Eights Ways for a Senior to Get More Out of Walking

Walking is a wonderful way for a senior citizen to get good exercise. Research studies have indicated that walking can help ward off cardiovascular disease. Walking is also generally good for bone health. It can be an excellent way to maintain a healthy weight. In addition, walking is said to combat depression and stress. Walking is also thought to be effective at boosting your brain health. It can help a person better control blood pressure.

If you have been walking, you may already have begun to realize some of these important benefits. There are eight ways that you can enhance your walking experience even further. We discuss these eight strategies in this article:

  • Walk with someone else
  • Switch up where you walk
  • Walk in a pool
  • Use technology like Fitbit or Apple Watch
  • Increase your pace
  • Involve your arms
  • Add other types of exercise
  • Pay attention to your breathing

Walk With Someone Else

Walking alone absolutely has benefits. It gives you time to think. It gives you time to escape the daily life’s hustle and bustle.

You should consider mixing up your routine a bit and walking with someone else from time to time. One benefit of walking with another person is that it makes you accountable to someone else. Another person can encourage you to stay on your walking program. You can do the same for an individual with whom you walk.

Switch up Where You Walk

Sean Ruff, a California nutritionist and fitness coach recommends switching up where you walk. Ruff advised:

Walking in varying terrain, like areas with diverse paths and inclines, presents different demands on the body to adapt as you navigate your way through to the finish. Try finding some areas to walk with gentle inclines or paths requiring you to take occasional twists and turns.

Walk in a Pool

Many fitness experts maintain that walking in a pool provides a great total body workout. It is also low impact and less stressful on your joints and body as a whole. Water adds resistance that strengthens your core and your leg muscles.

When walking in water, you are advised to start with water at about waist level. As you walk in the water, try keeping your torso upright. You should swing your arms as naturally as they would walking on land.

Use Technology Like Fitbit or Apple Watch

Wearable technology can be beneficial to a walker. You do have to pay for such technology. However, many people who take this step swear that it pays for itself in the final analysis.  

Wearable technology allows a walker to track steps. It also provides a walker the chance to try and beat previous performances. If a person desires, wearable technology also offers a way to compete against friends and motivate and encourage each other through the app.

Increase Your Pace

Boosting your walking pace or focusing on decreasing your route completion time benefits your metabolic rate. If you walk at a constant rate all the time, your body eventually won’t feel as much of a challenge. As you progress, if you walk at a brisker pace can often help with weight loss and improve your metabolic rate.

Try increasing the pace of your walking in small intervals. For example, walk at a fast pace for one minute and then return to your regular pace for two minutes. You can then repeat this process throughout your entire walk. A California fitness coach notes, “A good music playlist filled with upbeat tunes can help you pick up the pace and make your walk not only brisker but fun.”

Involve Your Arms

Walking essentially is a leg-focused workout. Generally speaking, there is not a tremendous fitness benefit for the core and upper body, according to fitness experts. There are ways in which you can bring more of your body into at least some focus while walking.

In this regard, fitness experts suggest pulling your arms back as you walk. Squeeze your shoulder blades back, simulating how a person would move on an elliptical machine. According to a fitness coach who works with older individuals:

This can help you focus not only on strengthening the legs but now the upper body and core as well. In addition, because you will have the whole body involved with this walking style, you will burn more calories and positively challenge the cardiovascular system. As a bonus, this process can also enhance your posture muscles in the upper body.

Add Other Types of Exercise

The key exercise you will want to add to your stretching regimen is stretching. Simple standing stretches can assist with your overall range of motion when walking.

“Doing some simple standing stretches ahead of your walk will help you loosen up and walk with a greater range of motion,” says James P. Owen, writing in The Art of Aging Well, suggests starting with a runner’s stretch for your hip flexors. He writes:

Reach for the sky, punch the air before you, and bend forward from the hips (keeping your legs straight). Don’t forget to include rotational movements, like twisting from your waist to look behind you.

Owen also suggests that you stretch again after your walk as a way to help ease any muscle tightness and avoid soreness.

Pay Attention to Your Breathing

A person can get more out of walking by focusing on breathing more slowly and deeply. This means a walk should strive to empty the lungs before taking another breath. According to fitness experts, this will bring more oxygen into a walker’s body and eliminate more carbon dioxide. It also benefits from reinforcing good posture and helping your entire body relax.

Consult With Your Doctor

In closing, before you start a walking routine, or if you want to expand upon one already underway, you need to consult your doctor. Your physician can advise what level of exercise, in this case, walking, is most suitable to your current condition and to meet your goals and objectives.