Health and wellness have been at the forefront of many conversations this year. As worries about the COVID-19 pandemic continue, older adults everywhere are wondering how to strengthen their immune system. In most cases, a well-balanced diet, exercise, and quality sleep are essential components of a healthy lifestyle.
If you haven’t been exercising regularly, discuss walking with your physician. When the weather is nice, you can enjoy a walk around your neighborhood or local park. When it’s snowy or rainy, a treadmill might be the answer.
Health Benefits of Walking
While walking might not seem like exercise, it yields many health benefits for older adults. The Arthritis Foundation recommends it to help control the pain and symptoms of osteoarthritis. Other benefits of walking include:
- Weight management
- Diabetes control
- Stress reduction
- Improved circulation
- Stronger bones
- Increased muscle strength
- Better sleep
- Lowered Alzheimer’s risk
How much should you walk each day? Here’s what the experts say.
Walk Your Way to Better Health
The medical community often recommends 10,000 steps a day or 150 minutes a week of combined walking. Keep in mind 10,000 steps generally equates to about 5 miles.
If you are just starting out, however, setting a goal that high might be intimidating. Instead, begin by tracking how far you walk in a typical day. Once you have a baseline established, set small weekly goals to keep you moving closer to 10,000 steps.
A few ways to make walking more enjoyable are:
- Adopting a senior dog (or borrowing one!)
- Listening to music
- Finding a walking buddy
- Walking in different places each day
Senior-Friendly Fitness Trackers
How can you track your steps? There are a variety of devices available at many price points. Here are a few devices you can explore to track your daily steps:
- 3DFitBud: This simple-to-use pedometer will track steps in every direction—up, down, forward, and backward. It also features an extra-large digital display, which is easier on aging eyes. At $24.99, it’s inexpensive.
- Fitbit Charge 4 Fitness Tracker: This device does more than just count steps. It also has a real-time heart rate monitor and an inactivity monitor that alerts you if you’ve been sedentary too long. The backlit grayscale display and the touch screen are two senior-friendly features. The device can be purchased for about $150.
- Apple Watch 5 Series: A device that might appeal to seniors is an Apple watch. This series offers an electrocardiogram (ECG) system that can detect cardiac abnormalities, like atrial fibrillation. The watch also has a fall detection tool. Prices start at $399.
- Garmin Vivosmart 4 Fitness Tracker: Garmin trackers are also very popular. The long battery life, generally 7 days, is a nice benefit. Beyond tracking steps, the device also has a pulse OX sensor to measure oxygen, sleep tracker, inactivity alert, and calorie tracker. Cost ranges from $80 to $120.
Active Living at Heritage Senior Communities
At Heritage Senior Communities, residents have a wide variety of opportunities to engage in fitness programs every day. From gardening to walking and morning exercise groups, there is an activity for every interest and ability. Call the Heritage community nearest you to learn more!