When you’re young, it’s easy to take the ability to walk without a care for granted. And when you’re older, it’s easy to feel frustrated with your slow legs and tired feet. However, think about how many miles your body has carried you over the years. It’s pretty incredible how durable our bodies are, but unfortunately, stiff muscles and sore bones are a part of the aging process. You still have plenty of adventures to enjoy, so bust out those walking shoes and practice these walking tips for seniors.
Walking Tips for Seniors
Find the Right Shoes
It’s amazing how much shoes can affect your ability to walk without pain or discomfort, so be sure to wear comfortable and supportive shoes. Talk with your doctor about which types of shoes will be the best for your feet. Your doctor might refer you to a podiatrist who can order some custom shoes designed specifically for your feet.
As we age, it’s no secret that our range of motion decreases. One way to combat the problem is to stretch. Although scientists aren’t exactly sure why stretching improves flexibility, one theory is that it retrains your nervous system to not feel pain. Your muscles and tendons have numerous nerve endings, and these nerves send a signal to your brain if a stretch feels unsafe. This could explain why people who practice yoga every day have a wider range of motion (source). Be careful not to stretch yourself too much too quickly. Start with gentle stretches before and after your workout.
Use a Walking Aid
Do you struggle with balance or joint pain? You might benefit from using a cane, a walker, a walking stick, or trekking poles. These devices can give you extra support and redistribute your body’s mass, which prevents all of your weight from pressing onto your joints and feet. Walking aids can also improve your upper back posture, which redistributes your mass evenly and reduces your risk of injury. For some, there is a stigma associated with using a walking aid, but luckily the stigma is starting to fade. A recent study found that the use of walking aids has increased by 50 percent in the last decade.
When it comes to walking, the most important thing to keep in mind is your safety. Out of all of these walking tips for seniors, this is the most important. Even a light fall can cause significant bodily damage, so take some precautions:
- Avoid rushing yourself. When you are in a hurry, it’s harder to think clearly, and you might forget to look for obstacles in your path. Walk at a comfortable pace.
- Choose a familiar route. It’s best to walk paths that you know well. Otherwise, you might end up on some rocky terrain or become lost.
- Prepare for the weather. If it’s hot out, bring water, wear sunscreen, and protect yourself from UV rays with a hat and sunglasses. If it’s cold out, dress warmly, wear shoes with traction, and be on the lookout for ice patches.
- Carry a cell phone. If you choose to walk alone, carry a cell phone with you in case an emergency occurs. This is especially important if you will be walking on a path that is not frequented by other people.
There are numerous benefits of walking every day, so take advantage of these walking tips for seniors.
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