Physical activity is important to your health no matter what your age is. For seniors, staying active helps to increase the range of motion, improves the person's mood, builds strength, and even helps increase mental capacity. This doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym five days a week in order to realize these benefits, all types of physical activity count.
For seniors looking to include physical activity that is easy to pick up, doesn’t require any sort of preparation or skill level, and can be enjoyed by all levels of fitness and health – walking is the ultimate activity. If you haven’t yet caught on to the benefits of walking, here’s a look at the reasons you’ll want to include it in your regular daily activities.
There is No Training/Experience Required
Some physical activities require a level of knowledge, training, and experience in order to perform them correctly. This isn’t the case at all with walking. There is no skill involved, it’s just walking. You can start out slow and just walk short distances, and then gradually increase your speed and distance over time.
Enjoy Better Sleep
Many seniors complain of poor sleep habits. They can take longer to stay asleep, and it can be harder to stay sleeping and fall into that state of restful sleep. Here's another area walking can help, as it can improve a person's quality of sleep. Walking has been shown to help drastically reduce the instances of insomnia among people ages 50 through 73. Getting a proper night’s sleep will help you to be more relaxed, refreshed, focused, and happy.
It’s a Great Way to Socialize with Friends
Walking can also act as that perfect excuse to get together with a friend or two to chat and catch up. You can walk around the neighborhood, on the local trails, to and from the coffee shop, whatever you like. You can easily chat and walk at the same time, which allows you to multi-task.
Slow Down and Even Stop Bone Mass Loss
As you age, your bones can start to lose their mass, which means it's easier to break a bone. Osteoporosis is also very common among seniors. One of the best ways to prevent these issues from happening is to walk 30 minutes per day. According to studies, walking can reduce the chance of bone mass loss in seniors by up to 40%.
Give Your Circulation a Boost
Another issue that seniors often suffer from is poor circulation. Poor circulation is more than just an inconvenience, it can also lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. Walking can help to improve a person's circulation, which in turn can help prevent illnesses from occurring. Again, just walk those 30 minutes per day and you can enjoy incredible results. It's been shown that daily walking can reduce your blood pressure by about 11 points.
Enjoy a Boost in Mental Sharpness
How many times have you forgotten details and information in your senior years? It can be quite frustrating and it seems to increase each year that goes by. According to a study that was done on walking at the University of California, walking can slow down mental decline by up to 8%. Again, it’s all about adding that daily walk into your life.
Don’t Forget the Proper Footwear
Now that you’re convinced that walking is something you need to make a conscious effort to do on a regular basis, it’s important to make mention of proper footwear. Investing in a good quality, proper fitting running shoe will provide you with stability, support, and comfort so you’ll be able to enjoy those long walks even on uneven surfaces.
Today's sneakers are packed full of features and made from high-tech materials that allow your foot to breathe, bend and move, and are lightweight so you don't feel bogged down. If you plan on walking daily you may want to pick up two pairs so you can alternate the days you wear each pair. It’s always a good idea to give a running shoe 24 hours to “recover” and bounce back after working out. This is even more important if you purchase a shoe with gel or memory foam in it.
Walking Your Way to Good Health
Including walking in your regular activities will not only improve your physical health but also your mental health. There is no time like the present to get started as the benefits are far too good to pass up.