BENEFITS OF WALKING
Most seniors are unable to keep a rigorous workout routine. You may not be aware that a brisk daily walk can have almost the same positive effect on your body as high impact exercise. Seniors who keep a brisk walking routine have lower weight, lower BMI, and benefit from better health outcomes.
Walking can be performed virtually anywhere. There is no need for a gym membership, at home exercise equipment, and expensive physical trainers. Walking is a low impact activity, so it does not put extra pressure on the joints. In fact walking does not have negative effects on almost any health conditions, so virtually anyone physically capable should do it. Nearly 80 percent of Americans do not get enough physical activity, according to the surgeon general and since walking helps prevent some many physical ailments we should all try to develop a routine.
One of the most important walking benefits is managing our weight. Numerous studies have shown that people following a daily walking routine are able to maintain a healthy weight longer than those who do not. Walking that is a bit more intense can help lower our blood pressure. Since our cerebral blood flow is improved when we walk, it’s a great way to prevent dementia. Walking is a weight baring exercise and helps prevent osteoporosis. Walking lowers blood sugar and helps prevent diabetes. There are heart benefits that come with walking, which deserve a separate article. With so many benefits we should all try to walk more. How do we develop a healthy walking routine? Here are a few tips.
Set a daily number of steps
Most studies recommend walking between 7500 and 10000 steps a day. There are plenty of electronic gadgets that can help you keep track. Apple watch, fitbit, or even a simply step counter. If you do not like wearing things on your wrist, or counting steps a good rule of thumb is to try walking briskly for an hour everyday. The good part is you do not need to walk the entire hour at one time, two half hour walk have exactly the same benefit.
Keep a walking log
Most people find that tracking your activity daily helps keep us motivated and engaged. Write down your goals and then stick with it. The way you track your walking routine does not matter. Monitor steps, time, and amount of times daily. Whatever makes most sense for you. The most important thing is to develop a tracker, set a goal, and then stick with it.
Increase incidental walking
Throughout the day there are plenty of opportunities for us to take a walk. Going out for milk, walking to neighbors, picking up a daily newspaper. Increasing our incidental walking can quickly increase step count without us even noticing. Its also a great way to get used to a walking routine and increase our love of walking in general.
Making it fun
There are numerous ways we can take boredom out of our walk. Bring along an ipod with your favorite songs, one of my personal favorites. Change the places where you are walking. Following the exact same path daily can spell boredom for many people. Changing up scenery can often brighten our moods and general disposition for the day. Walk through the city, in the forest, next to water. Before you know it you will love your daily walk.
Walking with friends
One of the best ways to make your walking routine enjoyable is to develop a walking group. This is a fantastic way to broaden your social circle while staying in great physical health and enjoying the many other benefits walking brings to your body. I usually find that walking with someone makes the time fly right by.
While walking does not require any financial investments, the one thing we should buy is a great pair of sneakers. Make sure to buy a great pair of walking shoes that are comfortable for you. A good pair of sneakers helps prevent blisters, sores, and general injuries. Remember, expensive sneakers do not equal good. Try on multiple pairs and make sure your foot is comfortable and has sufficient room.
We mentioned earlier that walking can help expand your social circle, but that’s not the only way it can be beneficial. You can walk daily with your pet, or have fun with the grandkids in the park. The important thing to remember that walking does not have to be a straight-line activity. Walking around the playground counts!
Curb stress eating
Walking is one of the best ways to kick your stress eating habits to the curb. It doesn’t work in isolation though. The ideal way to beat stress eating it to meditate, get good sleep and walk around 10,000 steps a day. Experts believe that stress eating is more often a symptom of an emotional or psychological problem. Walking releases endorphin into your system and reverses the cortisol levels in your body, helping you curb stress eating.