Studies show walking helps to maintain physical and cognitive independence for older adults, by preventing a variety of health problems.
Walking just 30 minutes a day (on average) has numerous health benefits for seniors, including the following:
- It can stop bone mass loss
- Improves circulation
- Aids in weight loss
- Increases balance and stability
- Improves Mood
- Lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Do you walk regularly? Or would you like to start? We’ve had some great walking weather!
Before your next walk, here are 5 tips to apply, so you can get the most benefit and make your workouts as safe and enjoyable as possible.
1. Make sure to warm up and cool down
Warming up at the beginning of your workout, and cooling down afterwards will help prevent muscle strains and other potential injuries.
Your warm-up will help increase blood circulation and deliver oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. This helps your muscles to be more pliable and reactive, and ensures your body is ready for exercise.
A cool down, after your workout, helps decrease the buildup of lactic acid, which prevents aching pains and soreness.
2. Be mindful of the weather
If the weather is colder, make sure to layer your clothing so you can remove layers as it possibly warms up during your walk.
In hotter temperatures, wear sunscreen or cover water, and bring water along with you for your walk.
Also, check the air quality index before you head out, to protect your respiratory system and overall health.
As well, it’s important to recognize when weather conditions are not safe for walking outdoors. For example, check the air quality indexes to On these days, try doing a walk indoors. Walk in place or if you have a treadmill, use that to get your walk in.
3. Use proper gear
Moisture-wicking sportswear, a hat, and sunglasses are some items you might need on your walk on warmer days. Wearing the proper gear will help your walk to be enjoyable and comfortable.
The most important piece of equipment you can invest in is your footwear. Consider purchasing a dedicated walking show. Make sure your walking shoe provides good support and good traction to help prevent falls on loose or wet surfaces.
4. Listen to your body
If you have an aching back, or sore knees or you're down with a cold, don’t try to push through and do your walk. Instead take some time to rest and get better. It’s so important to listen to your body and to pay attention to any changes that are out of the ordinary. If you have swollen feet, for example, this could be a sign of a circulatory problem. If you have difficulty breathing, this could indicate allergies or some lung issues. Seeing your doctor right away could prevent bigger problems in the future and help you to continue to benefit from your walking program in a safe manner.
5. Break up your workouts
Generally, it is recommended that adults over the age of 65 complete a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. We recommend you speak to your doctor about what’s safe and healthy for you.
Instead of doing one big walk, try and break it up into several sessions throughout the day. For example, a 20 minute walk in the morning, another in the afternoon, and a third in the evening.