The Benefits of Walking for Seniors
If you need inspiration for your next walk, consider the words of Henry David Thoreau: “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” Although walking is an ordinary activity that people tend to master at a young age, the benefits of walking for seniors are numerous and varied. They are mental, physical, and emotional. Why should you consider developing a walking habit?
Walking Is Accessible
Walking doesn’t require fancy equipment or excellent qualifications. It’s an affordable activity that can be done safely by people of all ages and almost all fitness levels. That makes it an ideal activity for beginners and experts alike. Plus, there’s minimal cost involved to participate, so there’s no economic restriction that might turn people away.
Walking Is Ideal for Socializing
Many people prefer to work out in group settings. They may need the pull of others to keep them accountable or desire the rush of positivity that comes from being part of a team. However, seniors sometimes find it harder to locate appealing team activities. Walking is ideal. It’s a safe way to be active in a group. Plus, it offers a chance to socialize as you stroll. Since maintaining socialization is important for protecting cognitive function as you age, walking with a partner or group allows you to get double the benefit from your activity.
Walking May Protect Cognition
When blood flow to the brain slows, so does cognition. Aging and a sedentary lifestyle can both contribute to slower blood flow to the brain. While you may have to get older, you don’t have to simply accept that blood is flowing more slowly to your brain. The New York Times reports that middle-aged and older people who started walking regularly were able to raise the blood flow to their brains back to a healthy level, boosting their cognition and memory.
Walking Helps Maintain a Healthy Weight
Physical activity works muscles and burns calories. These are essential tasks if you want to fire up your metabolism and maintain a healthy weight. Whether you have a few extra pounds that you’d like to lose or simply want to be able to enjoy the foods you love, walking is a great tool to help you manage your weight.
Walking Leads to Better Sleep
Walking is a fantastic way to burn energy. It can also be a wonderful reason to get outside and enjoy the feel of the sunlight, which can help you get some vitamin D and set your body clock properly. With regular exercise and time outdoors, you are less likely to struggle with insomnia. In fact, you may find that you enjoy deeper, more restful sleep.
Walking Improves Cardiovascular Health
Regular walks are linked to healthier hearts. Seniors who walk tend to enjoy lower blood pressure, better circulation, and better blood circulation. That leads to a reduced risk of cardiovascular troubles, diabetes, and strokes.
Walking Can Boost Mood
“The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk,” according to clinical psychologist Dr. Jacqueline Schiff. However, you don’t need to be a doctor to recognize that walking, like other forms of exercise, can lift your mood. After all, exercise is known to release endorphins, chemicals that serve as natural mood boosters. Walking can help manage stress and combat anxiety so that you feel better equipped to face whatever life throws at you.
The benefits of walking for seniors are numerous, so it’s easy to understand why so many older adults are eager to get started. Whether you want to go alone, with a partner, or as part of a walking group, it’s important to be smart. Always talk with your doctor before starting any new fitness activity. Plan your route, and take a cell phone and ID with you on your adventures. Finally, have fun.
Are you looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? Check out Hearthside Senior Living in Collierville and Bartlett. Our warm and inviting communities make it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle, with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and a nurse devoted to residents’ health and wellness. We would be happy to schedule a tour for you so that you can explore the community, speak with the Community Director, meet some of the residents, and ask any questions you might have. To learn more about our amenities and services, please call 901-266-3329 (Bartlett) or 901-854-6590 (Collierville). We look forward to meeting you!