The Benefits of Walking

judy and johnny walking in a sunlit park

Walking is the best wonder drug for senior citizens. The National Institute on Aging suggests that regular aerobic activity such as walking has health benefits across the board for older Americans. The advantages of walking as exercise include alleviation of arthritis symptoms, less anxiety, depression, and overall better heart health, among other perks.

The secret to a successful walking program is choosing a sensible plan and sticking to it. Don’t be overly ambitious. The big benefits of walking come over time. Tailor your time and energy output to an appropriate level for your age and health status. Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that older Americans engage in moderate to mild aerobic exercise for at least 2.5 hours per week. Spread out over seven days that translates into about 20 minutes a day. This guideline is not a hard and fast rule, however. Choose what’s right for you and build your walking program at your own pace.

When you walk, make sure that you warm yourself up at an easy pace. Then keep a steady pace that keeps your heart rate up, but not too high. If you are feeling up to it, carry some light weights to keep some extra calorie burn. Then make sure you cool down too. Getting your heart rate back down at an easy pace is gentler on your circulatory system.

Walking gives your entire system a boost and can be a key part of a healthy and independent senior lifestyle. For best results, be reasonable and realistic when starting your walking routine. The idea is to give yourself the benefits of exercise while learning your limits and getting to know your own body.