Once people learn to walk it usually becomes a great source for transportation. Over the years even when technology has given us the bicycle, cars, trains and subways; walking has always been an option that is cheap, efficient and a good way to stay active even if its just to the car.
As a form of exercise, walking doesn’t require anything other than a pair of shoes, steady legs and the willingness to do it. Since it is easy to walk for exercise, it often gets lost in other activities at our disposable and because of this we can miss out on beneficial option particularly for seniors to boost their health. Below are 6 reasons why seniors shouldn’t just walk but embrace the life changing properties it possesses.
- Its Modifiable – for everyone who has walked with someone else, it is soon realized that everyone walks at his or her own speed. The great thing about walking for seniors is that they can walk at their own pace. As people get more comfortable or in better health, walking becomes an easy activity to match with an individuals current fitness levels.
- The cardiovascular component – Since walking is modifiable, when done at a reasonably slow pace most people don’t get out of breath or feel tired. As the pace is increased, walking becomes an activity that is great for seniors heart health and physical fitness. In addition to increasing the pace, seniors can add weights in their hands or around their ankles and ski poles to make walking a great cardiovascular choice.
- Stress reduction – taking a long walk is an excellent way of reducing stress levels. Walking like other forms of exercise can release chemicals in our body called “endorphins” which gives us a natural high; also including the benefits of smelling fresh air and an increasing blood flow to reduce stress.
- Backwards – while not very common to do, walking backwards has many health benefits for seniors. Walking backwards increases cardiovascular endurance because it requires more effort and burns more calories than someone walking forward at the same pace. It also enhances balance and coordination by improving the functions of our cerebellum, which is responsible for balancing our bodily movements.
- Maintains healthy joints and bones – since walking counts as a weight bearing activity, it can be great for your joints and bones. Osteoporosis, which affects seniors in particular need exercises that are weight bearing to build up their bone density.
- The more the merrier – Walking while a great solo activity can equally be fun with partners. In colder climates many shopping malls have realized that seniors love to walk in groups and have opened them up for pre-shopping mall walking.