Of all the forms of exercise available, it is easy to overlook walking as beneficial for physical wellbeing. There is a tendency to believe that, for exercise to be effective, it has to be utterly exhausting. It is why many people, as they grow older, get discouraged and feel exercise has simply escaped them.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Studies have shown that walking can be just as an effective form of exercise as running.
Let us walk you through 5 benefits of walking:
1. Walking is a very accessible form of exercise
In general, walking holds more appeal than running for overall ease. It does not require specialist kit, for starters. The other advantages of walking are that, as an exercise, it is far less taxing on the body and, for many, it is more accessible and enjoyable too!
The important thing to remember, for any form is exercise, is that even the smallest level of activity can benefit our health. The NHS suggests at the very least, we should all make an effort to walk 10 minutes per day.
When you look at it like that, staying active seems like a smaller mountain to climb!
2. Regular walking supports good cardiovascular health
As our bodies begin to age, we are at a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, walking has been shown to lower the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cardiac arrest.
NHS guidelines suggest that, in terms of walking, people over the age of 65+ should be doing 150 minutes of “moderate aerobic activity” (walking) per week.
Even the smallest amount of walking reduces these health risks by around 15% to 20%. It turns out that a few steps go a long way to keeping your heart healthy for longer.
3. Walking maintains mobility as we age
As much as it helps your heart to stay strong, walking also supports the retention of muscle mass and strength.
Losing mobility is a genuine concern for the elderly. As soon as any mobility begins to deteriorate, so does the number of things that can be done independently.
This is why it’s important to keep walking as much as you can. As the old saying goes: “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
Walking can be considered as a full body exercise. It is not just the legs that are working, but the arms, core, and all of the body’s main muscle groups are getting activated which helps them to stay strong.
4. Walking is a good way to maintain a healthy weight
Another way walking helps with long-term mobility is its ability to help maintain and lose weight. As we walk, our bodies are not just burning calories but building lean muscle too. This helps to keep the body fit and trim all at the same time.
By staying at a healthy weight, at any age, the body is under less stress and is much more agile and active.
5. The mental health benefits of walking
The simple pleasure derived from getting outside and into the fresh air is not to be underestimated.
Whether it’s an invigorating walk just after the rain or a gentle stroll on a warm day, there is no end of benefits to both physical and mental health!
According to The National Institute on Aging in the US, staying active improves cognitive function, memory, attention and the speed we are able to process things.
Walking outdoors has also been shown to help with struggles such as depression and anxiety, according to mental health charity MIND.
There are now dedicated Walking Charities like Healthy Minds whose motto is “a good walk can do wonders for your mental well-being !”
We believe in supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of our residents and this is one of the main reasons we are producing guided walk brochures for our villages and taking part in “National Walking Month” during May 2019!
Here at Inspired Villages, we take an extremely holistic approach to the health and well-being of our residents. It is our aim to keep our community enjoying life to the fullest and experiencing new challenges and opportunities whenever they can.
If you want to find out more about other events, or what we can do for you, why not get in touch today by getting in touch here.
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