Walking is a senior-friendly form of exercise that reaps many health benefits. Learn more about them and how to get started here.
Staying active is important at every age, and that’s especially true for older adults. Physical activity helps with everything from preventing depression to beating stress and protecting core strength. While flashy, high-impact forms of exercise grab the headlines, they aren’t always the best types of activities for seniors. There are other options that are kinder on aging joints, including walking.
If you aren’t a walker already, you may be surprised to learn how many health benefits are associated with lacing up your sneakers and hitting the pavement.
Walking for Fitness
While it seems like such a simple activity, walking for fitness promotes healthy aging in a variety of ways, including:
- Better mental health: Walking at a brisk pace is an aerobic form of exercise. It stimulates the production of endorphins, which are the feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain. That helps boost mood and manage stress. Learn more about Cognitive Health >
- Reduce risk for falls: Falls continue to be a leading cause of serious and fatal injuries among older adults. It’s estimated that a senior is treated in a hospital emergency room for a fall-related injury every 11 seconds in this country. Walking improves core strength and endurance, which lowers a senior’s risk for experiencing a fall.
- Improve quality of sleep: Seniors tend to experience a greater number of sleep issues, including insomnia, than younger adults. Research shows that exercise helps you fall asleep faster and sleep better. A daily walk may be just the thing to allow a poor sleeper to get a good night’s rest.
- Maintain heart health: Walking is a senior-friendly form of exercise known for helping with weight management. Keeping your weight under control translates to fewer problems with cholesterol and blood pressure. Each of these plays a role in preventing heart disease. Learn more about Heart Health >
Stay Active at The Wesley Community
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to become more sedentary than ever before. If you are one of them, check with your doctor for advice before beginning a walking program. Once they’ve given their approval, these tips will be useful in starting to walk your way to better health:
- Recruit a buddy or two: As is true of any form of fitness activity, staying motivated is more than half the battle. If you have a friend or two who are willing to walk too, you will be able to hold one another accountable. And walking is just more fun with friends!
- Block out time: Another tip is to schedule the times you will walk each week, and stick to your plan. Many find it helpful to have a designated time of day for walking. You might be more successful if you get moving first thing in the morning. The longer you delay during the day, the more time you will have to come up with excuses for not exercising.
- Invest in quality footwear: Let’s face it, when your feet hurt, it’s hard to summon up the motivation to get moving. Having the right pair of walking shoes is important. It may be even better to have a couple of pairs you rotate through. Visit a reputable athletic footwear store and have a salesperson measure your feet and recommend the best walking shoe and size.
- Vary your routes: Boredom is another enemy of fitness. It’s easy to lose motivation if you follow the same path every day. Instead, explore the walking trails at local parks and investigate which high schools allow walkers to use their tracks. Then alternate which routes you take each day. Saratoga Springs is filled with unique walking paths.
- Have a bad weather plan: Icy walkways and rainy days might make it tempting to skip your daily walk. That’s why it’s important to have a few indoor walking destinations. Most shopping centers and big box stores have reopened since the worst of the coronavirus pandemic seems to be behind us. They are great places for walkers, especially in the early morning hours. You could also consider investing in a treadmill for your home.
Our Senior Community in Saratoga Springs Provides a Lovely Campus for Walking
At The Wesley Community, we understand the vital role physical activity plays in successful aging. Whether you are a resident of our independent living or assisted living or are receiving care in our nursing center, you’ll find ample opportunities to participate in appropriate fitness activities each day. Call (518) 587-3600 today to learn more!