Health Benefits of Walking for Seniors

December 25, 2023

Walking is often hailed as one of the best forms of exercise, especially for older adults. From weight management to disease prevention, walking offers a wide array of health benefits. Plus, it’s a low-impact activity that doesn’t put excess strain on joints, making it an ideal activity for those who may be more susceptible to injury.

Here are some of the major health benefits of walking that make it worth going the extra mile.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

A routine walking program coupled with a healthy diet may aid in weight loss, according to Cleveland Clinic. Daily walking gives your metabolism a boost, burns extra calories, and helps to prevent muscle loss. Don’t worry if the numbers on the scale don’t shift immediately. Instead, pay attention to how you feel and how your clothes fit. After about 12 weeks of walking 30 minutes per day, you might start to notice your clothes becoming looser, as walking helps reduce fat and improves the body’s insulin response.

Improved Heart Health

Walking increases your heart rate, which improves blood flow and can lower blood pressure. In fact, for every 1,000 daily steps, one study found that walking lowered participants’ systolic blood pressure by .45 points. To get more steps in, walk around your house while you’re on the phone or step-touch in place when you need to wait for something.

Prevent or Manage Health Conditions

Another health benefit of walking is the reduced risk of certain health conditions. Walking can potentially reduce your risk for developing obesity, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease, major depressive disorder, diabetes, and hypertension. It may even help extend your lifespan. How much do you need to walk to reap the benefits? Eleven minutes every day may be enough to lower your risk of premature death by as much as 25%.

Stronger Bones and Muscles

Roughly 10 million people age 50 and older have osteoporosis, which can cause your bones to become brittle and break. Walking has the potential to help stop the loss of bone mass for those who have osteoporosis, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Frequent walks can also aid in muscle toning and growth. For added benefit, pump your arms while you walk. This extra movement will increase your range of motion and shift the pressure and weight from your joints to your muscles.

Decreased Stress & Anxiety

Feeling overwhelmed? Take a walk outside. Walking has been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol and help with feelings of anxiety and depression. When you walk, endorphins get released in your body, which boost your mood, according to Cleveland Clinic.

A regular walking routine can significantly enhance the quality of life for older adults, making it a simple yet powerful tool in your health arsenal. Join a walking club, make a plan to walk daily with a loved one, or bring a furry friend along on the journey — and enjoy every step.


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