Is walking good exercise for seniors?
Almost everyone understands the importance of a healthy exercise routine, but this is especially important for seniors. That said, for many older individuals, exercise can seem intimidating. This is especially true for those with chronic conditions or disabilities that affect respiration, bone density, balance, and mobility.
The good news is, exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. Even something as simple as a regular walking routine can dramatically improve your health and well-being, and may even help you extend your ability to live independently.
Keep in mind, however, that it is incredibly important to speak with your doctor or another professional health provider for some key safety tips before deciding to engage in a new exercise routine. Sometimes, they may recommend specific modifications, or key equipment like a good pair of walking shoes or a reliable walking stick.
What are some great ways to make the most out of walking exercises for seniors?
If you are an older individual who is still blessed with a good range of mobility, there are a few great ways to make the absolute most out of your walking exercises. For seniors, walking can be a great way to strengthen muscles, keep your weight steady, and lower your risk of common conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
If you are a senior who already incorporates simple walking into your exercise routine but feels you are capable of more, try the following techniques to add a little spice to your workout.
Shake up your routine with a little fancy footwork
If your walking routine usually follows the same style and pace all the way through, try alternating your standard walking stride with a few new moves along the way. You can try incorporating different strides such as a sideways walk, a crossover step, or walking heel to toe.
Through a few of these fancy footwork techniques as you go in accordance with your comfortability level. You’ll be surprised to see just how much such techniques can improve your workout!
Try listening to a podcast while taking a stroll
Listening to your favorite music playlist has always been a great way to stay motivated and keep your head in the game, but for many seniors, there are great benefits to engaging your brain to an even higher degree.
Many people find that listening to programs and podcasts can be more educational and engaging than music alone. As an added benefit, a good podcast can provide a welcome distraction as you shuffle down the sidewalk.
Many times, you won’t even realize how much exercise time has gone by while you were enthralled by a good broadcast.
Change up your pattern of effort
Another great way to shake up the intensity of your walking routine is by picking up your pace after you’ve been warmed up. This simple-yet-effective strategy is a great way to push yourself in a safe and controlled way.
After a few solid minutes of walking at a leisurely pace, try walking as briskly as you can for a brief amount of time, then return to your standard pace. For your next walk, repeat this activity and try to go harder for longer.
Be sure to listen to your body carefully so that you don’t run the risk of over-exerting yourself.
Incorporate some percussive breathing
Did you know you can unlock an instant energy boost by changing up the amount of oxygen you are taking into your body during a workout? One great way to do this is through an activity known as percussive breathing.
To successfully achieve percussive breathing, start by inhaling deeply and briskly through your nose for four counts (so, inhale on each count: 1, 2, 3, 4) and then exhale through your nose again, reversing the four count pattern.
Another way to time your percussive breathing is to match your inhales and exhales with your footsteps. You can repeat this three to four times while walking at an easy pace.
Add a little resistance
If you’ve always been interested in weight training exercises, but don’t feel comfortable with a full-fledged senior weight training routine, a great way to start is by adding a little weight resistance to your walking exercises.
To accomplish this, bring a lightweight resistance band with you on your walk, and throw in a few strength exercises along the way. This is a much simpler and safer option than hand weights or ankle weights.
Are there any good walking programs for seniors that can help me achieve my exercise goals?
If you are an older individual who is also a Medicare beneficiary, you may be extremely pleased to learn that there do exist an impressive amount of fitness classes and wellness workshops that can be accessed through your Medicare plan.
One such program, known as SilverSneakers, is a great resource for educational information and social interaction as it pertains to your senior exercise routine.
If you aren’t currently a member of SilverSneakers or if you’re unsure whether your specific Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan includes membership, don’t hesitate to contact the licensed insurance agents and Medicare Advantage experts at MedicareInsurance.com by calling (800) 950-0608 today!
From there, you’ll be able to research and compare your Medicare options in an effort to find the best possible plan for you.