Seniors: Walk Your Way to Health!
Have you seen seniors in their sports clothes and sneakers walking purposefully down the street and wondered; is walking really that good for you? Don’t you have to jog, run or a ride a bike to improve your cardiovascular health? Maybe you’ve decided that stuff is too strenuous for you and taking walks doesn’t help much, so why do it? Read on to find out why you should start or increase your walking now.
Walking Is Awesome at Any Age
Walking is an extremely effective fitness tool whether you’re nine or ninety. For seniors, there are dozens of studies showing benefits including; reducing blood pressure, reducing body fat, increasing brain function, fighting stress and depression, and increasing the odds you’ll stay healthy as you age.
Walking Boosts Your Metabolism
Walking briskly not only burns calories but sets into motion many beneficial metabolic processes. Your body draws in more nutrients from your food and supplements. On the other end, so to speak, walking helps with elimination; cleansing the body of toxins. You’ll have more desire to drink water which also flushes the body of toxins leading to inflammation.
Tune Up Your Joints and Immune System
Walking for exercise (not strolling!) involves a rhythmic contraction of muscles along with an increased heart rate sending oxygenated blood, lymph and synovial fluid throughout the body. Synovial fluid is the lubricant for joints which declines with age but can be improved by walking. Not only are you improving your circulation but because your immune system travels through your body in your blood and lymph fluid, daily walking can improve your immune system and your general health.
Start Slowly to ‘Keep on Truckin’
If you’ve had previous injuries in joints like knees and hips or have a heart condition, speak to your doctor before starting your walking program. When you’re ready to go, start slowly. Start walking and time yourself for two minutes. Ask yourself how you felt. Were you winded? Did you want to stop? If you feel OK, try another two minutes or increase it to five. Studies have shown the real benefits come at 30 minutes a day but you don’t have to get there right away. If you have joint pain, you can split the 30 minutes into 10 minute intervals 3 times a day.
Yes, There is a “Right” Way to Walk
You can check your walking pattern in a full length mirror or have someone else check it out. Some things to watch for:
Knees pointing forward, hips are level
Both sides of body are symmetric; you’re not favoring one side – arms swing symmetrically
Steps are of equal length
Heel makes contact with the floor first
Stand tall – ears are directly above your shoulders, body is upright, you’re looking ahead not down
As a fitness instructor and wellness coach focusing on baby boomers and seniors, I’ve seen so many of my clients benefit from walking. They might be a little skeptical at first, but they quickly become hooked once they start feeling better. They even get cranky if they have to miss a day! They’re those people you see walking purposefully down the street; getting healthier with each step.
For more information on walking or other exercises for seniors, visit our website, www.lamondwellness.com or contact Betsy LaMond at