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Walking benefits for elderly people


Walking has so many benefits for elderly people. It can improve your health and

wellbeing in many ways, and it can help one to live independently for longer.


Walking can:

  • Strengthen muscles.

  • Help keep weight steady.

  • Lower risk of heart disease, stroke, colon cancer and diabetes.

  • Strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis (regular walking could halve the number of people over 45 who fracture their hip).

  • Help reduce blood pressure in some people with hypertension.

  • Improve balance and coordination and decrease your likelihood of falling.

  • Keep joints flexible.

  • Increase confidence and mood, and help feel better all round.

  • Improve energy levels and increase stamina.

  • Reduce anxiety or depression.

  • Improve social life – walking is a great way to get out and meet people or socialise with friends.

Being able to walk without help is one of the strongest indicators of whether someone can live independently. Older people who exercise regularly are more likely to walk without assistance and do things for themselves around the house.


Exercise doesn’t need to be strenuous to be beneficial for your health. In fact, an elderly person aged over 65 should do 30 minutes of moderate activity each day.


One can choose to walk at a steady pace for longer periods, or in shorter, quicker bursts, or up and down stairs.


Before you start walking for exercise Almost every older person can do some form of exercise. But before one begin, talk to the general physician about the level of exercise that’s right. This is especially important if one has not exercised for a while.


If one has any condition or health problems, even if it doesn’t seem significant, it’s important to consult doctor for guidance. They can help choose suitable activities to match an individual’s health and fitness needs.


Some questions one may want to ask the doctor include:

  • Are there any exercises I should avoid?

  • Could any illness, operation or injury I’ve had affect how I exercise?

  • How can I exercise safely if I have high blood pressure, diabetes or

  • cardiovascular disease?

  • How can I increase my exercise gradually?

  • How can I manage any ongoing health conditions I have (such as arthritis)?

  • If doctor has concerns about a particular exercise, ask about the concerns and

  • whether there are any alternative activities. If one develops any new symptom

  • after starting to get active, see doctor straight away. New symptoms could

  • include:

  • Dizziness

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Unplanned weight loss

  • Sores that won’t heal

  • Pains anywhere in your body

  • Discontinue exercising until one has seen your doctor and worked out what is causing your symptoms.

What you will need for walking


For starters, make sure one wears correct shoes for walking. Comfortable sneakers work well for most people. If those are new shoes, try them on first to make sure they fit well and are comfortable.


If one uses a cane or a walker, don’t let that stop you either. These can improve one’s balance and help lighten the load on joints to make it easier when the individual is out and about.


If one would like support but don’t have a cane or a walker, talk to physiotherapist for help. Remember, all walking aids need adjustment, and should be properly maintained.


Walking with a friend


Walking with a friend or loved one has many benefits:

  • It makes exercise more fun.

  • It helps you make new friends, and build up friendships you already have.

  • It is harder to cancel a walk when you know you have a friend waiting for

  • you.

  • You’ll probably walk further and meet more often with a friend.

  • Walking with a friend is safer.

Adapted from:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/Walking-the-benefits-

for-older-people

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