The Benefits of Walking for Seniors

How can you strengthen your bones, improve circulation, mood, and even reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s?

Hint: It doesn’t involve a prescription and it’s absolutely free.

It’s walking. Did you know that even a casual stroll around Edgeworth Park at New Town reaps a myriad of health benefits? It’s easy on the joints and can be done practically anywhere, making it an ideal exercise option for most everyone. Need inspiration to lace up those sneakers? Some of the greatest benefits of walking for seniors are listed below.

Top Benefits of Walking for Older Adults

  •       Walking improves circulation

Walking is ideal for anyone with heart disease or peripheral artery disease because it improves blood flow and increases oxygen throughout the body.  A recent study at the University of Colorado at Boulder found that postmenopausal women who walked up to two miles per day lowered their blood pressure by about 11 points in six months. And women who walk 30 minutes a day can reduce their risk of a stroke by 20 percent.

  •       Walking elevates your mood

Endorphins are released when you take a walk, acting as natural painkillers and also work to better your mood. If you struggle with anxiety, depression, or simply aren’t feeling that inspired, hit the sidewalk or your nearest mall for an invigorating walk.

  •       Walking improves quality of sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a walk during the day could help you sleep better at night. Walking earlier in the day raises your body temperature, and as your body cools down, you may start to feel tired, thus gearing you up for a good night’s sleep. Walking also elevates serotonin levels that help you relax.

  •       Walking reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s.

Several studies have shown that seniors who walk regularly are at less of a risk for developing Alzheimer’s than those who don’t. According to a study at the University of Virginia Health Systems of men between the ages of 71 and 93, it was discovered that those who walked more than a quarter mile daily reported half the incidence of age-related dementia than those who walked less.

  •       Walking keeps weight off.

Today, nearly 74 percent of women and 77 percent of men over the age of 60 are overweight – a body mass index of 25 or higher, or a body mass index over 30 percent is medically obese. Because obesity carries such risks for older adults it is now treated as a disease. A daily walking routine can help you burn calories and lose fat, which in turn can keep you healthier longer.

Ready to Walk Your Way to Health? Here are some tips to get you started:

  •       The right shoes make all the difference

Shoe stores that specialize in walking or running shoes are a great resource for new walkers. Do you over pronate or are you a neutral walker? These are the kind of questions an experienced shoe fitter can answer. A good pair of walking shoes may cost a little more than run of the mill sneakers, but they will last longer and most importantly, help you avoid injuries associated with walking in a pair of poorly fitted shoes.

  •       Have a Plan-B

Don’t let bad weather keep you from your daily walk; have an indoor route. Malls or an indoor track can be great alternatives for cold and rainy days, or when it’s too hot to exercise outside. Consider joining a gym and walking on a treadmill, and when you’re travelling, check out the airport’s website for walking routes to use during a layover.

  •       Enlist a Friend

If you’re having trouble sticking with a routine, find a partner. Ask a fellow senior to join you; having a workout partner is a proven way to stay motivated and to keep the stroll interesting.

Like any exercise regimen, it is important to consult a physician before beginning a strenuous walking routine. The beautiful campus of Edgeworth Park at New Town, an Assisted Living and Memory Care community located in Williamsburg, Virginia, boasts a beautiful campus with scenery sure to delight walkers, and a variety of exercise options for even the most physically-disciplined resident. For more information regarding the amenities and services offered to residents of Edgeworth Park at New Town, contact us today or call 866-568-9206.