As you grow older, it is important to remain physically active. Research has shown that sedentary lifestyles can lead to lowered aerobic power and significant muscle loss. Any regular exercise, like walking, provides health benefits for seniors including a strong heart and a positive mental outlook. Older adults, especially women, may not think of themselves as athletes and that exercise is not for them. Walking is a great activity that is never too late to begin. Regular walking will increase your chances of being independent.
Loss of strength and endurance in older people is due to inactivity. Aerobic exercise is a key to reducing the risk of heart attack. Walking is an easy way for elderly people to increase strength and endurance and incorporate aerobic exercise into a sedentary lifestyle.
Benefits of Walking
People are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis as they get older, and walking can help slow the process of weakening bones. Walking can reduce the chances of developing clinical depression due to loneliness or other social problems. Walking allows older people to be independent and get involved in volunteer work or part-time work. Some of the benefits of walking are:
• Improved cardiovascular function with reduced chances of having a heart attack.
• Weight loss or controlled weight.
• Preventing and treating depression.
• Lower chances of becoming diabetic, and if you are diabetic, then walking has a positive impact in managing diabetes.
• Builds muscle strength and endurance.
• Builds and maintain stronger bones and muscles.
• Lower risk of developing high blood pressure, and helps in lowering blood pressure if you already have high blood pressure.
To get started, you just need a pair of good sturdy walking shoes, loose comfortable clothing, and Motivation! You might already have a good pair of shoes and comfortable clothing, and then you only need to motivate yourself by doing some of the things mentioned below:
• Wear a pedometer as a powerful reminder that each step counts.
• Count your steps using the pedometer.
• Choose different routes as the same route can get boring after some time. By focusing on the new route and its environment, you might even forget you are exercising!
• Listening to music when walking will make the exercise more enjoyable.
• To stay motivated try and find a walking buddy. You will not only have a walking buddy but also a companion who can go with you to the movies or sometimes on a vacation too.
• Find out if your neighborhood has a walking club – if you join the club, you will find more ways to socialize with your new friends.
• Choose the best time that works for you to make your walking exercise a success, otherwise you are likely to find excuses to avoid walking.
• Reward yourself when you achieve a new goal.
The following tips will ensure your safety while walking:
• Wear proper walking shoes that are skid resistant with good tread.
• Walk indoors if the weather is bad. If you have a home treadmill, you do not have to walk in bad weather.
• Walk on the sidewalk, and always cross the street at the pedestrian crossing.
• Avoid walking at night to avoid falls.
• Carry a cell phone and personal ID
• Have a medical alert device with you if you’re at risk of falls or fainting.
• Listen to your body and take a break when you are tired or your legs hurt.
Walking is an inexpensive form of exercise that has tremendous health benefits. With these tips, you are on your way to having fun while walking.
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