In the past, walking was our primary way of getting from place to place. Then came horses, and carriages, and bicycles, and cars, but the fact remains that walking is what our bodies are designed to do when it comes to travel. There are many benefits of walking ranging from physical to mental, and when it comes to seniors, walking is a really accessible way to incorporate physical activity into the daily routine.
Just 30 minutes of walking per day can have a slew of positive health benefits and helps you avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Walking is a great option for exercise for seniors as it is low impact, and can help reduce the risk of several chronic conditions while improving overall health.
The Health Benefits of Walking
Some benefits of walking for seniors include:
- Heart Health– Walking is a great way to get moving, promote blood flow, and increase heart rate. Getting your heart rate up daily helps to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol and coronary heart disease.
- Lower Blood Sugar– Some seniors experience spikes in blood sugar after meals. Taking a 15-minute walk after eating can potentially help reduce this, helping to strengthen muscles, and encouraging the body to use blood sugar more effectively.
- Reduced Pain– Studies have shown that walking can help reduce some pain due to chronic conditions such as arthritis. Walking for about 20 minutes three times a week can help strengthen the abdominal muscles that support the back, and in some cases can even help to reduce chronic back pain.
- Improved Sleep– Incorporating regular exercise can also help you sleep better. The most obvious way exercising helps you sleep is that working your body and muscles can tire you out. That endorphin release and stress minimizing effect can also promote more quality sleep.
- Social Interaction– Walking offers not only an easy way for seniors to exercise but also a great opportunity for them to meet up with friends to walk together. You could even start a walking club and meet up at specific times to help hold each other accountable and make the exercise more enjoyable.
- Promotes Greater Mental Health– The endorphins your body releases during physical activity can help to create a sense of well-being, while also reducing anxiety and elevating mood. Going for a nice walk daily can help you feel more positive about everything.
If you think you could benefit from a little extra movement and exercise, try to go for a walk. If the weather is nice, you could go for a walk outside with friends, and reap the benefits of physical activity and the fresh air. If you are able to make a habit out of it, you’ll see the many benefits of walking for seniors. At Regency Birmingham, our activities calendar includes various exercise classes residents can attend, and other activities to keep everyone moving! Join in the fun.