Stepping out and walking can be a great form of exercise no matter what age you are. However, if you’re one of the many residents who live in one of the independent living facilities in Bountiful, then you should know exactly what kind of benefits can come with walking on a routine basis.
As it turns out, lacing up those sneakers and going for a stroll isn’t just food for the body, it’s good for the mind as well, helping to improve mood and even combat symptoms of anxiety and depression.
To learn more about why you should step out and get walking, keep reading below!
1.) Work Off Extra Weight
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, walking can be a great place to start. For seniors, more strenuous exercises can be out of the question, especially depending on mobility and other health factors. However, for many individuals, a simple walk is something that is manageable.
Walking is great cardio exercise, meaning that it elevates the heart rate and gets blood pumping faster. When this happens, you are burning more calories. The more calories you burn, the more weight you lose! Walking is also a great option for those who have joint pain, as it is low impact. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can make a huge difference!
2.) Reduce Risk of Chronic Disease
Not only can walking help you lose weight, but it can also help to lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. These can include diabetes and heart disease, two conditions that are known to have a huge, negative impact on seniors. Walking also is a recommended method to help someone lower their blood sugar levels. This will also play a part in decreasing their overall risk of diabetes.
If this is something you want to shoot for, try to lengthen your walks on occasion. This does not have to be each and every day or each time you go out for a walk, but opting for an hour-long walk even once weekly will put you well on your way of decreasing the risk of developing a chronic disease. Take the scenic route this time around and that will help increase the duration of your walk.
3.) Make Your Heart Stronger
Did you know that walking can help you strengthen your heart? No, we’re not talking about in the sense that you won’t cry the next time you watch ‘Old Yeller’, but rather, it can help to strengthen the physical condition of your heart, which is especially important as we age.
Even just 30 minutes of light walking every day can work to decrease your chances of developing heart disease. The longer you walk, the more those chances decrease as well. Walking also improves your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which leads to overall bolstered heart health.
4.) Eases Joint Pain
Arthritis and other issues around joint pain can be difficult to deal with, especially come the winter time when the lower temps make the symptoms even worse. Feeling stiff and stuck is not only painful, but it can certainly slow you down and prevent you from doing the things you want. Thankfully, walking is a low-impact exercise and can even help to ease joint pain over time.
In fact, walking helps to protect your joints by strengthening the muscles around them. As an example, your hamstring and your quadricep are muscles that are located around your knees. If you can build these two muscles up and strengthen them from walking, then you can help to reduce chronic joint pain.
However, if you are someone who has regular or chronic joint pain, it is important to consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise program or routine. Safety is always the most important thing to consider!
5.) A Mental Health Boost
Are you one of the thousands of Americans who suffer from a condition known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD? SAD is better known by its nickname, ‘ the winter blues’, and does not discriminate on demographics. From children to seniors, SAD is very common and sets in when the days become shorter and the air colder, specifically after the time change occurs and the sun sets before dinnertime.
However, walking can actually help! Walking can work to modify your nervous system in such a way that it decreases the feelings of depression, anxiety, and even anger. Being outdoors and in the sunlight can be especially uplifting to seniors who live in independent living facilities in Bountiful. Vitamin D from the sun is also an excellent way to boost your mood and immune system.
If walking outdoors isn’t possible because of cold temperatures or inclimate weather, grab a friend and walk the hallways together for a little while. It will be amazing how fast a walk will go by when you’re having a quality conversation with a loved one.
Check the Activity Calendar
If you are a resident at one of the independent living facilities in Bountiful, odds are that your community has an activity calendar available. Here at Barton Creek, we have a very robust and diversified calendar of activities that you can choose from each and every day. And great news: this does include group walking!
Not only that, but there is an exercise group available several times a week as well as other fun options to get you moving, such as Wii bowling and balloon volleyball.
Walking might be considered a simple exercise, but it should not be underestimated. As humans, we aren’t designed to sit still all day, and walking, even as we age, has a huge host of health benefits. So the next time you have a chance, grab your sneakers and a friend and go for a little stroll. Try doing this on a regular basis and document any improvements that you see. Remember to start off slow and work your way up! And as always, if you have any questions or concerns, be sure to consult your doctor.