Walking is a simple yet highly effective form of exercise. It really is good for anybody of any age, though it is particularly great for senior citizens.
Since most of the aging folk are relatively unable to engage in other strenuous physical activities, walking is a good way of ensuring that they keep fit. The good news is you are simply never too old to get started.
Engaging in a few minutes of walking at an opportune time helps to keep the muscles strong and active. It also supports the health development of bone, and promotes better functions of the joints.
But, the significant benefits of walking, for seniors, are that it keeps the cardiovascular system healthy, and promotes longevity. Now for anyone that just has to be a very good thing.
As a form of exercise, walking is the simplest form of fitness workout.
This is because it can be done at a reasonably low aerobic capacity and at a certain speed that a person is most comfortable with, be it fast or slow.
Mobility drops as we age and most seniors just opt to sit rather than stay up and moving. Now of course that does not apply to everyone, but it is a habit that some older people develop.
For seniors, walking is important even if it is done use assisting devices such as walkers or canes. As an exercise, walking should not be a thing done for a few seconds, or even a few minutes.
The ideal time should be around 20 -30 minutes of walking, and this should be not less than three times per week. The bottom line though is that any amount of walking is better than none.
Here is a video which gives some tips to seniors on walking, as well as stretching and yoga.
The Aging Process
Aging can deal a heavy blow to our bodies. For seniors, they feel like their bodies are slowing shutting down thus making daily activities harder to accomplish.
There is no doubt that as we age, things that we would have done quickly in our youth, can often take longer to do and are more draining. That does not mean that we should stop doing them.
Finding a simple way to engage the body in fitness and get those joint moving, muscles twitching, and the heart racing is good.
The only issue of concern is walking while in the right gear, avoiding overexerting their efforts, and going for a walk when the conditions are right.
With this in mind, the following walking tips highlight the necessary things that seniors should do to ensure that they realize the full benefits of walking.
Top Tips for Walking
- It is vital to be in the right gear; from the footwear to the clothes. It is vital to pay attention to the feet as well as the rest of the body. Flat-soled shoes are the ideal choice and the clothes should help with keeping the body warm.
- It is important to have a routine for the walking session though walking is not complex. It is a natural body response. Planning for the routine should include accounting for the weather. Walking in cold or very hot weather is not advisable. Cold weather may cause numbness while very hot weather may increase the rate of respiration, both having a negative impact on the objectives of walking
- Still on the issue of having a routine; it is necessary for the seniors to identify a suitable place to walk. The park is a good option; it has enough space. More so, it has people around; thus, the senior can get assistance in case of any emergency.
- If the walk is through a certain route, it should be a route that a close family member or friend knows. It is advisable for the senior to have some company when going for the walk; it can be a relative or close friend.
- Joining a walking club is a great way of ensuring a senior gets to enjoy the activity amid peers with the same needs and age group.
- Seniors will have a low response to shock due to uneven ground because of the aging joints and muscles. As such, they should walk on flat surfaces. They should avoid very grassy grounds or grounds that have very loose soil such as sand or fine gravel
- If the walking sessions are during sundown, they should be done in well-lit areas preferably places that have people around
- Since it is a form of exercise, it should start with a warm-up session and end with a cool down. Stretching is a good way to start things because it will activate the muscles of the walk, get the blood and heart going, and decrease the buildup of lactic acid
- Getting a physical before starting a walking program is very important. Moreover, the senior’s doctor should be involved in the creation of the walking program; this ensures the program as a safe starting point
- It is important that pay attention to what the body will be saying during the walk. Any physical pain is an indication of an underlying problem that should be resolved before engaging in walking. Nevertheless, cases of mild discomfort can be common especially during the first few sessions as the muscles, joints, bones, and general body system as get accustomed to exercises. It is important to know the difference between pain and discomfort.
- As is with any exercise, the first session should start slow and then thing build up slowly from there; the senior can try to amp up things as walking becomes easier and the session can last longer than 30 minutes with tiring the body. Adding new challenges such as increasing the pace, adding an extra day, or even climbing a hill are suitable options. It is vital for seniors to avoid overexerting themselves even if they feel that grown stronger physical. Any new challenge of goal in should be within the approval of a health care provider.
- For seniors that use assisting devices such as canes and walkers, they need someone to accompany them for a walk. In some cases, seniors that experience episodes of weakness should go for a stroll using a cane or the popular walking poles.
- Staying hydrated is important, especially if the weather is a bit hot. Carrying a bottle of plain clean water is the best option. However, doing natural energy drinks as approved by the doctor is also fine because they will help keep the body energy level up during the walk.
- Each session should end with a cool down routine. Instead of just sitting after the walk, doing stretches will be a good way of helping the body wind down.
- Keeping track of the health progress is important to help identify the various positive gains and necessary adjustments that should be introduced. Again, this should be done under the instructions of a health care provider.