Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise accessible to just about everyone. It is safe, simple and does not require practice, and evidence has shown that walking can be crucial to maintain senior physical and mental health.
A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who can walk faster tend to live longer. A 2010 University of Pittsburgh study concluded that for mentally healthy adults, adults with mild cognitive impairment and adults with Alzheimer’s disease, walking can help prevent memory decline and maintain healthy brain structure (although it is not a cure for Alzheimer’s or cognitive impairment). Following nearly 300 healthy adults for 10 years, this study found that walking six miles (or more) per week significantly reduced the risk of cognitive decline and kept brain volume from shrinking.
A regularly performed walking program can also increase your level of aerobic fitness, giving you more energy for everyday and leisure activities. You might start with daily walking sessions of five to 10 minutes, slowly build up to 15 minutes twice a week and gradually increase to 30 to 60 minutes several times a week. After just four months, a 2008 study noted, a group of people older than 60 enrolled in a three-times-a-week walking program increased their peak aerobic capacity by 19%, compared with a decrease of 9% for a control group that did not participate in a walking program.
Following a consistent walking program can also help you to
- maintain healthy muscles, bones and joints
- reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure
- enhance emotional well-being
- reduce the risk of colon cancer and diabetes
- control joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis
Walking is easy: All you need to start is a sturdy, well-fitting pair of walking shoes. If you are not already walking moderately, we can provide you with the necessary tools to bring you as close as possible to walking 30 minutes a day, four days a week, which is an excellent goal for most people.