Walk the Walk: Benefits of Walking for Seniors
National Walking Day is April 5th, and with spring quickly approaching, now’s the time to prioritize walking more throughout the day. While you may think a daily walk doesn’t do much, that preconceived notion couldn’t be any further from the truth! Walking daily can help strengthen muscles, maintain a healthy weight, and keep your joints flexible – and that’s just the beginning. The benefits of walking extend even deeper into our physical and mental health. Let’s take a closer look at why it’s especially important for older adults to walk daily.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
The most significant benefit of a daily walk is a healthy heart. Countless studies have linked a daily walking routine with lower risks of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, strokes, and cardiac arrest. “Even small amounts of walking each week have been shown to reduce these risks by around 15% to 20%. Meanwhile, studies of daily walking regimens have shown a 30% to 50% reduction in participants’ risk of cardiac arrest.”
Lower Blood Sugar
It’s normal for your blood sugar to increase after a meal, and a fifteen-minute walk can naturally reduce those blood sugar levels while strengthening your muscles. Moderate exercise like walking requires your body to use more of the glucose in your bloodstream. Over time, this can help you to naturally maintain a lower blood sugar level. It also makes the insulin work more efficiently in your body.
Walking is an ideal, low-impact exercise for seniors that will reduce ongoing pain. While that might sound odd initially, avoiding exercise can worsen your pain. If you consistently experience joint pain, walking can lubricate your joints and help strengthen the muscle, alleviating some of the pain you experience. Walking can also reduce lower back pain and can aid older adults in maintaining a full range of motion as they age.
Improves Mental Health
Walking increases blood flow and circulation throughout your body and brain while releasing endorphins that naturally boost your mood and reduce anxiety. While walking increases your overall energy levels, it can also enhance your sleep – which we all know improves your state of mind. Additionally, you can walk with a friend or family member for some more social interaction. This not only boosts your overall mood, but also lowers seniors’ risk of depression, loneliness, and other mood disorders.
Make Walking Part of Your Routine at UMC The Shores
While it might be hard to start at first, you can’t deny the strong benefits walking has on our physical and mental health. We assure you won’t regret starting this habit, and your body will be thankful you did. UMC at The Shores offers daily exercise classes and has a beautiful campus to walk around – both inside and out! In our community, meeting a few friends for a walk has never been easier. With everything you need right outside your door, you can live abundantly and without worry.