Watching the decline of my parents accentuated to me the importance of maintaining mobility as we age. Once an older person is confined to a walker or wheelchair, they begin to deteriorate rapidly. It’s astounding to see people, much younger than myself, scooting around Walmart on electric carts. Some have legitimate reasons like a disability but others are obese and lazy. A simple routine of walking daily for 30 minutes would not only take off extra weight but will set you on a course for a healthier and happier life.
Walking daily keeps you alive
When an elderly or disabled person is admitted to a rehab facility after an illness or surgery, one of the first things a physical therapist will do is try to get the patient to stand up and walk. It may only be a couple of steps at first. The therapist will then have the patient increase the number of steps until he or she is able to walk easily on their own or with the assistance of a cane.
Healthy Baby Boomers stay mobile
If you haven’t gone for a stroll in a while, or you’re recovering from something that’s caused you to be sedentary, start slowly. You don’t have to run a 5K. Walk for a few minutes every day and gradually increase the time to 30 minutes or more. Walking daily for 30 minutes will do wonders for your overall health and is relaxing.
Take a two-mile walk every morning before breakfast.
~Harry S Truman
Keep moving and groovin’ for these 9 reasons:
- It’s Easy on Your Bones – You can power walk, run or jump, but if you’re over 50, an easy daily walk will give you multiple benefits. There’s no need to over-exert yourself. Wear comfortable and supportive shoes to avoid putting a strain on your joints and bones. Have your feet checked out by a podiatrist to determine if you need orthotics, or if you have any other problems that will inhibit your ability to walk. Corns, bunions, ingrown toenails, etc can make walking uncomfortable but are simple to treat.
- Increases Circulation – Being up on your feet and moving around allows your blood to flow freely and will decrease any pain you have caused by bad circulation. This is especially true for those who have peripheral artery disease or atherosclerosis.
- Keeps Your Heart Pumping – The heart is a muscle that becomes stronger and healthier with regular exercise. When you commit to walking daily your heart will become more efficient, and it will bring more oxygen and nutrients to your organs.
- Lowers Blood Sugar – Taking an evening walk after dinner (usually the largest meal of the day) has been shown to reduce blood sugar. You can also try taking a short walk after each meal. Your pancreas will thank you. The pancreas manufactures digestive enzymes and hormones that turn your food into energy. It also regulates how your body uses blood sugar when you walk.
- Strengthens Your Lower Back – A 2003 study in The Spine Journal showed that 10 min of treadmill walking at a self-selected speed led to a reduction in the level of back pain.
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety – Walking is meditative. If you feel nervous, go for a walk and enjoy the scenery. Take your dog along with you (if you have one) Pets need exercise too.
- Helps You Maintain a Healthy Weight – Although simple walking won’t make a dramatic change in your weight, it will burn calories and help you to maintain it. Calorie reduction is what will cause you to lose weight and walking will help you feel better.
Make sure to take a 30-minute walk or short walking bursts every day.
Are you walking daily? Please leave a comment.