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Seniors: Walk Your Way to Health

Senior workoutWe all know we should exercise, but we have a million excuses why we don’t. There’s not enough time. Your aches and pains prevent it. The weather outside doesn’t permit it. It’s important to get moving and stay moving no matter how old you are.

However, did you know that to burn off one plain M&M candy, a person would need to walk the entire length of a football field?

That inactivity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., second only to tobacco use?

Walking is the most popular form of exercise in the United States. Why? Because it’s the easiest. You can walk anywhere. If the weather is bad, you can always go to the mall and walk. It doesn’t require any special equipment nor do you have to go to a gym.

So say goodbye to the couch and let’s hit the pavement! Your heart and body will thank you!

Before you decide to overdo it, here’s some tips to make sure you get the full benefits of exercising:

  1. Start out slow. If you’ve been sedentary for some years, you need to start out moderately. Otherwise you’ll fall, hurt yourself, and never start up again. Start with a 5-minute walk and work your way up to 45 – 60 minutes. Swing your arms if possible so your arms get the benefits too.
  2. Join the video craze. Think video games are just for kids? Think again! Wii has some great workout games targeted specifically for seniors.
  3. Keep your posture. Make sure your head is up, eyes forward so you don’t look at the ground and trip! Make sure your gait is as smooth as possible – heel to toe.
  4. Alternate easy days and hard. You don’t have to work out seven days a week – aim for five. One day you could walk for 30 minutes and the next day for 60. Or walk for 30 minutes and lift light weights for 10 or 15 minutes. The key is to get your heart pumping!
  5. Choose an exercise that’s fun. Maybe you don’t enjoy walking. You can always try swimming, golfing or tennis or virtually any activity that keeps you motivated. Did you know that April 26 is National Dance Day? You’re never too old to cut a rug!

What Are The Benefits of Walking?
According to Mayo Clinic and The American Heart Association, the following are the benefits of walking:

  • Lose weight, trim your waistline or maintain a healthy weight
  • Prevent heart disease, stroke, asthma, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure
  • Strengthen your bones
  • Release hormones that make you happier
  • Improve your balance and coordination
  • Improve your blood lipid profile
  • Reduce your risk of osteoporosis and dementia
  • Reduce your risk of breast and colon cancer
  • Boosts your Vitamin D Levels
  • Gives you energy

Before you start any exercise program, check with your doctor. Combine a healthy diet with an exercise program and you’ll have a double win!

Here’s another fun fact. Did you know if you walked nonstop, it would take a year to walk around the world? Also, a 2000 study reported that walking regularly (three times or more a week for half an hour or more) saves $330 a year in health care costs. You can save your health and save money at the same time.

FirstLight Home Care is dedicated to helping seniors age gracefully and independently. We want to help you keep as active and healthy as possible.

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