Taking a walk each day has enormous health benefits for everyone and it is especially good for seniors. Walking for seniors is a great way to stay active without doing strenuous exercises.
Benefits of Walking for Seniors
So just how beneficial is walking for senior citizens? A 20 to 30-minute walk per day has been shown to:
Improve heart health - walking for older adults helps improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and ward of signs of cardiovascular disease.
Lower blood sugar - a walk after a meal can be especially useful as this is when blood sugar tends to spike. Walking can also aide in digestion.
Strengthen bones, muscles and joints - Senior walking exercises are low impact but they still work the entire body. Joints need regular activity to stay functional, so walking keeps them healthy while also strengthening the muscles around them. Walking can also help reduce joint pain by keeping the joints moving regularly.
Improve balance and coordination and lower your risk of falls
Reduce anxiety and depression and improve overall mental health. Physical activity - even simple ones such as walking for the elderly - releases endorphins which promote a positive mood.
Help you socialize - you may run into a neighbor on your walk and strike up a conversation! You can also find a walking buddy so you can motivate each other and hold each other accountable for your daily walks.
One of the best parts of walking as exercise for seniors is that it’s free! No costly gym memberships here, just a casual stroll around the block.
Download Our Senior Exercise Guide
Tips to Get Started for Older Adults Walking
Start slow - you don’t need to walk very far or very fast when you’re getting started. You can increase the speed and distance of your walk as you progress.
Don’t overdo it - use the “talk test” to make sure you are not working too hard. You should feel like you are working out, but still be able to carry on a conversation. If you are out of breath, you need to slow down or stop until your heart rate slows and you can breathe normally.
Keep an eye on the weather! Don’t get caught in a rainstorm or get heat stroke in the summer. When the weather isn’t cooperating, try walking in a mall or local gym.
Wear comfortable shoes and stay hydrated. You should be drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day, so bring a water bottle along on your walk to make sure you stay safe and hydrated. And don’t forget comfortable footwear - the walk will be much more enjoyable if your feet aren’t bothering you the entire time.
Walking is a great exercise for anyone, including seniors. It isn’t difficult to get started and you can do it almost anywhere. Just grab your water and your comfy shoes and get moving!