Healthy living after 60 has some tips on walking for exercise.
I’ve previously written about walking, but in a more general form. I now want to speak more directly to the benefits of walking.
The Mayo clinic, in an article they published, asked the question. “Can you walk your way to fitness?”
Their answer was a quick, “You bet.”
Allow me a moment to share my personal experience. Then we’ll talk a little about the science and opinions of experts.
On the off chance you think I’m an expert, be assured I am not. I am only a senior sharing the things I have learned.
It’s not so different than others my age. It’s been more than three years now, since I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Something that far too many men our age will experience.
My disease was at a stage that allowed for only one treatment. I am grateful for the science that made it available. The drug I received was not without side effects.
The one I want to share with you here is the complete loss of body strength. There became a time when holding a Mr Coffee, coffee pot was nearly more than I could manage. To pour my own coffee was only done with great effort.
When the treatments ended, I tried ways to regain strength.
As a member of Silver Sneakers, I went to the gym. Ten minutes on a recumbent bicycle felt like a lifetime. A few curls on a machine left me embarrassed at what I could not do.
Living in Florida and in a community with public pools, I tried swimming.
I walked in the shallow end. I did ten minutes and worked my time to twenty. I followed it with a few laps of backstrokes. That was all I could manage.
The results were horrible. I would spend the rest of the day trying to recover. I stopped it all. No gym, no pool, nothing.
Now I’m walking. A little bit. Just a couple of blocks. I am hopeful it will get better. I did notice one thing with the short, not so brisk ‘stroll’. I am able to do other things afterwards. Like write this article.
I have read some things about the benefits of walking. I’m still looking for something negative. I don’t thinks it’s out there.
Tips And Benefits
Walking has a bunch of health benefits, but you need to talk with your doctor before you begin an exercise regime. Especially if you have known health challenges or are recovering from an injury
There are plenty of sources to find information about exercise. That would include walking. What I found is, most are targeted to younger people.
In tips for walking, I don’t want to include things like total steps. I read that you should walk 10,000 steps a day. I don’t even know how far that is.
If you’re into tracking, use the clock. My first day of walking I used the stopwatch on my iPhone. Thirteen minutes.
Articles appealing to younger readers talk about incline walking. I imagine that means walking up hill. As a senior, I want to focus on level ground.
One thing I have noticed. When my legs begin to weaken, it is much easier to stumble. Stumbles lead to falls, and a fall leads to broken bones.
We all know what broken bones can mean to older people.
Finding the right shoe is a great tip. Some experts lean towards a tennis shoe.
I personally haven’t gotten there yet. I wear a simple, dock-sider type slip on. Frankly, bending to tie my shoes is difficult.
The only shoes I own with laces, are my golf shoes. I can’t remember the last time I was able to wear them. I do have two pair of cowboy boots.
Scheduling activities is a popular concept. It goes to the goal setting mentality of business. I’m all for it, but retired people don’t usually have full calendars.
Finding a time to walk is not so hard. The key on this tip, is to make it a routine. Do it on a regular basis.
Enjoying what you do seems more common sense than a tip, but you really should enjoy it. Part of that concept might be a change in your route from time to time.
I’m early in this walking thing. I go around the block. At this point, it’s plenty. I’ll get better and longer walks will happen. Then I’ll head off in a different direction once in awhile. A change of scenery is good.
One private thought on the idea of enjoyment.
I have lived in this house full time for about five years. I am now seeing new stuff in the neighborhood. Each lap around the block reveals something I never saw before. It’s nice.
I noticed that my wife, who always walks with me, does a little stretching before we head out the door. Experts suggest it’s a good idea. I’m not there yet but perhaps I’ll be rethinking it soon.
A warm up is also recommended. I get it when talking about runners, but I’m walking. And I am walking a normal gait. Where I live, getting warm can be as easy as stepping outside.
I like what the Mayo Clinic had to say. There is a posture for walking that reaps benefits. It includes walking erect, head up rather than looking down. And using a little arm swing is a good tip.
One caution. If you’re walking with your head up, that does not mean you ignore the ground under your feet. Watch for anything that might cause a stumble.
That point brings me to what the Mayo Clinic said about choosing a route. They warned us to consider such things as cracked pavements, potholes, uneven turf and low hanging limbs.
This is doubly important for seniors. I mentioned it earlier. A fall for a senior becomes more than an opportunity for someone to yell, ‘rub some dirt on it.’
When I began walking, it was at the continued suggestion of my wife. When I decided to give it a go, I asked if she was going with me. “Of course.” was the answer.
Being completely honest, one question I always seem to have about walking is, what if I fall?
Benefits of Walking
We began with the quote from the Mayo Clinic. “Can you walk your way to fitness?”
An Infographic From Visual.ly. The Health Benefits Of Walking.
The facts and the science support that these tips on walking for exercise are real, important and will show wonderful benefits. Especially for seniors.
Do you have questions? Would you like to comment on what you’ve read? Drop me a note and we’ll have a conversation.