How to Walk Your Way to Better Health
Walking has immense health benefits, no matter your age. This surprisingly powerful form of exercise is achievable and highly beneficial for seniors, and not only helps prevent future health issues but can also improve your current health status overall. That said, be sure to speak to a medical professional before making any changes to your exercise regime.
The Benefits of Walking
Physical activity is essential to healthy aging, and walking offers vast physical and mental health benefits. Physically, walking has been found to improve cardiovascular health by lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your heart and encouraging circulation. It also helps enhance bone and muscle strength, as well as joint health, which can prevent pain and stiffness, while also lowering your fall risk. In addition, walking is great for maintaining a healthy weight, which can prevent obesity along with other health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and premature death.
Walking can boost your brain health and improve your mental wellness. While you walk, your body releases endorphins and lowers cortisol, which are known to enhance your mood and reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. Because of this and the fact that exercise helps you expel energy, walking can also improve the quality of your sleep, which is crucial to your physical and mental health. Since this exercise ameliorates blood flow, walking can also improve your cognitive function.
Seniors should aim to walk 150 minutes per week, which is about 30 minutes per day, five days a week. To maximize the benefits of walking, go for a stroll outdoors. Spending time outside can help calm your nervous system, mitigating feelings of depression and anxiety.
Tips to Get Started
Rather than jumping into a new exercise regimen, follow these steps to ensure the best results and mitigate the risk of injury.
- Get medical clearance from your doctor. Speak with your healthcare provider on whether or not walking is a feasible form of exercise for you – this can be especially important if you’ve just had surgery or a health event, or are utilizing skilled nursing or rehabilitation care. They will be able to assess your fall risk and overall health status and advise on how much walking to incorporate into your exercise regimen.
- Start slow and steady. As with any exercise program, you want to start at a slower pace and gradually increase the duration or intensity as you build strength and endurance. Start with short, slower-paced walks, and work your way up to longer intervals at a quicker pace.
- Wear appropriate attire. Dressing appropriately is critical to staying comfortable. Check the weather before your walk and ensure you wear breathable athletic clothing and supportive, comfortable sneakers.
- Find people to walk with. Walking can be much easier to do if you have someone to go with. See if your community has a local walking group, or ask a family member or friend if they’d like to join you for a stroll. This can help you stay active and improve your sense of emotional well-being.
Ways to Incorporate More Walking In Daily Life
It can be difficult to stay active throughout the day, but it’s clear to see that doing so pays off. Here are some simple ways you can get more steps:
- Explore your neighborhood
- Find nature trails, parks or walking paths to enjoy
- Get a treadmill to make walking more convenient
- Take regular walking breaks between tasks
- Choose the stairs instead of the elevator, if possible
- Park at the back of the parking lot when you go to the store
- Pace or go for a walk when you’re on the phone with a loved one
- Walk on your treadmill as you watch television or pace around during commercial breaks
- Take your dog for a walk
- Walk rather than drive to closeby destinations
- Go to a museum
- Take the long ways around the store as you browse and shop
Get Walking at The Stayton
The Stayton is an upscale senior living community in the vibrant city of Fort Worth, Texas. Our prime location gives residents plenty of sights to see and things to do on their walking adventures – but the fun doesn’t start outside of our community. We offer an abundance of wellness-focused services, amenities and activities. Our aerobics studio and fitness center empower you to get your steps in, too. You can also enjoy a stroll through our resident gardens or on our walking paths. If you have a dog, you and your furry friend can also spend some time together in our dog park!
Contact us today to see how The Stayton can help you live well.