You probably mastered the art of walking as a child, but now that you’re a bit older, it’s time to revisit its benefits. Besides being free, other than a pair of shoes, walking is one of the simplest exercises that you can do. You might not think of walking as exercise if you do it all the time, but walking can be a great fitness program. Since you can start off slow, walking is the perfect choice for baby boomers.
New reports say that to maintain a healthy level of fitness as we grow older, daily activity must include 60 minutes of physical activity. If you’ve been sedentary for a good number of years, this can be a frightening thought. Walking for one hour, even for someone who has been sedentary, doesn’t seem as scary as other fitness programs might.
There are many activities that you can perform at different fitness levels and get great results. Walking is one of those exercises.
For seniors, walking is an exercise that can grow with you as you increase your activity level. Your walking program may begin with a Sunday stroll in the park, but then your walking regimen will grow and have a purpose – to get fit.
Here are a few benefits of walking:
- Improved cardiovascular endurance
- Proper posture
- Improved mood
- Weight loss
- Improved sleep
- Increased muscle tone
Walking can be done most anywhere and at just about any time. You may want to begin in a mall with other early morning walkers. There may be a track at your local high school or university. You can go out in the rain or cold as long as you wear proper gear and walk flat paths for safety. Walking is a very versatile exercise program. Just keep your shoes with you so whether you’re on vacation or a business trip you can go on your walk.
Start at a pace that you can maintain and still hold a conversation. This will be faster than a stroll but you won’t be race-walking either. Start with a half mile or a mile walk. As you walk faster you can walk farther as a way of continually challenge yourself.
As you get more fit and start to look for greater fitness challenges, move off the track or mall and onto walking paths that have hills. Walking up and down hills will not only improve your muscle strength, but your heart and lungs will get a good workout, too. If you live in a neighborhood that has nice sidewalks and streets, choose your path and take a walk. Call a friend to join you and enjoy your walk even more!
Walking is a great avenue toward better health for seniors. It is an activity that is easily customized. You can vary your terrain, vary your speed, and walk farther to challenge yourself and make your fitness program more effective. Just make sure to invest in a pair of good shoes and you’re on your way.