Age-related changes can make it difficult for seniors to exercise regularly. Reduced mobility, a fear of injury, and a lack of confidence can make exercise unappealing. There is one form of exercise that is suitable for most seniors: walking.
Walking is great for most seniors because there is a low risk of injury. They can easily vary the intensity of their workout by how quickly they walk, and it’s easy to get started. Here are a few ways walking can help seniors stay healthy as they age.
6 Ways Walking Leads to Healthier Aging
- Reduces the risk of falls
Falling is a common concern for older adults. Not only are seniors at a higher risk for falls, but they are also more likely to sustain a fatal injury from falling.
Walking has been shown to help seniors prevent falls by improving their balance and coordination. It also helps improve their physical health by improving the flexibility of their joints and strengthening their muscles and bones. This can help decrease the severity of an injury in the event of a fall.
- Helps seniors control their blood pressure
With age often comes a rise in blood pressure.
Walking and other forms of exercise can strengthen the heart, making it more efficient at pumping blood. Regular walking has even been shown to be as effective as some medications in regulating blood pressure.
- Reduces the risk of a heart attack
Many seniors struggle to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Over time, bad cholesterol causes plaque buildup in the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack.
Walking can help seniors by increasing the amount of good cholesterol in the blood while simultaneously reducing the amount of bad cholesterol. As a result, their risk of having a heart attack decreases.
- Lowers blood sugar
Older adults are more susceptible to poor blood sugar control after they eat. Their blood sugar rises to unhealthy levels.
Walking after a meal has been shown to reduce the spike in blood sugar. This allows the body to use the blood sugar efficiently.
- Boosts mental health
Walking, as well as other forms of exercise, releases hormones called endorphins. These hormones reduce your perception of pain while heightening positive feelings.
This means that walking has the ability to improve your mood, reduce feelings of depression, lessen anxiety, and lower stress.
- Helps seniors maintain their weight
As your age increases, your metabolism decreases. This makes older adults more susceptible to weight gain.
Walking, combined with healthy eating, can help seniors maintain their weight by burning more calories than they consume.
Older adults need 150 minutes of exercise per week. That number may seem overwhelming, but breaking your walking sessions up over the course of a week can make the figure more manageable.
Many adults find that walking for 30 minutes five days a week works well. Others find success breaking up their walks into three 10-minute walks per day.
Seniors can benefit from walking regardless of how they incorporate it into their schedule. The most important thing is that they find a way to stick with it.
Independence Plus Support at Heritage Senior Communities
The ability to maintain a home can become a real struggle as you grow older. If you or a senior loved one is having trouble, it might be time to explore local assisted living communities.
In addition to providing assistance with daily tasks, Heritage Senior Communities provide opportunities for seniors to remain active, including a daily exercise schedule. Contact us today to schedule a tour.