I am part of the over 50 generation and as I think back to my childhood, I remember being active. I walked to school 6 blocks each morning, home for lunch, back to school and home after school. That would be the equivalent of about 2 miles a day. Activity didn’t stop then because after school the neighbor kids got together for informal games from kickball to ghost in the graveyard, biking and roller-skating. (It was skates then and not roller blades.) We also had recess which in the afternoon meant organized activities and just running around on the playground in the morning.
All of the above activities were enjoyable. It was not a boring exercise routine.
What changed as I became an older adult? I don’t get recess at work so that is gone and it is a bit far to walk to work each day and there is no more ghost in the graveyard.
What is the key to keeping active as an older adult? I believe the key is to find activities that you enjoy and do them and don’t be afraid to check out something new. I still like to walk during my lunch hour and on my days off and it enables me to get in shape and is a great stress reducer. Another activity I still enjoy is biking. In nice weather, it is a fun way to check out local rummage sales and keeps one from getting those big items. Winter brings the opportunity for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
The Benefits of Walking
There are countless physical activities out there, but walking has the lowest dropout rate of them all! It’s the simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health.
Ginny Nyhuis of the Alzheimer’s Association points out any activity or diet that helps your heart also reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Research has shown that the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help you:
• Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
• Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
• Improve blood lipid profile
• Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
• Enhance mental well being
• Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
• Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
• Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes
There really are so many benefits for such a simple activity!
Sole-Mate: A Friend By Your Side
The thought of being alone can be enough to keep some people from walking. The best way to solve this is by finding a friend to walk with. You can plan walking paths that are convenient for both of you, or map out routes that take you places you’ve never been before. It’s a great way to exercise and spend time with friends!
For those of you who can’t out in the winter and walk, consider checking out the Fond du Lac Senior Center’s (151 E. First Street) walking videos with Leslie Sansone each Monday and Thursday at 3:45 p.m. It is a good mile exercise routine and only a $.50 donation is requested.
Senior Wellness Coordinator
Fond du Lac Senior Center