Fitness can be intimidating to many seniors. What’s safe? What’s effective? Where’s a good place to begin? The good news is you don’t need fancy gym equipment or a high-impact aerobics class to complete quality exercise that’s beneficial to your health. All you need is motivation and your own two feet.
Walking regularly is one of the safest and most effective forms of exercise available. You can proceed at your own pace and reap the benefits – including a healthier heart, lower stress and higher energy levels.
It doesn’t have to be a major time commitment. Studies show that getting the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity per day for adults helps us achieve and maintain a healthy weight, lowers our risk for diabetes and certain types of cancer, improves our mood, enhances our quality of life, and improves physical function for those with arthritis.
The health benefits of walking are significant. Why, then, is it hard to get started? Often, walks needs to be built into routines. I urge my patients to make it a regular part of their day. It can also be helpful to have a standing date with a “walking buddy” to keep you on track.
Here are some tips for reducing the risk of injury when beginning a walking program:
- Take it slow your first day out. Start with an easily attainable goal – say ten minutes, and then add a couple minutes each day.
- If you don’t like to watch the clock, you can measure your progress by city blocks – start with one or two blocks and add to it, as you are able.
- If you want to increase your workout, but don’t want to add extra time, just walk faster or find some hills or stairs to increase the intensity.
- A good goal for starters is to get out for a walk three times per week and then increase it to five or seven days per week.
- Wear properly fitting shoes.
To schedule an appointment with me at Center Communities of Brookline to discuss your health goals, call 617-363-8041.