Young male and elderly man with walker walking outside

Walk Into Better Health: Benefits and Tips for Daily Walks

For people of any age, an active lifestyle is an important part of overall health. With the American lifestyle trending toward more sitting and less activity, it is critical for everyone to be aware of how much they move during the day. For seniors, moving toward a sedentary lifestyle is an even greater risk. As seniors lose some mobility, change their interests and possibly deal with chronic health conditions, the daily activities that kept them moving may no longer be a priority.

The dangers of an overly inactive lifestyle include an increased risk for some cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, the old adage of “if you don’t use it, you lose it” proves to be true! The less a person uses their muscles, the less strength and flexibility they will have. In order to stay active during those precious golden years, it helps to understand the health benefits of regular exercise, as well as tips for making simple exercise a part of the daily routine.

Benefits of Walking for Seniors

Walking is often named as the best, most accessible exercise for seniors; it is effective and it can be done almost anywhere! Walking helps to reduce the risk for many chronic conditions, improves overall health and is often an important part of rehabilitation for seniors overcoming a stroke, surgery or a serious illness. At Fair Oaks Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, patients are supported in improving their mobility and strength in a fall-safe environment.

Additional benefits of walking include:

Lowering blood sugar. After a meal, a 15-minute walk can reduce the after-eating spike in blood sugar experienced by some seniors.

Reducing pain. Walking can help to reduce some pain due to conditions such as arthritis or lower back pain.

Improving heart health. For seniors, simple exercises like walking can reduce the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and even coronary heart disease.

Supporting mental health. Taking a daily walk can help make seniors feel more positive about life. In general, exercise releases endorphins that reduce anxiety and create a sense of well-being.

Creating a Daily Health Routine

It is recommended that seniors age 65 and older get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise per week, or about 30 minutes per day. For seniors, exercise is an important aspect of living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining independence. Here are some tips to help incorporate walking into your daily routine:

  • Get creative. Change up your clothing, listen to music, buy new shoes. Find ways to keep walking fun!
  • Schedule accordingly. If you find it difficult to motivate yourself, sign up for a class. At Highland Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, residents enjoy exercise group classes and recreational services to keep them moving!
  • Keep it social. Walking with others adds a fun, social component, as well as motivation to keep up and accountability to show up! At Highland Rehabilitation, residents can invite family and friends to join them for a walk, then stay for a meal prepared by on-site chefs.
  • Celebrate success. All successes are worth celebrating when it comes to exercise. Walked two days in a row? Good for you! Brought a friend on a walk? Hooray! Acknowledging your accomplishments makes you more likely to try to achieve new ones.

Finding the Right Support

For many patients in rehabilitative care, like Highland Rehabilitation and Fair Oaks Rehabilitation, the main goal is to get them back on their feet. For example, after a hip replacement surgery, patients need to get out of bed and begin walking to prevent muscles and joints from seizing and to promote blood circulation. Walking is low impact and is proven to strengthen muscles and improve cardiovascular fitness. However, walking can benefit any senior anytime!

If you or a loved one is in need of rehabilitative care following a long illness, a hospital stay, a stroke or surgery, all Tutera Senior Living & Health Care communities are specially equipped to understand their needs. Interested in finding a Tutera community near you? Follow the link!

Learn more by clicking on the community links below:

Bethany Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Carlinville Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Carnegie Village Senior Living Community
Charlton Place Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Coulterville Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Crystal Pines Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Dixon Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Fair Oaks Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Hamilton Memorial Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Highland Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Hillsboro Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Lakeland Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Mattoon Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Meridian Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Metropolis Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Monterey Park Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Moweaqua Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Norterre - The Estoria
Northland Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
St. Paul's Senior Community
Stratford Commons Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Tiffany Springs Senior Living Community
The Village at Mission Senior Living Community
Willow Care Rehabilitation & Health Care Center