If you’re an older adult looking for tips to maintain good physical health, you might be thinking high-impact workouts are the only way to get good results. But simple exercises such as walking can also be effective and easier to incorporate into your daily routine (however, be sure to speak to your doctor to ensure it’s right for you). Discover the power of walking and its many benefits for senior health.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
If you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight, add walking to your exercise routine. This simple physical activity is an easy way to burn calories and shed extra pounds. If you walk briskly for 30 minutes a day, “you could burn about 150 more calories,” per Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. of the Mayo Clinic. If you want to increase the amount of calories you burn, you could also speed up your walking pace or increase the duration.
Reducing the Risk of Falls and Injuries
An easy way to prevent falls or reduce the chance of experiencing serious fall-related injuries is to walk. It may seem counterintuitive to walk if you’re afraid of falling, but this form of movement can help you increase your range of motion, strengthen your core, lower body muscles, calves and bones — all of which play a vital part in helping keep your body upright if you trip or lose your balance. Stronger muscles and bones mean that if you do experience a fall, your injuries also may not be as severe.
Boosting Mood and Reducing Stress
Do you know why so many people suggest that you take a walk to “clear your head” after a stressful day? That’s because one of the benefits of walking is the release of endorphins, your body’s “happy” hormone. Endorphins “activate opioid receptors in the brain that help minimize discomfort… [and increase] feelings of euphoria and general well-being.” explains J. Kip Matthews, Ph.D, a sport and exercise psychologist.
Endorphins are also the reason some experience the exhilarating “runner’s high” after they run. But you don’t have to exert yourself this hard just to feel good. Next time you want to destress or need help feeling more positive, take a walk around your neighborhood.
Improving Sleep Quality
When you are physically active during the day, it can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Although studies are still being conducted on the exact correlation between exercise and sleep, one major theory is that exercises such as walking stimulate your body to release melatonin earlier in the evening, helping you feel tired and more receptive to falling asleep at night.
Enhancing Social Interactions and Reducing Loneliness
It’s common for older adults to experience some loneliness after retiring. For example, if you are no longer regularly visiting a workplace and your children have grown up and moved away, your opportunities to interact with others daily may be limited.
One way to create a bigger social circle is to find people who share the same hobbies, interests and goals. Walking is a great way to meet other people who share your passion for exercise or want to improve their health. Join a walking group in your neighborhood or ask your friends if they’d like to explore a local community. You can walk together to brunch, a movie theater or a cute boutique.
Stay Active and Engaged at Claridge Court
At Claridge Court it’s easy to stay active and engaged each day. Not only can you create your own wellness plan to improve your physical and mental health, you can also join our diverse range of fitness classes, walk around our beautiful campus, explore our gardens or attend seasonal events in the local Prairie Village community and surrounding areas. Discover more about the Claridge Court retirement lifestyle when you contact us.