According to the website www.companionsforseniors.com regular walking can assist seniors to:
1. Improve cardiovascular health
Studies have repeatedly shown that routine walking can help improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and help ward off signs of cardiovascular disease.
2. Fight diseases
Walking is a natural way to give your immune system a major boost. One major study of 1000 adults found that those who walked just 20 minutes per day, five days a week, experienced 43 percent fewer sick days than those who did not. Similarly, walking has been shown to reduce your likelihood for developing chronic illness, including certain types of cancer.
3. Strengthen bones, muscles, and joints
While it is fairly low impact, walking is still a whole body workout, offering benefits to your muscles, bones, and joints, all at once. Walking is a way to lubricate your joints, which need regular activity to stay functional. At the same time, the motions of walking help strengthen your supportive muscles and bones. Indeed, studies have shown that regular walking can help reduce the loss of bone mass during osteoporosis; reduce the risk of suffering hip fractures; and significantly reduce arthritis pain.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
A Harvard research study of more than 12,000 individuals found that those who walked briskly for about an hour a day were significantly less likely to experience the effects of 32 common obesity-promoting genes. Similarly, recent research has suggested that regular walking can help curb your sweet tooth, leading to reduced cravings and intake of unhealthy, sugary sweets.
5. Improve sleep habits
It may be easier to catch a few “z’s” at night if you take a walk in the early morning. Some research has shown that that those who walked each morning were a lot less likely to experience insomnia than those who didn’t go for walks.
6. Give your mood a boost
Going for a walk can be a powerful way to improve your mental health and well-being. Studies have found a direct connection between mood and walking. In short, the more steps a person took per day, the more positive their attitude and outlook. One major reason behind the connection could be that walking helps naturally release endorphins and promote circular breathing, leading to positive emotional benefits.
7. Foster social connections
When you go out and walk around, you’re much more likely to connect with others, whether that means joining a local walking club, or simply chatting with neighbours as you go down the block.
With such worthwhile benefits, why not get started today! Our top 5 tips for getting up off the couch and onto the walking path are:
1. Ensure you have a good set of walking shoes. This will minimise the risk of discomfort or possible injury.
2. Set some goals. For example you could start off with trying to walk every day for 10 minutes either before or after breakfast.
3. Walk with friends. Instead of meeting for coffee and cake, why not get together for a walk and a chat.
4. Listen to music or a podcast. This can make your walking time enjoyable and informative!
5. Buy or adopt a dog. A furry friend is a great motivator to get out and about each day for a regular walking session.
If you are still seeking a bit more inspiration, the remarkable Bert Le-Merton can provide it by the bucket-load! At the amazing age of 102, Bert, a WWII Veteran, is also an ambassador for the Soldier On organisation. Working with them since August 2020, he has walked over 400km as part of their ‘March On’ challenge and raised over $110,000. Bert’s favourite saying, ‘you need to use it or lose it’ certainly rings true!