Walking and healthy aging

Walking is one of the oldest, most well-known forms of exercise. Our earliest ancestors used to walk thousands of kilometers to find food and water. People used to walk as a means of survival, rather than for leisure. Evidence suggests walking correlates to healthy aging.

As technology progresses, our North American society is generally becoming less active. Today, we have cars, buses, trains and planes to get us from point A to B. Escalators eliminate the need to climb stairs. We don’t even have to leave the house to satisfy our hunger. Our food can be delivered right to our doorstep with the click of a button.

While technological advancements make our lives easier and more convenient, it reduces the need for people to be physically active. Research collected from the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal suggests that less than half of adults get enough exercise. However, the good news is, walking improves seniors health and is a free, low impact form of exercise.

Here are three examples of how walking leads to healthy aging:

Walking improves mobility

As people age, the body naturally loses muscle mass and bone density, which makes getting around more difficult. Walking can help reverse the aging process by increasing joint mobility and muscle tissue. The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Activity Guideline recommends that adults aged 65 years and older should perform at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more to see health-related improvements.

Walking improves mental health

Walking increases the production of endorphins in the brain, otherwise known as “feel good hormones.” Research featured on the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal, summarized the results of 42 studies, involving 1,843 participants to measure whether taking part in walking groups improves physical health and mental health. The results show that depression was also lower among walkers compared to people who didn’t participate.

Walking has social perks

According to the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal, walking in groups is more beneficial than walking alone. Walking in groups – as opposed to walking alone – offers several advantages: motivation and support from other group members, opportunities to meet people and socialize, and greater security (another example of safety in numbers).

More walking suggestions:

Weather conditions such as heat and the extreme cold deter people from walking outside, but there are many indoor walking options to explore. Depending on the time of year, local malls and arenas are air-conditioned and provide protection from the sun and snow.

Wear proper shoes and start your walk on the right foot. Supportive, comfortable footwear is essential for walking, regardless of distance or duration.

Seasons Retirement Communities understands the correlation between staying active and healthy aging. In 2017 we launched a company-wide initiative called Kickin’ It Up to encourage our residents to participate in physical activity on a more consistent basis.

In addition, we award participants by organizing a series of challenges throughout the year.  Seasons refers to October as ‘Walktober.’ Residents and team members participate in a 10-minute walk every Wednesday morning at 10:10 a.m. Residents walk a specific route inside the home for the rest of the month. The person who does the most laps wins!

Explore our locations page to learn more about the Seasons Retirement Community nearest you or contact us to schedule a personal visit.