Exercise should be regularly featured in everybody’s daily routine, but it doesn’t have to be overly strenuous to provide numerous positive benefits to those who partake.
In fact, low-impact exercises are often a better source of fitness for seniors because they are less physically risky while still producing worthwhile outcomes. Among the forms of exercise that are suitable for people of all ages, walking continues to top the list as one of the easiest, most accessible, and cost-effective outlets for physical activity.
You can take a brisk walk on the grounds at your retirement community, inside a gym, or even to get to your favorite shop or restaurant. In addition to being cheap and convenient, walking yields a slew of other positive results. Here are seven that demonstrate why you should incorporate walking into your daily routine:
1. Strengthen Your Muscles
Walking strengthens and tones your muscles, which is important for carrying out even the most seemingly mundane daily tasks, such as lifting groceries, showering, and getting out of bed. Keeping your muscles strong will help reduce the rate at which your bones weaken and can protect your bones in case of a fall. Walking also increases your core strength, giving you better balance and lowering your risk of falling. This gives you the ability to maintain an active and independent lifestyle for longer.
2. Maintain Steady Weight
Being physically active on a regular basis, coupled with good nutrition, will help you increase your metabolism, burn calories, and manage your weight. Weight gain not only undermines your mobility but can also increase your risk of various diseases. Walking every day also has the benefit of reducing your cravings for sugary foods and helping you combat negative emotions that can lead to overindulging on unhealthy snacks.
3. Prevent Various Diseases
By getting your heart rate up each day, walking has the ability to improve your cardiovascular health. Even small amounts of brisk walking on a regular basis can significantly lower your risk of heart-related issues, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiac arrest. Walking increases your circulation, and the faster you walk, the better your blood flows. It can also help you regulate your blood sugar. When you’re physically moving, your body uses the sugar in your blood more effectively in the process of strengthening your muscles.
4. Boost Your Immune System
In addition to helping prevent chronic disease, walking can decrease your chance of dealing with common illnesses by strengthening your immune system. An article on The Caregiver Space cites a study that showed people who walk 20 minutes per day five days per week took 43% fewer sick days compared to individuals who didn’t exercise. Not only do you tend to get sick less frequently but also for shorter durations.
5. Reduce Anxiety and Depression
Exercise, in general, can have a positive impact on your mood and mental state. Physical activity leads to the release of endorphins, which create a sense of wellbeing and make you feel more positive about life. Walking is not necessarily a cure for clinical anxiety or depression, but it can help you manage and mitigate those conditions and boost your mental health. Additionally, engaging in exercise for even 15 to 30 minutes per day will help decrease the risk of insomnia and grant you the wellness that comes from getting a good night’s sleep.
Related reading: Practical Ways to Combat Loneliness in Seniors
6. Increase Your Confidence
Confidence is a state of mind and the little habits you form in your day-to-day life are key to accessing it. Exercising, eating well, and practicing good hygiene can both directly and indirectly improve your confidence. These activities reaffirm your sense of self and the idea that you are important and worth being cared for. And who better to take care of you than you? Your body and mind are valuable and it’s up to you to maintain them as best you can.
7. Enhance Your Social Life
One of the nice things about walking compared to other forms of exercise is that it can easily be done in a group. You can get together with friends or other residents at your retirement community and walk together, which makes the activity more enjoyable and allows you to support and encourage one another to be consistent. Learn more about our walking group »
Add Walking to Your Daily Life
Any day is a good day to start forming a new habit of intentionally walking to reap the numerous benefits, whether it's walking or writing in a journal. Village Green Retirement Community is designed to promote your healthy, active lifestyle. We not only provide facilities and opportunities to exercise – such as taking a walk – but our dining services provide nutritious meals to satisfy your taste buds and enhance your overall well being.
“Walking – The Benefits for Older People.” BetterHealth Channel. Accessed online at https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/walking-the-benefits-for-older-people
“Why Walking is Beneficial for Seniors.” American Senior Communities. Accessed online at https://www.asccare.com/walking-beneficial-seniors/
“8 Science-Backed Health Benefits to Walking For Seniors.” The Caregiver Space blog. Accessed online at https://thecaregiverspace.org/8-science-backed-health-benefits-to-walking-for-seniors/
“Walking, Other Exercise Helps Seniors Stay Mobile, Independent.” Harvard Health Blog. Accessed online at https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/walking-exercise-helps-seniors-stay-mobile-indpendent-20405287173