Stay Active With These Walking Tips for Seniors
We all know that eating well and staying active is the key to maintaining our health. And when it comes to exercise, walking is one of the best for older adults because it imparts impressive benefits but with a low risk of injury.
Walking is low-impact enough that you won’t typically be sore from doing it, and it doesn’t elevate your heart rate into potentially dangerous zones like more vigorous exercise can do. Some other benefits? Simply by walking, you can gain stronger muscles and improved balance. Walking also helps to keep your weight under control, and regular strolls around the block lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. Not bad!
How much walking is enough?
You don’t have to walk for an hour every day to see benefits from walking. If you’re short on time or have a medical condition that makes it hard to exercise, there is some good news. Scientists have found that for people ages 60 and over, just 15 minutes of moderate exercise per day can boost your life expectancy.
If you can get active for 30 minutes, five times per week, you’ll reap the most benefits in terms of longevity. Those who get in 30 minutes of regular activity had a 28 percent lower chance of dying over the course of 10 years compared to inactive seniors. However, just 15 minutes of moderate exercise per day was linked to 22 percent fewer deaths; scientists specifically saw a reduction in stroke and heart-disease related deaths.
Here are a few tips to get you started on your walking routine.
- Report any pain to your doctor.
If you feel any physical pain when you walk, you may have a physical problem that should be addressed. If you haven’t exercised at all in a while, some minor soreness is to be expected, but it should go away quickly once you get into your walking routine.
- Don’t push yourself too hard.
It’s always best to start out slowly and add on distance a little at a time. Walk at a safe pace that you can easily manage. If you need a cane or a walker, by all means, take it with you. If you’re not accustomed to walking far, start out walking just one block, and then try adding a block every day.
- Consider walking with a friend.
Taking a walk with a friend or family member can make the time pass by more quickly if you tend to get bored on your walks when you’re alone. It also adds an element of safety, and of course, it’s just fun to walk and talk to get your exercise in. However, walks on your own can be a perfect time to tune into your environment and think about your day.
- Choose a good pair of shoes.
Make sure you wear comfortable, supportive shoes during your walks. If you aren’t sure of the best kind of shoe to wear, your doctor can make a recommendation for you. Orthopedic shoe stores can also assist you in making sure your walking shoes fit right, are comfortable and provide good support for your arches. Orthopedic shoes are also more stylish than they used to be in the past.
- Carry your mobile device.
When you wear a mobile medical alert pendant, you know you’ll always be able to get assistance if you need it whether you are walking alone or with a friend. If you carry a cellphone, program any numbers you may need to call during an emergency into your phone’s speed dial.
Walking is an excellent exercise that’s safe and doesn’t cost a thing. Even if you can’t manage 15 to 30 minutes every day, try to move around as much as you can during your day. You’ll still experience health benefits by staying as active as you can manage.