While there is still ice on the ground and the temperature hovers below freezing, walking outdoors is still prohibitive for most of us. Exercise is preventative medicine and walking, a great choice of activity. Moderate to vigorous cardiovascular exercise as a part of one’s life over a long period of time can add years to life and help you retain functional independence, maintain cognitive ability, and reduce incidents of serious illness and disease.
Look for an indoor location where you can walk. Local community centers, fitness centers, and local high schools may have indoor tracks or hallways that are open to the public. One great location to walk in is at the local mall. Weekday mornings are generally not very crowded and malls have brightly lit, long, even corridors where you can feel confident in your footing.
Tips to know:
o You can get hot and dehydrated while walking indoors. Drink lots of water.
o Walk up and down the ramps to challenge leg muscles.
o Chat with a walking companion to increase the effort of your cardio vascular system.
o Keep a steady pace, slightly faster that normal, to raise your heart rate for a more effective work out.
o Wear a good pair of walking shoes or sneakers designed for walking.
o If you are able, use the stairs as much as possible.
o Reduce risk of dying prematurely
o Decrease risk of dying from heart disease
o Decrease risk of developing colon cancer
o Reduced risk of developing high blood pressure
o Reduce blood pressure in people who already have high blood pressure
o Decrease risk of developing diabetes
o Lower risk of developing hypertension
o Increase muscle strength, flexibility and sense of balance, all of which reduce the risk of falls
o Help in controlling weight
Remember to check with your physician before you begin any exercise routine. When walking in the mall, you may want to leave your credit card at home! To learn more about the benefits of walking, log on to www.state.nj.us/health/senior/walking/index.shtml