As we grow older, one of the most helpful things we can do for our well-being is to exercise regularly. Many age-related health issues can be avoided or delayed by keeping active. Focusing on exercises that help with muscular growth and managing our daily tasks independently is worthwhile. Some shoes are recommended to make this exercise comfortable. This post describes the best walking shoes for older adults, and it’s highly recommended to obtain the right pair for you before starting any workout.
That being said, let’s look at some of the reasons why walking for older adults in the first place. Please note that you should consult your doctor before starting any new exercise regime.
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Benefits of walking for seniors
Walking may be one of the most underrated forms of exercise.
1. Enhances heart health
Walking for seniors increases one’s metabolism, improves circulation and, by extension, helps heart health. An increase in the heart rate of individuals, especially older adults, lowers the risk of coronary heart disease, excessive blood pressure, and even high cholesterol.
2. It helps lower blood sugar
A 15-minute walk after eating has been demonstrated to lessen the blood sugar increase some older adults may experience after eating. When walking, the body utilizes insulin and blood sugar more efficiently for muscle building.
3. Helps reduce pain
Many studies report that walking for adults and other forms of exercise may help lessen the pain associated with chronic illnesses like arthritis. Some older ones endure lower back discomfort, and walking for as little as 20 minutes daily, three times weekly, can help build stronger back and abdominal muscles and relieve chronic back pain.
4. Benefits mental health
Walking routines help boost the mood of older adults by increasing blood circulation to the brain and body. This positively influences the central nervous system responsible for stress response.
Walking exercises also encourage the release of endorphins, which may improve mood, reduce anxiety, and give one a sense of well-being.
5. Improves the joints, muscles, and bones
Walking for seniors may seem to have a mild impact, but it works the entire body and is recommended for the muscles, bones, and joints. It may be done indoors or outdoors. The exerciser also gets to set their pace. For instance, they may walk steadily for more extended periods, quickly for shorter periods, up and down hills, or up and down a flight of stairs.
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) encourages older adults about 65 years old and over to engage in 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity movement each week.
To put this into perspective, adults 65 and above are advised to try the following to enjoy the walking benefits for seniors:
- A minimum of 150 minutes per week — for instance, 30 minutes per day, five days per week — of moderate-intensity exercise like brisk walking.
- Or 75 minutes weekly of intense action like jogging, running, or mountaineering.
- At least two days each week should be dedicated to muscle-building exercises.
- About three days each week, engage in balance-enhancing exercises like standing on one foot.
What you’ll need for your walk
We have established the importance of regular walks. But it’s important to know that wearing the right gear is essential too. This begins with wearing the right walking shoes. Most people prefer sneakers for walking exercises. If the shoes are new, try them to see that they fit correctly and comfortably.
Don’t let using a cane or walker deter you from taking walks, either. When you’re out and about, these walking aids can help you balance better and lessen the strain on your joints.
Talk to a healthcare provider if you’d like support but don’t have a cane or a walker. All walking aids require adjustment and should be adequately maintained. See a professional to guarantee you have the right fit and anything you need to make these exercises more comfortable.
Before you begin exercising by walking
We advise consulting a doctor before picking up any exercise routines if previously diagnosed with any medical condition. Seeing a doctor first is essential, even if the underlying medical condition doesn’t appear serious. They can suggest more appropriate activities to meet fitness and health demands, or they might recommend a professional trainer.
Almost everyone can engage in some form of exercise, but we recommend walking for older adults rather than more physically exerting activities. But before beginning, it’s best to see a health professional, as earlier advised. If there are no underlying medical conditions to worry about, we still recommend discussing with one to know the appropriate level of exercise they recommend. This is especially needed for people who have not worked out in a relatively long time.
If your physician is uncomfortable with the proposed exercises, ask if there are any suitable alternatives. Here are some questions you can ask:
- How can I safely exercise if I have high blood pressure, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease?
- How can I gradually increase my exercise?
- How can I control any lingering medical conditions, like arthritis?
- Are there any workouts I should stay away from?
- Could a condition, surgery, or injury affect how I work out?
Walking for seniors is hardly stressful if done right. But sometimes, you may experience specific symptoms when you begin. If so, consider consulting a health professional. Some of these symptoms include:
- Unanticipated weight loss
- Bruises that won’t go away
- Body pains
- Chest pain
- Respiration difficulty
Walking with a companion is also recommended. There are several advantages to walking with a friend or loved one. For instance, it is safer, makes the activity more fun, and one’s likely to walk longer distances when they have a friend to speak to. Also, it helps to remain faithful to a routine. Who wants to cancel on a friend?
One of the best markers of whether someone can live independently is their ability to walk unassisted. Regular exercise increases an older person’s ability to walk independently and perform tasks around the house.
Exercise regimes can be simple to be effective. Simple exercises like walking are ideal for older adults, and sticking with a routine can enhance walking older adults’ physical and mental well-being.