Doing physical activity is a vital part of healthy and blissful aging. Walking happens to be one such activity that acts as a boon for maintaining senior health. It can be easily done at any time of the day and at one’s pace without any financial investment and specialized equipment.
Clinical research reveals that walking daily or atleast five days a week for half an hour can positively impact both the physical and mental health of seniors. After all, it is a simple activity and is associated with relatively low risks as compared to other forms of rigorous exercise or physiotherapy which must be necessarily done under the supervision of trained professionals.
Walking also happens to be the preferred choice for people newly stepping to the exercising regime, are obese or are on the threshold of stepping into the age bracket of senior citizens. It can be done as a fun and fitness activity and is not merely restricted to being done alone in streets and parks. Seniors can take advantage of enrolling themselves in various clubs and venues and adopt strategies to incorporate it as an enjoyable part of their routines and simultaneously socialize with their peers too!
Walking – Health Benefits
Walking is essentially a weight-bearing exercise in disguise as you tend to carry your own bodyweight while walking. The various benefits of this low-impact exercise are enumerated below:
- Improves heart health as it substantially decreases the risk of cardiovascular and heart ailments. It also evades the probability of stroke attacks and is perhaps the best form of activity for sedentary adults.
- Promotes weight loss by burning calories and avoids obesity which happens to be the major cause of several chronic ailments and lifetime health conditions.
- Controls blood pressure and increases circulation in the body thereby improving the stamina. It is therefore particularly useful for seniors who suffer from hypertension.
- Helps in better management of various health problems like muscular and joint pain and stiffness and problems like diabetes by lowering the blood sugar.
- Makes the bones to become stronger and avoids loss of bone density thereby preventing osteoporosis, fractures and injuries.
- Enhances the balancing and co-ordination skills.
- Builds the muscle strength (particularly back and leg muscles) and body endurance.
- Decreases the visceral fat in the body and helps in regulating the blood lipid profile.
- Enhances the lung capacity and pulmonary fitness.
- Boosts the body resistance and immune function by releasing the white blood cells at a faster rate and catalyzing the activity of immune cells and natural killer cells.
- Protects the body from the attack of infections caused by various bacteria and viruses like common cold and flu.
- Increase the oxygen flow throughout the body by improving circulation and raises the energy levels by releasing hormones like cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
- Raises the self-esteem levels and reduces the signs of social withdrawal thereby preventing anxiety, depression and negativity promoting mental health.
- Augments the lifespan and extends the longevity of seniors by evading the risk factors of various diseases like cancer and heart attack.
- Clears the mind and encourages creative thinking through the free flow of ideas and thoughts and aids problem solving too.
- Maintains the health of the digestive system by lessening gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, constipation and even reduces the risk of colon cancer.
- Delays the onset of dementia which is a neurological disease characterized by memory loss and decline of cognitive functions.
- Reduces the pace of aging by preventing age-related health problems and maintaining genetic integrity.
- Promotes the production of Vitamin D which maintains bone strength and prevents cancer and multiple sclerosis.
- Improves productivity by changing the reaction to various stimuli by boosting memory and agility
- Promotes social support and networking.
Thus walking is a simple exercise but a great way to maintain fitness and improve the overall health of seniors.