Why Walking Is So Good for Your Health
Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health—at any age. Exercise can combat health conditions, control weight, and even improve mood.
However, the type of exercise you choose matters, especially as you age. For older adults, low-impact exercises are best because they put less strain on joints and minimize injury, while still providing the mind and body with many benefits. That’s what makes walking the perfect exercise for older adults!
Walking is Good for Your Body
Exercise is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle, and becomes an even bigger factor as you grow older, as it helps ward off age-related health conditions that could lead to premature death.
Walking lowers blood pressure and slows the heart rate. Both are important elements in reducing the risk of heart disease . Walking also helps boost the body’s ability to process glycogen, an energy fuel, and control excess blood sugars to aid in preventing diabetes . In addition, walking is a great way to maintain a healthy weight and can protect the body from chronic inflammation , a factor in the negative effects of many diseases and health conditions.
Even if you haven’t exercised much in the past, the benefits are still possible. By becoming fit later in life, you can cut your risk of having a stroke in half .
Walking is Good for Your Mind
Once you begin a walking routine, you may notice how your physical health improves. Your doctor or care team may comment on your health improvements. Similarly, your friends and family may notice a change in your mood and mental well-being.
Walking on a regular basis may expand the size of the brain’s hippocampus, which is responsible for memory. Walking also can enrich sleep quality and reduce depression —definite pluses since sleep issues and depression are common in older adults. Research even suggests that walking can improve mild cognitive impairment , which, while not dementia, is a medical condition that leads to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. These are just a few of the many reasons why walking benefits brain health.
Additionally, walking with a friend provides a great way to socialize and enhance your emotional health. Its steady pace allows you to carry on a conversation.
Add Walking Into Your Wellness Routine
Just like adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet to reap the nutritional benefits, incorporate walking into your lifestyle to help increase physical health and overall wellness.
Speak with your doctor about a walking regimen that’s best for you, including how long and how often, and then set a walking schedule and commit to it. Regardless of the weather, you’ll be able to exercise—either indoors or outdoors. So, mark it on your calendar as an appointment, and treat it with that level of importance so you stick to your plan.
To keep yourself motivated as you build walking into your wellness routine, mark your progress on your calendar by checking a box or giving yourself a gold star. As you note your progress, your health and wellness will increase and you’ll start noticing changes in your body and mind. In no time, you will see how walking is so good for your health!