Walking is one of the easiest, and best, group activities you can do. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes, some friends and a few walkable paths nearby. In fact, when done as part of a daily routine, walking for seniors is one of best low-intensity workouts available, without all the wear and tear on your joints.
Nine Health Benefits of Walking for Seniors
- Improved heart health: Taking a daily walk is a great way to take care of your heart health by lowering both your blood pressure and percentage of body fat. It can also help keep your blood sugar in check.
- Weight loss: If you’re overweight, scheduling a regular walk with friends will help you stay motivated and maintain a healthier weight.
- Improved immunity: Physical activity — like walking — can help boost your immune system. Walking for seniors has even been shown to reduce the risk of developing chronic illness, including certain types of cancer.
- Longer, healthier life: Walking has been linked to a longer lifespan and overall better health for older adults.
- Stronger bones, muscles and joints: Walking is a great exercise for seniors because it’s a whole-body workout that’s also low impact. Studies have shown that regular walking can help reduce the loss of bone mass (osteoporosis); reduce the risk of hip fractures; and significantly reduce (or even prevent) arthritis pain.
- Improved sleep: Researchers have discovered that women between the ages of 50 and 75 who walked each morning were much less likely to experience insomnia than those who didn’t go for walks.
- Decreased cognitive decline and dementia: Studies have shown that older people who regularly walked reduced their chances of experiencing mental decline and dementia than those who didn’t walk.
- Mental health boost: The endorphins released during physical activity create a sense of well-being and boost your mood to help you feel more positive and happier.
- Improved social life: Whether you walk with a group of friends or simply just chat with your neighbors as you pass by, walking is a great way to meet new people and develop friendships.
Five Walking Tips for Seniors
- Take it easy: If it’s been a while since you’ve done a lot of walking, don’t do too much too soon. Instead, give your body time to rest as you build up the distance, intensity and number of walks you take each week.
- Have a pack mentality: If you’re someone who enjoys the company of others or likes to make their workouts more engaging, it might be a good idea to find a walking partner or even join a local walking group.
- Be properly equipped: Walking is one of the exercises you can do that doesn’t require a gym membership or a lot of fancy equipment, but you may want to consider having a few items on hand: Walking shoes are designed to offer good support, comfort and traction. Be sure you always have a bottle of water to help stay hydrated. Wear comfortable clothes for walking. To track your steps, consider downloading an app for your smartphone or using a pedometer.
- Pick your path: As you decide where to walk, here are some things to consider. Even ground — like sidewalks and walkable paths in a park — may pose less of a fall risk but they can put a heavy strain on your knees and joints. Dirt, sand and grass surfaces are usually softer and more comfortable on the joints but you have to watch out for holes and trip hazards. Specialized tracks for walkers and runners use a rubber-like material that’s much softer and springier than concrete. Natural walking trails may provide better stability but you still need to watch your step. Adding in hills and stairs can help build your strength and fitness.
- Pay attention to your body: If your muscles are too sore or you’re feeling off, it may be time to have a rest, rather than push through it.
Senior Living Communities are Perfect for Walking
One of the best things about walking as an exercise for seniors is that all you have to do is open your front door and you can go anywhere. Of course, some areas are better suited for a walk than others. Because senior living neighborhoods are designed for older adults, they are a great place to walk. Not just because they usually have walkable paths or parks, but because they tend to be self-contained communities where everything is within walking distance. As a result, these communities offer a great way to start incorporating more walking into your daily routine.
Our Lifestyle is Built on Wellness
At Eagle Senior Living we believe in the importance of staying active as part of living a healthier and happier life. That’s why our wellness programs focus on nutrition, lifelong learning, physical activity and community involvement. We also feature an activity calendar full of clubs, organizations, classes and social opportunities. To learn more about Eagle Senior Living or to find a community near you, use our community locator.