I remember that my time was one of the
lowest of the class. I think my mile run was 12 minutes and 30 seconds and I
don’t know that it’s gotten any better since then, but one thing that I
discovered as an adult is that I don’t have to run the whole time! They’re
actually finding in studies now that if you want to increase your cognitive
reserve, meaning that you are trying to delay dementia, interval training is
actually the best way to do that and so interval training is actually going
between walking and then running as fast as you can and then walking again.
You don’t need a specific length of interval. The important thing is that you
are varying when you start running and when you stop running and start
walking. So, really for me, I kind of just listen to my body and if I can’t run a long way — and when I say run, I mean sprint as fast as I can, and
it’s maybe 15 feet. It’s really not even that far.
But I just wait until I get tired and then I start walking.
The other great thing too about running as fast as you can is it actually gets
your heart beating quickly, which is really great cardio, and interval training is actually
best for any age, even if you’re not worried about getting dementia. It
just really keeps your heart healthy. So the the heart
beating is joined by your endorphins run into your head as well,
so you end up feeling so much better about anything you were stressing about,
and you’re just in a general good mood. I think also being outside with the
sunlight and getting that vitamin D is always really good for us, whether it’s a
summer day or if it’s a winter day. You’re still getting that sunlight, which
is great. And as I mentioned the endorphins, and you’re also getting in
more oxygen which improves your heart health but also just improves your mood.
So that part is very important. But then, getting into the mindful aspect of it —
really, what it’s doing is what I’ve mentioned
in my other videos, which is to be in the moment. Don’t think about what you
need to do when you get home from running or walking. Don’t think
about how Thanksgiving went, and if it was stressful or not. You’re really
trying to soak in the moment, and exactly what you’re doing at the time. You
are walking or running and so you just use your five senses. For me, I see my dog react to a squirrel. I look at what animals
I can find in the vast green of the area near my house. And even if you don’t have
a beautiful green neighborhood, you can still take in all the sights of
wherever you live. I mean, there’s a reason why you moved where you moved,
right? There has to be something that you appreciate about it, so
whether you’re in the city or you’re in a suburb like I am, you can
just do some people watching. You can listen to the cars going by.
You can try to listen to the sounds of nature. I feel like
it’s so hard to hear those things now. That would be really great. I think
tasting the air. I know right now it’s really cold outside, and so you’re
feeling all that cold air come into your lungs, and focusing on that is really a way to be
mindful. Smelling what’s going on — I know for me, fall has a really particular
smell — it’s that crispness in the air. Sometimes there’s
burning leaves. Anything that you can taste from the smell is really great too. Then
finally for the touch sense, I feel my sneakers hitting the really
hard sidewalk. Just feeling the concreteness and the stability of the
earth makes me feel really good too. I’m also hearing the pitter pat of
Scotty’s paws on the sidewalk. it’s all a really wonderful
experience and I really have to say that it’s SO important to not wear
headphones when you are running. I understand what you’re saying, “But Laura,
the music is so great and it helps me be mindful and I can focus on the
music!” Yeah, but honestly, don’t you want to appreciate the nature outside? I
feel like we spend so much of our days and nights now being on the
computer and reading emails and texting people and watching videos like this one.
We really don’t have a lot of time to appreciate our Earth, and
especially with things going on recently with natural disasters, we don’t know how much longer we’re gonna have this beautiful Earth. So why
not appreciate it, right? I think it’s a really great way to be mindful
by not having your headphones in. Then you can pay
much more attention to your five senses. The other thing, and I’m sure you’ve
heard this before but I will repeat it, is the safety aspect. I’m sure you
have been trying to drive somewhere, you’ve been in a rush. And then you
noticed a random pedestrian standing in the middle of the
street looking at their phone or with their headphones on, and they have no
idea what’s going on, right? So it gets very frustrating — “how do you not
know what’s going on?” But you know how it is when you have headphones on or you’re
waiting for that text from a friend. The world around you does
not exist and honestly that is a really unsafe situation to be in.
We all want to be around to live our wonderful lives and take care of our
parents and be good caregivers, so you also need to look out for yourself in
that way. Finally, I wanted to share that the other aspect of safety is the
lack of awareness for crime. So I went to a self-defense class at a police
station and the policewoman was actually saying that criminals prey on women who
have headphones in when they’re running because they know that those women are
not as aware of their surroundings as women without headphones. So again, super important to not only appreciate the mindfulness
experience by not having your headphones in, but also being safe as well! If you
love this tip, I would really appreciate if you could subscribe to my channel
or leave a comment below and I am looking forward to seeing you!

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