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The Health Benefits of Walking

Many seniors don’t get enough physical activity, which in the long run can lead to poorer health and a shorter, less fulfilling lifespan than otherwise. But getting exercise doesn’t have to be a grueling, intensive and sweaty process under the blinding lights and pulsing music of the gym. Getting your recommended allowance of exercise each week can be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other, by which I mean walking.

Walking is great cardiovascular exercise, meaning it strengthens the heart, which improves circulation and lowers blood pressure. For seniors living with diabetes, this is great news, as better circulation and lower blood pressure is just what your body needs to help resist some of the nerve and blood vessel damaging effects of the disease.

And diabetes isn’t the only disease it helps with. Exercise boosts your immune system, and studies have shown that adults who walked for just twenty minutes a day were sick much less often than adults who were otherwise sedentary.

While walking is a low impact exercise, making it ideal for seniors, it’s still a whole-body workout, strengthening muscles, bones, tendons and joints. Regular activity helps keep your joints lubricated and functioning, while the motions of walking engages your supportive muscles, For seniors suffering with arthritis, regular walks can help to alleviate the pain and inflammation to joints, as well as strengthening bones overall to prevent fractures and injuries common to the elderly.

In addition to the physical benefits, walking may provide some mental assistance too. Multiple studies have shown that both elderly men and women who walk regularly experience dementia and Alzheimer’s at lower rates than those who don’t.