The Benefits of Walking for Seniors
At John Knox Village of Central Florida, our focus is on holistic wellness for our seniors. We pride ourselves on providing many activities and exercise opportunities to incorporate fitness and well-being into the senior lifestyle. We even have a 1,000-Mile Club — a group of residents who know the benefits of walking for seniors and are dedicated to walking 1,000 miles over the course of a year, holding each other accountable by keeping track and encouraging one another.
The health benefits of walking are numerous. Walking improves your physical and mental health and overall wellness, not to mention it’s a pleasant and enjoyable activity. It’s a great way to get your 30 minutes of daily exercise, and you can do it while catching up with a friend or exploring a new neighborhood, taking in the sights, sounds and fresh air nature provides. Cardiovascular exercise like walking is good for heart health, which is important to maintain as a senior. Getting your heart rate up daily keeps high blood pressure and cholesterol in check. Walking after eating can negate the spike in blood sugar seniors can experience, using that sugar instead to strengthen your muscles. Low-impact exercise like walking is good for your back and core, and provides the right amount of work for your joints and muscles to help keep arthritis pain at bay. Getting your steps in can also be a great time to listen to a podcast and learn something new, or listen to music or an audiobook. You can multitask walking with other activities that are good for your mental health like listening to educational podcasts, mental clarity apps, or socially engaging with your loved ones over the phone, and double up on wellness.
The great thing about walking is that you can do it at your own pace — any amount of movement is good for you. You can go for a brisk walk, elevate your heart rate quickly, and be done with your daily exercise in a shorter period of time. Or if you’re more of a “long walks on the beach” type of person, you can take it easy and mosey about for a longer period of time. You’re burning calories either way.
How to Achieve Your Goals
When you’ve got a big task in front of you, like cleaning up a messy house, or, say, walking 1,000 miles, it can seem daunting to conquer. Rather than thinking of it as a big impossible feat, try breaking it up into smaller bits and focusing on conquering one thing at a time. If you want to walk 1,000 miles in a year, you’ll need to walk about 83 miles per month, or 2-3 miles per day. Say that takes you one hour. Take it day by day; focus on the one hour’s worth of walking you’ve promised yourself to do each day, or the 15 miles you committed to walking in a week’s time. Smaller numbers make the challenge much less intimidating.
Reward yourself! Incentives are a great driver for achieving your goals. Tell yourself, “If I walk an hour today, I’ll have dessert after dinner.” Or, “If I walk my 15 miles this week, I’ll treat myself to a shopping outing this weekend.” Or, “If I walk 1,000 miles this year, I’ll plan a vacation.”
Everything is easier when you’ve got a friend to do it with, so find yourself an accountability buddy. You can actually do the walking with them, so maybe that person is your partner or close friend, giving you plenty of time to chat. Or you can do the challenge alone, and your accountability buddy is someone you check in with weekly to ensure you’re both hitting your goals. It’s easy to cheat yourself, but if someone’s counting on you, you won’t want to let them down.
How John Knox Village of Central Florida Makes It Easy
John Knox Village of Central Florida’s 180-acre campus is laced with shady and sunny walkways, beautiful landscaping and a lake to gaze at, and plenty of benches and gazebos for a quick rest. Our 1,000-Mile Club promotes wellness and incentivizes seniors to prioritize their health and fitness while providing a network of like-minded seniors to hold one another accountable.
Walking is an undeniably healthy activity to incorporate into your routine, but if you’re taking up walking or any other form of exercise for the first time in a while as a serious initiative for your fitness regimen, it may be a good idea to consult your doctor to make sure you’re in a good spot to do so. At John Knox Village of Central Florida, we perform regular health evaluations when you’re on a Life Care contract, so feel free to bring this up to your primary care physician at any time. Then invest in a comfortable pair of walking shoes and get to stepping!
When you live at John Knox Village of Central Florida, you’ve got an entire community of residents and staff — nearly 800 of us — to cheer you on as you walk your way to 1,000 miles. Find out more about senior independent living at John Knox Village of Central Florida and all the activities that make living here so fun and fulfilling.