Walking is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise one can do, especially seniors. It’s a low impact way for seniors to improve cardiovascular health and strengthen muscles and bones. The simple task of getting up and moving is so great for the body.
Some of the benefits include:
1). It improves heart health. Getting your heart rate up daily leads to a reduction in the risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and even coronary heart disease.
2). It lowers blood sugar. After eating, taking a 15-minute walk has been shown to reduce the after-eating spike in blood sugar some seniors can experience.
3). Reduces pain. Studies have shown that walking helps reduce pain due to chronic conditions like arthritis. Walking can even strengthen abdominal and back muscles to decrease chronic back pain.
4). Low participation cost. Walking is free…when the weather permits, head to the park for a stroll on the path or simply walk around your neighborhood. If it’s too cold or rainy to go outside, walk around your home or go to a shopping mall.
5). Promotes social engagement. Walking offers an easy way for seniors to meet up with others, if it is walking with friends or talking with neighbors while out on your daily walk.
6). Boosts mental health. The endorphins released during physical activity create a sense of well-being, reduce anxiety and boost your mood.
So how do you start a walking program? A few simple steps:
1). Talk with your physician about starting any exercise program, including walking for exercise.
2). Buy a sturdy, comfortable pair of shoes.
3). If walking outside, find a clear, flat path that is easy to navigate without obstacles.Dress appropriately for the weather or inside walking, and stay hydrated!
4). “Slow & Steady WINS the Race”-Start slow, 5-10mins, and add time and intensity as you get stronger and more comfortable.
With an ultimate goal of 30 minutes per day, remember to start slow and do what feels best for you. Take breaks as necessary. And remember to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
And always remember, make it FUN!
Stay happy, and healthy, and confident Always!!