Older adults in Canada are more likely than any other age group to live a sedentary lifestyle. These days, nearly 70% of people aged 65 to 74 get around by car most of the time, while 5% use public transit. Even fewer – 3% – bike or walk as their primary mode of transportation. Despite its waning popularity among older adults, walking has many positives. Whether you are considering incorporating walking into your regular routine or looking for a few ways to take you walks to the next level, our suggestions below can make your walk a fun one.
Try Nordic walking
Nordic walking is a type of walking using poles that look like those used in cross country skiing. This form of walking exercise originated in Finland where it was developed as a summer conditioning program for cross-country skiers. It is beneficial in that it involves not only the muscles from your lower body, but also those from your arms and upper back to move the poles. Research has shown that Nordic walking (when compared to regular walking) burns more calories and is perceived as less strenuous.
Listen to music while you walk
When you’re walking and you hear a catchy song, does the music encourage you to step up the pace so that you’re moving in time to the beat? Listening to music while walking has been shown to help improve walking speed and “gait” (pattern and manner of walking) which are important for optimal aging. Choose music you like with a distinct and steady rhythm, making sure the volume still allows you to hear traffic and other noise around you.
Walk with someone else in your household
Walking with others can be effective at improving blood pressure, heart rate, body fat, fitness, and walking speed, among other benefits. During the pandemic, it is not recommended to gather with others outside of your household, but if you live with others, walking with those in your household can help motivate you. While on your walk, remember to maintain a safe distance of 2 meters from people outside of your household.
Use wearable technology to record performance
Wearable technologies, including simple pedometers to multi-function devices, are popular among people trying to lose weight, become fit, and improve their overall health. They can track your distance and heart rate and encourage you to be more active. If you’re an avid walker or are looking for something to keep you accountable, a wearable device could help.
Walking is a relatively easy way to stay active - it doesn’t require any fancy equipment or a gym membership to do. If you are looking for ways to make it more interesting, try Nordic walking for a full body workout, or walking to music to increase your pace. If you are looking to track your performance over time, a wearable device can help.
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