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The Key to Aging Well May Be a Walk in the Park

older adults in the park

One undeniable fact that affects each and every person alive today is that they’re aging. No one can stop the clock. What people do have a semblance of control over is how well they age. An in-depth study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that physical activity slows down and, in some cases, prevents the development of physical disabilities as people age. Walking is one of the physical activities that’s a good fit for those who are older.
Why walking?
Most older adults desire to hold onto their independence as long as they can. Regular exercise is one way to extend their autonomy for as long as possible. Walking is ideal because it’s inexpensive, simple, low-impact and almost everyone can do it. But that’s not all. There is a whole host of other reasons for seniors to lace up their walking shoes, including:

● A reduced risk of premature death.
● A lowered risk of dying from heart disease.
● A decreased risk of colon cancer.
● A lowered risk of developing high blood pressure, as well as reducing it in those who already have it.
● A lowered risk of diabetes
● A decreased risk of hypertension.
● Controlling weight.
● Increasing muscle strength, flexibility, and balance.

Because regular exercise is linked to a healthy self-worth, making walking a part of the daily routine is also a great mental boost, an important factor due to the fact that many older people are prone to depression.
An ounce of prevention
As previously mentioned, walking can prevent some of the ailments that are common among the aging.

Much of the loss of strength and endurance that they experience is actually due to inactivity and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Walking regularly increases mobility and keeps the body flexible. One of the deciding factors in determining if a person can still live on their own is their ability to walk and to care for themselves. Better flexibility leads to better balance, which is crucial for older people.

Poor balance quite commonly leads to falls. A fall can be difficult to recover from and may require lengthy hospital stays and time spent in rehab in order to recover fully.

A full recovery is much more likely if a person has maintained a good level of physical fitness and activity.
It’s not too late
Some older adults may assume that being past their “prime” means it’s too late to make improvements in their health. The truth is, it’s never too late!

The positive effects, mental and physical, are worth the effort. While it’s important to check in with a physician and to start slow, the benefits are still too good to pass up!

Professionals recommend beginning with 10 minutes a day and slowly working up to 150 minutes per week of walking or other low-impact exercises.

Most people desire to live on their own and care for themselves as long as they possibly can. The idea of being immobile and having to depend on others for basic care can be frightening and disheartening. Taking part in a physical activity, such as walking, can give a person more years of autonomy than they would have had if they lived a largely sedentary life.

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