Benefits of Walking for Older Adults

Want to feel better?  Go outside and take a walk. It really is that simple.  Walking offers a variety of benefits for your health, doing everything from lowering blood pressure to relieving aches and pains.

Sometimes, though, just getting out the door can be a challenge.  This is particularly true for older adults.  Although walking requires much less special equipment than other activities, there are still several pieces of criteria that must be met.

You need a safe place to walk, and you need to know that the area will be well lit and that there won’t be any hazards in the walkway.  Many older adults have mobility challenges, and many other people live with disabilities that make physical activity a challenge.

A research team at the University of Washington talked with older adults who have mobility challenges.  They discussed their experiences and the challenges presented by their environments.  The researchers learned from the interviews that there were several issues that prevented older adults from going out to take a walk.  Those issues included the following:

  1. Absence of public transportation;
  2. Poorly lit streets;
  3. Poorly maintained sidewalks;
  4. Poorly marked intersections.

Benefits of Walking for Older Adults

Older adults are the least physically active age group.  As a result of this inactivity, they are also the most likely age group to experience chronic diseases.  According to Basia Belza, study leader and Professor of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems at the University of Washington, “People who are inactive in general have a higher incidence of chronic disease such as stroke, heart disease, arthritis.  Regular engagement in physical activities leads to better health outcomes, including improved mobility, weight loss and fewer falls. This is especially important in older adults who may already be dealing with health challenges.

With this information in mind, Belza was inspired to work with several other organizations to create a pocket guide that would inform residents of the condition of sidewalks, street lights, and transportation in their neighborhoods.

Belza stated, “The guide is a great way for people to get out in their neighborhoods and learn to be more active in general while also helping others.”  In addition to providing information, the guide encourages residents to take an active role by collaborating with their local government on ideas for improving residential walkways.

Health experts agree that walking is one of the best ways to improve overall health.  Adults themselves agree that walking is the preferred way for them to be more active physically.

Do you experience foot troubles that prevent you from being active and walking?  If so, don’t let those challenges prevent you from walking.  In many cases, there are simple solutions to foot problems.  There are lots of tools available, including arch supports, custom orthotics, and even custom shoes that can provide a great deal of support and stability while reducing your foot, leg, and back pain.

Would you like to go out for a walk through your neighborhood with a friend?  Walking is a great way to get a bit of physical activity while also relaxing, enjoying yourself, and having some good company.

All you need is a safe place to walk and a comfortable pair of shoes to wear, and off you go.  If you are struggling with foot, leg, or back pain, visit the experts at Foot Solutions.  We can help you to find a solution so that you can be active.  We will perform an evaluation and gait analysis and recommend footwear & arch support options to you based on your own individual needs.  Check out Foot Solutions today for more information.