One simple yet powerful activity that can significantly contribute to our well-being is walking. Walking can be a delightful and accessible form of exercise that can enhance your quality of life at every age. Maintaining an active lifestyle can help reduce various health issues associated with aging. This low-impact form of exercise is great for both physical and mental health, making it an ideal choice for older adults (that said, be sure to speak with a medical professional before changing your exercise regime). With as little as 10 minutes of walking per day, seniors can reap several important health benefits.
So, lace up your walking shoes, grab a friend or a furry companion, and let’s discover some of the joys of walking to improve senior health.
The Physical Benefits of Walking for Seniors
As we age, our metabolism slows down, and this makes it more difficult to maintain our weight. Walking can help slow or reverse this trend by burning extra calories. By maintaining a healthy weight, seniors can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Even those already at a healthy weight can benefit from regular walks. Exercise can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, further reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Regular walks can do more than just strengthen the heart, however. Exercise can enhance strength and flexibility in older adults. This can help reduce the risk of falls as we age, helping seniors stay mobile and independent.
Walking and Mental Health
Mental health plays an important role in overall senior health. That’s why the mental benefits of walking are just as important as the physical benefits associated with exercise. While not all adults can partake in rigorous, high-intensity exercises, seniors walking just a short amount of time each day can still experience benefits such as:
- Better moods. Walking releases “feel-good” hormones called endorphins that naturally boost mood and lower stress levels. This can result in decreased anxiety.
- Improved sleep. Sleeping can often be more challenging as we age. However, regular exercise can make it easier for seniors to sleep at night, allowing them to get the rest they need to face each day feeling refreshed.
- Reduced loneliness. Unlike sports or other, more intense physical activities, walking is easily accessible for many adults. This makes it great for group activities, and walking with a friend or group of friends can reduce social isolation for better long-term health.
Walking for Seniors: Tips to Get Moving!
The CDC recommends adults over 65 get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. While this may seem like a lot at first, walking is easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Here are some simple ways to experience the benefits of walking.
Explore Your Local Neighborhood
You don’t need to go far to enjoy walking. Whether you take the same route each time or switch it up on occasion, a walk around the neighborhood is a great way to enjoy the scenery and get some fresh air. You may also meet some new neighbors or others who can join you on your walks.
Walk a Pet
Dogs love to get outside. If you have a furry friend, taking them for a walk can be an excellent way to get in your steps while spending quality time with your pet. As an added bonus, a tired pet is a well-behaved pet.
Catch Up on Your Favorite TV Shows
Think you have to skip your walks when the weather is cold or raining? Think again! Instead of sitting on the couch while watching TV, walk in place or around the room during commercial breaks. If you have access to a treadmill, it’s even easier to get some exercise while enjoying your favorite shows.
Consider Walking to Run Errands
If you have errands you need to complete, consider walking instead of driving. You can take your time, save some on gas and get in a little extra exercise. Will it take longer than driving? Sure, but sometimes it’s okay to slow down and take it easy for a while.
Make Wellness a Priority at Abbey Delray
Wellness is about more than just diet and exercise, of course. At Abbey Delray, we work to provide you with an ideal wellness journey — whatever that means to you. Find like-minded peers, take part in new experiences or just enjoy the satisfaction that comes with eliminating the chores and responsibilities of everyday life while you engage in your next chapter.
Want to learn more about life at Abbey Delray? Contact us to schedule a tour, or fill out the contact form below to get in touch.