Older Americans Month and the Benefits of Walking

May 12, 2017
Tagged with: Older Americans Month and the Benefits of Walking

In our modern world, most of us just aren’t moving enough. We sit at desks, on the couch, and walk just a few feet to our cars, driving off to wherever we want to go. This has a negative impact on our health, and many people are beginning to realize that sitting all the time isn’t the answer to a healthy lifestyle. Luckily, you don’t have to do much to gain the benefits of gentle exercise—just 30 minutes a day is beneficial to your health. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits you’ll enjoy by fitting a half hour of walking in per day, whether you take a break during the workday, enjoy a pre-dinner stroll, or set out first thing in the morning.

Lose Belly Fat

Great news—you don’t have to run a 10k every day or start Crossfit to make your jeans fit better. Even gentle to moderate activity like walking can help you regulate your weight. Walking can help reduce belly fat, so while you might not notice much difference on the scale, you might start seeing changes in your body that boost your self-esteem and encourage you to walk even more!

Prevent Disease

Research has shown that walking/pushing has incredible benefits for preventing diseases like diabetes. Walking can lower your blood pressure by up to 11 points, slash your risk of stroke by 20-40%, and lower your blood sugar. It’s also heart-healthy to walk at least 5 days a week: The New England Journal of Medicine found that this frequency of moderate exercise resulted in a 30% drop in risk for cardiovascular disease. As if that wasn’t enough, a study out of the University of Virginia Health System observed that men ages 71-93 could reduce their risk for Alzheimer’s by half, just by walking more than a quarter mile a day.

Improve Your Mood

Exercise has been shown to lift the mood, thanks to the increase of endorphins that occurs during activity. Getting outside can also have a positive effect on mood, since natural light can help reduce problems like Seasonal Affective Disorder. Walk/Push with a friend or your pet, and you could see even more mood-boosting benefit!

Add Years

Boosting your mood is a great benefit of walking, but there’s an even more compelling reason to hit the streets: it could add years to your life. Recent research showed that daily moderate exercise could add 3 to 7 years to your life. However, it’s still important to lead an otherwise healthy lifestyle—walking alone won’t keep you healthy.

Walking with Limited Mobility

Walking is an excellent, all-purpose activity that almost everyone can enjoy. If you have limited mobility or use a wheelchair/scooter, you can still benefit from getting outside and doing as much as you can. You might not be able to gain the full benefit of walking, but you’ll still gain the mood-boosting effects and gentle activity that can help improve health.

Tips for Walking

If you’re not used to walking or other forms of exercise, take it slow. Walk at your own pace, and build up to 30 minutes if necessary. Bring along some water, and choose a route with a view—walking should be an enjoyable activity.

 

Author: Sarah Daren



  • bobl07

    Getting out and doing any type of movement will only benefit your overall health.