Health benefits of walking for seniors
If it’s been a while since you exercised or if you’re in need of an exercise that will build up your endurance without putting a lot of stress on your joints, lace up your shoes and get walking! Walking offers great flexibility; you can do it nearly anywhere, outdoors or at a nearby superstore or mall, and it’s a great way to expand your social circle while you’re expanding your lungs and clearing your mind.
Health Benefits of Walking
Gets Your Body Moving Through Space
The action of moving your body forward through space puts consistent and even pressure on your feet and knees. While running is great for your heart, it can put great pressure on your hips, knees and feet. Walking offers a gentler impact and will strengthen your joints, rather than pounding them.
Connect You With New Friends
Maintaining a social circle as we age can be a challenge; children move away while spouses and friends may not be able to get out as much as we’d like. Joining a mall walking club is a great way to get some exercise, see some new sites and connect with other seniors interested in fitness. Isolation is hard on your body and mind. Walking in groups offers a chance for emotional connection and support, one of the best benefits of walking for seniors.
Reduce Your Stress
Walking is a habit that frees up your brain for creative thought. If you prefer to walk alone, use this time to reconsider your daily worries and restructure them into puzzles that you can solve. The stress relief of walking will be great for your blood pressure and brain. If weight loss is a goal, one of the surprising health benefits of walking is the reduction in your cortisol production, which can lead to belly fat.
Build Up Your Musculature
While some forms of exercise can be tough on your joints and leave you very sore, walking is something you can start and increase your pace and distance slowly. These personal goals can help you improve slowly without extreme soreness or injury risk. Of course, a good pedometer is necessary to know your distance and speed.
Build Up Your Bones
Weight bearing exercise is critical for anyone hoping to address the risk of osteoporosis. Walking is an easy weight bearing exercise, and if dome for 30 minutes per day, can reduce your risk of hip fracture. Stopping bone loss is one of the best benefits of walking for seniors.
Improves Your Circulation
Walking increases oxygen flow throughout your body, building up the function of your heart and leg muscles in particular. This increase in blood flow can strengthen your heart, reduce your blood pressure and reduce fluid retention.
Osteoarthritis, sometimes called “wear and tear arthritis” can be a source of terrible pain. Unfortunately, the more you sit and limit the amount of weight you put on the joint, the more constricted you become. A slow and gentle walk, even for only ten minutes per day, followed by some careful stretching, is a great way to reduce the pain and inflammation of arthritis.
Getting moving on a walking program requires only a good pair of walking shoes and some dedication. If you enjoy company, get a walking buddy to keep you accountable. If you like solitude, walk alone. Use a pedometer to monitor your progress. Once you know the number of steps and the distance you cover, you can work to increase your pace, extend your stride and strengthen your body.
You don’t need a trainer or a gym membership to develop a useful walking routine that will help you build up your body. Many senior citizens can find access to mall walking clubs or other indoor facilities if the weather is rough. Some communities offer transportation as well. Connect with like-minded seniors, interested in fitness, and get moving!