Walking is frequently recommended as an exercise option for seniors – and for good reason! It gets your heart rate up, it’s easy to do, and you can do it anywhere. Whether you’re aiming to improve your cardiovascular health or you simply wish to stretch your legs, we encourage you to consider a daily walking routine. Use the walking tips below to start off on the right foot.
Essential Walking Tips
Wear supportive footwear.
The only thing you’ll need to start walking is a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes. Wear low-heeled footwear with non-skid soles. Although many types of shoes will work, most people stick with a standard athletic shoe or sneaker.
In addition, if you use a support while walking (a cane, a walker), make sure that it is properly fitted to your height so that the walk is as comfortable as possible.
Avoid going out in bad weather.
One of the great things about walking is that you can do it throughout all four seasons, including sunny summer and chilly winter. However, it’s important that you check the forecast before heading out and avoid walking in weather that might be dangerous. If there is snow or ice on the ground, stay home. In extremely hot and extremely cold temperatures, either stay home or shorten your walk so that you aren’t caught far away from home with numb feet or heat exhaustion.
Remember that you can always walk indoors (perhaps at a mall or community center) if the weather outside is frightful.
Prepare for the weather.
Even when the weather is walkable, be sure that you prepare for it. On warm days, wear light clothing to avoid overheating. Put on sunscreen and don a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the UV rays. On cold days, bundle up in layers that you can remove if you become hot while walking. Be sure to wear warm socks and shoes to prevent your feet from getting stiff and numb. Finally, always bring water on long walks so that you stay hydrated.
Choose your walking surface carefully.
Walking on hard surfaces becomes more difficult as we age, especially if you have issues with your hips, knees, ankles, or feet. Ideally, your walking path will be smooth, soft, and free of debris and obstacles. This will put less strain on your joints and your feet, making the walk more comfortable. A dirt or grass trail is ideal.
Carry a cell phone in case of an emergency.
Especially if you’ll be walking out in nature, away from people, cars, and businesses, carry a cell phone with you in case of emergencies. A cell phone will also come in handy if you spot lovely scenery or wildlife and wish to take a picture. We also recommend that you walk with a friend, so that you can chat and keep an eye on one another.
Listen to your body.
While you’re encouraged to walk quickly if possible (as fast as you can while still being able to chat with a friend), don’t push yourself too hard. If you feel any pain, stop and take a break. Let your aching back or sore knees rest before you walk again. And if you’re continually struggling to walk or you’re concerned about any aches or pains that arise, contact your doctor for help creating a sustainable, healthy walking program.
Walking is safe, low-impact, and free! If you’re struggling to embrace other fitness options, give walking a try. No matter what your age or fitness level, it’s a great choice.
At Springhouse Village, we know how important it is to enjoy your retirement in a lively and welcoming environment. We make it easy for our residents to be active participants in our community. Whether that means encouraging residents to shop at local farmers markets or assisting them in starting a garden club, we strive to help our residents thrive. To learn more about the amenities and services we offer, contact Springhouse Village today.