Senior Walkers - Keep Moving Through the Years

Senior Woman Enjoying a Nature Walk
Senior Woman Enjoying a Nature Walk. Matelly/Cultura/Getty Images

Does walking keep you young and healthy? It's a smart bet that it does. Studies show it leads to a longer, healthier life. As the t-shirt says, "Grandma took up walking three miles a day two years ago and now nobody in the family knows where the heck she is!" If you need some incentive to get off the couch or want to encourage a loved one to do the same, here are some good starting points.

  1. Start with the best walking shoes: You lose your foot's natural cushioning and shock-absorbing ability as you age. You'll enjoy walking more with shoes that provide enough support and cushioning, but still are not heavy.
  1. You may need motion control shoes or inserts if you have specific foot problems. If you are having foot and joint pain despite wearing good athletic shoes, it is worthwhile to consult a podiatrist or pedorthist.
  2. Do you need a check-up? If you have a chronic medical condition or you have been inactive, it's wise to discuss the best way to get started with your doctor. If you are in great health, it's still important to see your doctor for a preventative health check-up to make sure you are current with your health screenings. Early detection and treatment will keep you active longer.
  3. Walking Poles: You can add stability and confidence to your walking by using walking poles. Not only do they help with balance, they also give you a better workout.
  4. How to Start Walking for Beginners: We walk you through step by step starting a walking program. This includes walking posture, technique, and a walking plan.
  1. How Much Exercise Do You Need Over Age 65?: The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association have guidelines are for adults over age 65, and for those age 50 to 64 with a chronic condition, such as arthritis. What do they say? You need even more exercise than the young folks.
  1. Safe Exercise Tips for People Over Age 50: Whether you are afraid of hurting yourself with exercise or you think you can do just as much as you did decades ago, these guidelines can reassure you and protect you.
  2. Join the Club: The American Volkssport Association has hundreds of walking clubs throughout the USA and is also affiliated with clubs in Canada, Britain, and around the world. These clubs host non-competitive walking events and are enjoyed by many seniors and "kids of all ages." If there is no AVA club in your area, use these tips to find walking companions.
  3. Hate braving the elements? Walk indoors: Do you skip your walk when it's cold, hot, or wet outdoors? We get less tolerant of heat and cold as we age. Walking indoors on a treadmill, indoor walking track or inside a shopping center are solutions for seniors.
  4. Walk and Live Longer: The Honolulu Heart Study of 8000 men found that over a 12-year period, walking just two miles a day (30 to 40 minutes) cut the risk of death almost in half.

    It's Not the Years, It's the Miles

    If you are reluctant to exercise because you have arthritis, diabetes or are recovering from cancer treatment, discuss it with your doctor. Staying physically active has many benefits for chronic conditions, and walking is the most-recommended way to stay active. You will probably be sent home with an exercise prescription that includes walking.

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