When you hear the word exercise, you might picture vigorous activities: running, jumping jacks, swimming, playing tennis, etc. While these high-intensity workouts are all great forms of exercise, it’s important to remember that they aren’t absolutely necessary for good health. Moderate-intensity workouts also count toward your overall physical activity. And when it comes down to it, any physical activity is better than none at all. Is walking good exercise? Absolutely. Scroll down to explore some of the benefits of walking.
Is Walking Good Exercise?
Health experts are always encouraging people to move more and sit less. Although it’s sometimes more difficult to exercise in your sunset years due to chronic conditions, doctors still encourage seniors to be as physically active as they can. Is walking good exercise? Definitely. In fact, for most seniors, it’s an ideal form of physical activity. It’s free, accessible, safe, and most people are able to do it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults choosing to perform moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, should do so for at least 150 minutes each week. That works out to 30 minutes a day, five days a week. In addition, the CDC recommends that you perform muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days each week. While you could perform more high-intensity workouts to meet the CDC’s recommendations, walking is an excellent form of exercise and should never be discounted. If you began walking regularly, you could enjoy all of the following benefits: better sleep, improved weight management, reduced risk of depression and anxiety, better heart health, reduced risk of diabetes, stronger bones and muscles, and more.
Keep in mind that if you’re interested in increasing your physical activity, you should talk to your doctor first to find a routine that fits your abilities and health concerns.
Walking can help you stay mobile and independent.
According to the Harvard Health Blog, walking is an excellent form of exercise that can help people live healthier lives. The blog cited a study involving volunteers between the ages of 70 and 89, none of whom exercised regularly. Half of the group was assigned to a fitness program involving walking, strength training, and balance exercises. Over two years later, the researchers checked in with the volunteers and found that those in the fitness program were 28 percent less likely to be disabled. Many seniors wonder if they’re too old to reap the benefits of exercising, but clearly, exercising is worthwhile at all ages, and even walking can make a huge difference.
Walking benefits the brains of seniors with memory impairments.
According to another study, cited by the New York Times, brisk walking can also improve brain health and thinking in seniors who suffer from memory impairments. The year-long study looked at middle-aged and older people with early signs of memory loss and followed them as they began walking frequently. Not only did the exercise increase the healthy flow of blood to the participants’ brains, but also it raised their cognitive scores. Who knew walking could be so beneficial to the brain?
So is walking good exercise? Absolutely. Even if you have just 10 minutes to spare, why not enjoy a lovely walk this afternoon? Your body and brain will thank you.
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