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A Complete Guide to Walking for Older Adults 

A group of seniors walk outside together. They are smiling and laughing.
Physical activity provides a range of mental and physical health benefits, especially for aging adults. 
Walking is the ideal form of physical activity for older adults as it covers all four core fitness areas recommended by the National Institute on Aging (NIA).  
Wearing proper sneakers and starting slowly can help aging adults avoid falls and injuries when they begin walking. 
Investing in a medical alert device can bring a sense of safety and security to aging people who want to include regular walking in their routine. 

As we age, supporting our bodies in any way possible becomes more important than ever.  

This is because our bodies and brains start going through various physical and psychological changes— w hich is a perfectly normal part of growing older. 

One of the best ways to care for yourself and give our body the support it needs is to engage in physical activity. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical activity can help us feel and function better almost right away. It can also improve our sleep and reduce stress and anxiety.  

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) recommends that aging adults work on four core fitness areas, including endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Walking helps achieve all of these at once. 

A senior woman smiles at a senior man next to her as they walk outside

In this article, we will discuss the many benefits of walking and outline some important tips for aging adults who want to start walking regularly. 

What Are the Health Benefits of Physical Activity? 

Walking offers significant health benefits for aging adults. The CDC says there are several short and long-term rewards of even just a moderate amount of exercise.  

Mental health benefits 

Any form of physical activity can work wonders for our mental health as we get older. Studies show that taking regular walks has great mood-boosting benefits for aging adults.  

According to the CDC, reduced anxiety is one of the immediate benefits we can expect once we start walking. 

Walking with friends and family can also help improve social engagement and interaction, which research shows can improve our mental health. 

Lastly, walking has been proven to decrease age-related mental decline, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  

Physical health benefits 

We may experience both short and long-term physical benefits when we walk regularly. Walking can: 

  • Help with weight management: We can maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight if necessary. 
  • Boost our immune system: This activity helps our cells work more effectively to prevent us from getting sick
  • Regulate our blood sugar: Physical activity can lower glucose levels in our bloodstream. 
  • Improve muscle strength: Walking is a full-body workout, meaning it works almost all the muscles in our body at the same time. Having strong muscles is important for staying functional as we age. 
  • Reduce the loss of bone mass: Losing bone mass is something that happens naturally as we grow older. 

Elevating one’s heart rate by taking a regular walk can help prevent or reduce the risk of health problems and chronic conditions such as: 

  • Cardiovascular disease 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Heart attack 
  • High cholesterol 
  • Diabetes 

How Much Exercise Do Older Adults Need? 

According to the CDC’s physical activity recommendations, adults aged 65 and older need at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking. 

Alternatively, the CDC recommends 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as hiking, jogging, or running. But this may not always be possible for aging adults.  

The NIA also recommends including other physical activities that improve balance in our exercise routine, such as pilates or yoga. 

Walking Tips for Aging Adults 

If you or your aging loved one would like to get started with regular walking, here are a few tips to keep in mind before you begin to keep safe and make this activity more enjoyable. 

Join a walking program 

It can be difficult to stay motivated to walk regularly, especially when you’re just getting started. You may also find it unsafe to walk alone if you are prone to falling. 

A group of seniors smiles at the camera before going on a hike or walk.

Joining a local walking group or going for walks with your loved ones is a great way to stay motivated. It also helps with the social engagement benefits discussed above. 

You may also want to get creative with your walking routine by trying different routes or discovering new local attractions. However, be sure to choose roads and paths that are mostly even terrain to prevent accidents. 

Get a good pair of walking shoes 

Wearing the right shoes when you go for walks is very important.  

Shoes that aren’t designed for physical activity can make you slip or fall because they don’t have the right grip or they don’t fit properly. 

Investing in a comfortable pair of shoes can go a long way to make your walks more pleasant, as you won’t be worried about getting injured due to ill-fitting footwear. 

Comfortable sneakers made for exercise will certainly do the trick, but if you have any foot problems, you may want to invest in a set of orthopedic shoes. 

Start slow  

If you’re not used to regular physical activity, starting slow is a good idea. Initially, your walking doesn’t need to be brisk, and you don’t need to take long strides to reap the benefits of exercise. 

You may want to start walking to a nearby park or store on a safe, familiar route. 

Begin by taking smaller steps and try not to push yourself too hard. It will take time for your body to adjust to your new routine. 

The Talk Test 
You’ll know you’re walking fast enough if it feels like you are exercising, but you’re not out of breath to the point where talking to someone becomes difficult.  
Being able to hold a conversation while moving means you’re walking at the perfect pace. 

Keep an eye on the weather 

Bad weather can make it riskier to walk outside as surfaces may become slippery or challenging to navigate. 

Be sure to check your local weather forecast before venturing out for your regular walk to prevent ending up in an emergency situation. 

If the weather isn’t great and you’d still like to take a walk, consider visiting a nearby indoor mall or even walking around an interesting museum.  

A senior man and woman smile at eac other as they walk inside at a mall.

You may also want to ensure you’ve dressed appropriately for cooler or warmer weather to be comfortable on your walk. Don’t forget that sun protection is important throughout the year.  

Invest in a medical alert device 

A medical alert device can keep you safe every step of the way. You can use it to call a 911 operator or a loved one if anything happens while you’re out walking. 

Many medical alert systems can be clipped to wearable pendants or belts so you can walk freely without having to carry something in your hands. This can also help you keep it with you throughout the day. 

Knowing emergency assistance is available at the touch of a button can give you and your loved ones peace of mind to enjoy every moment of your walk. 

Stay hydrated 

While walking, it’s possible that physical activity will lead to some sweating. This can make you lose body water, so it’s important to keep drinking fluids while walking. 

You also lose heat while walking, so staying hydrated can prevent the risk of heat stress and help your bodiy function optimally while walking. 

Three senior adults sit together outside and have a laugh while taking a break from exercise.

Drinking water while walking can also help our bodies feel less tired while we move, meaning we can walk further and for a longer period than if we were dehydrated. 

How LogicMark Makes Walking for Aging Adults Safer 

Feeling safe and secure while we’re out and about on regular walks can go a long way to making exercise more enjoyable.  

Knowing that you can get help right away if you need it means you’ll be able to embrace the great outdoors and walk with your loved ones. 

Our range of medical alert devices can also be used indoors and are water resistant so you can use your device anywhere you need.  

Visit our website to find the right medical alert device for your needs so that you can enjoy all life’s adventures without worry. 


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