For decades now, walking has been accepted, as a highly beneficial form of exercise. Many doctors advise their patients to get a daily dose of exercise through walking, if not any other form of exercise. Indeed, there are many studies conducted on this topic, that prove that walking is truly beneficial for the overall health of a person. It helps with not just the physical health, but also the mental and emotional health of a person. A few studies have even claimed that walking can actually improve the lifespan of a person.
A few of the known benefits of walking are:
- Helps maintain body weight (helps reduce if overweight)
- Helps with heart health as it reduces bad cholesterol, and helps increase good cholesterol
- Relief from stress and anxiety
- Improved sleep, mood, and stamina
- Keeps your mental faculties alert
- Can help keep many aging-related issues at bay
There are many more benefits of walking and it is said that a person is expected to walk 10,000 steps a day for reaping for all these benefits. And that is the reason we have so many walk monitoring devices nowadays like Fitbit and other such Smartwatches that helps you track such data.
How much should seniors walk?
Walking is good, but how much walking should a senior do? What is a good enough regime to maintain? Walking is counted as moderate aerobic activity and as per NHS, the UK, seniors aged 65 or above should get at least 150 minutes of such activity every week. Unless you have been prohibited by your doctor not to walk for any specific reasons, walking is something which anyone can start at any age, without any harmful effects. Spread out the 150 minutes, uniformly across the week for better control and monitoring rather than do it once a week to finish the quota.
It is important to wear comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for walking before you embark. Walking can be done either in the morning or in the evening, depending on the convenience of time. If you are used to longer walks, you may even carry your water bottle with you to be on the safe side.
How fast should I walk?
Typically, one is expected to start walking slowly and then build up a pace and maintain the pace. A brisk walk is what is expected, mostly, to provide all the suggested benefits. In a brisk walk, one should ensure that the whole body is included, which means you should also try to swing your hands back and forth naturally as you walk.
This would normally be slightly faster than a stroll, but slower than a jog. The best way to determine if your speed is right is if you can still talk normally without sounding breathless, but may find it difficult to hold a tune! In fact, there are many Smartphone apps nowadays, that can tell you if your speed if right as well. You can download any of these and check out. A few of the apps you can check out are Simply Walking, Pedometer, Map my walk, etc. If you are inclined towards gadgets you could look up the fitness gadgets as well, which will also do the same work.
The other things to take into account
There are ways to motivate yourself into walking every day. You could use it as an excuse to socialize. Most neighbourhoods now have walking tracks in the parks or even within the housing communities and apartment complexes. You may find like-minded or same aged people to join you by forming a group. So, the walking can become your socializing as well. You could choose to set targets and celebrate when you any of you meet the same. The targets could be in terms of distances, the number of steps or time taken to cover a particular distance etc.