For many of us, the act of walking is not something we think about deeply because it is intuitive. To people who are older and less agile, this can prove to be a hassle but it only means that one should do it more often to maintain his or her fitness (assuming that he or she is able-bodied).
Dedicating 30 minutes a day to walking can make a huge difference to one’s health and if this is something that you have not thought of, here are 5 reasons why you should encourage your seniors to go for a walk:
1) Walking is a low-impact exercise
Coupled with the fact that it is easy to do, walking doesn’t require you to have any special equipment — it the perfect exercise for any fitness-level. If you are not in the best of shape, start by doing 10 to 15 minutes around the neighbourhood and slowly work your way up.
2) Walking improves our sense of balance and coordination
When you start walking over different terrains, you are subconsciously working on your sense of balance and coordination. This is especially good for seniors because all they have to do is to just get into the habit.
Here’s a pro tip to help you get even more out of the workout: Turn your head to the right and left as you walk for a count of 30. Next, move your head up and down for another count of 30. If you integrate these simple exercises into your routine, you will reap more benefits.
3) Walking strengthens the bones and muscles
Even though walking is low-impact, it actually helps strengthen and tones the body. This is especially useful in helping seniors fight muscle degeneration as they age. Monitor your fitness level and consider increasing your mileage and speed if you start to find your walking routine becoming easier (which is a good thing because it means that you are getting stronger!)
4) Walking helps lower blood pressure and strengthen the heart
The act of walking itself actually lowers our blood pressure but it doesn’t just stop there. Our heart is also a muscle and as we work it out, it gets stronger and better at pumping blood through our body. This leads to strengthening of the muscles and lowering body fat — good news for our blood pressure in the long term.
5) Walking boosts mood and fights depression
Last but not least, the exercise of walking releases endorphins that will help lift your mood and can even reduce depression. So, the next time you’re feeling tired or are in a bad mood, lace up your shoes and go for a brisk walk. It works like a charm.
The main thing is to get out there, move around, and get some exercise in a way that’s gentle on the joints, heart, and the whole body.
Take note: For seniors (or anyone) with any health conditions in particular, please discuss your walking plans with your doctor first.