Benefits of Walking For Seniors
Shown to improve overall health, mobility, and mental state, walking is an easy, effective way for seniors to become more active and healthy. This article will go over the many benefits walking can provide seniors.
Walking Benefits for Seniors
From improved heart health to a boosted immune system to providing an outlet for social interaction, there are many benefits of walking for seniors. Here are some of the main walking benefits for seniors:
Improved heart health - Walking is a great way to get your heart pumping. Regular walking can improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and help reduce likelihood of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack and stroke.
Strengthens bones & joints - Hitting the pavement has many benefits for your bones and joints. In fact, studies have shown that regular walking can help reduce the loss of bone mass during osteoporosis, build bone strength to reduce the risk of bone fractures, and lessen arthritis pain.
Promotes good health - One of the best ways to uphold good health as a senior is to keep your body weight in check. Walking is a great low impact activity (meaning it won’t cause strain to your muscles, bones, or joints) that gets the whole body moving at once, helping to burn calories and keep your body’s metabolism firing. Regular exercise also helps you sleep better at night, which contributes to overall health, too.
Can help mental health - Another benefit of walking for seniors is that it’s good for your mental health. Being outside provides a dose of Vitamin D, and a mood-boosting connection with nature. Even if you’re walking inside, you’ll still reap the benefits - walking naturally releases endorphins, which helps you feel happier and more positive.
Regulates blood sugar - Regular exercise helps to keep blood sugar in check, which can lead to better overall health. In addition, research has suggested that walking regularly can help motivate a healthier diet with reduced sugar cravings.
Can boost immune system - When you are healthy, your immune system is stronger. By getting regular exercise through walking, you’re working to strengthen your immune system, which will make you more resistant to diseases.
Social interaction - Walking is a great way to socialize, connect with friends, or even get out and meet some new people. Human interaction also helps boost mood, so there are multiple benefits of social walking for seniors.
How to Start a Walking Program
The great thing about walking is how accessible it is - anyone can do it, including the senior community. However, if you are feeling a little overwhelmed on how to start a walking program, use the following tips to prepare for beginning a walking routine.
When starting a walking program, it’s best to start small. Especially if you are starting a new journey of health and movement, you need to understand that progress takes time. Start with just a walk down the street and back, or a walk around the block, and see how you feel. Each week, you can add on some distance. When it comes to walking, it’s more important to get out and do it regularly than it is to aim for a certain time or distance.
Slow & Steady
As you’re starting your walking program, also be sure not to push yourself too hard, too fast. Aim for a comfortable, moderate pace. You should be able to have a conversation (perhaps with a walking partner) and not be out of breath as you are walking.
More than anything, make sure you’re following the rule of “safety first.” Starting small and not exerting yourself too much too quickly is a great way to be safe, but there are also other safety precautions to consider.
For example, make sure you are wearing comfortable walking shoes and clothing. If you’re walking in a high-traffic area or in dimly lit parts of the day, consider wearing reflective clothing and carrying a flashlight. If you have a history of knee problems, suit up with a supportive knee brace. The goal of starting a walking program is longevity, and safety is a big part of that.
Bring a Friend
As mentioned above, walking is a great way to socialize with friends. When you bring a friend on your walk, you are setting yourself up for success by adding the element of companionship, which may also boost positive mental effects of your walk. In addition, walking with a buddy is a great safety practice. If anything happens while you’re out walking, you know you won’t be alone.
Create a Routine
Another great tip for starting a walking program is to find a way to create a routine. Choose certain days of the week, a certain time or day, or something that you can consistently stick to as a way to make your walking program a habit. Creating a routine can take your walking program from an occasional endeavor to a regular health practice.
As you can see, there are innumerable benefits to walking for seniors and virtually zero drawbacks. If you’re a senior looking for a new way to connect with friends, improve your health, and boost your mood, consider starting a walking routine to take control of your health.
Wellness Programs of Ridgeline Management
Joining a Wellness Program, such as the ones offered at Ridgeline, is a great way to tap into the power of a group in pursuing your health goals and finding an outlet for community interaction. At Ridgeline, we offer a number of Wellness Programs to our residents, such as walking, Balance Fitness, and more. If you’re interested in joining a Wellness Program and improving your health, contact us today!