Benefits of Walking For Seniors

Walking provides a multitude of benefits; the most obvious and well known being weight control and improved muscle tone. However, walking yields several other physical and mental advantages for people of all ages that you may not have heard of. Although rewarding for all “walks” of life (pun intended), let’s explore some walking benefits that are especially valuable to senior citizens.

Physical Benefits:

  • Strengthens bones
  • Improves balance- good balance prevents falling; a major cause of injury for people 65+
  • Lower risk of diabetes
  • Improve lung health
  • Prevents/slows glaucoma- regular walking can reduce elevated (IOP), slowing the progression of glaucoma.  
  • Improves circulation
  • Strengthens joints
 

Mental/Emotional Benefits:

Walking gives you a time for reflection and triggers endorphins, creating a more balanced mental state. According to everybodywalk.org, walking is a “mood medicine”, and recommends that it should be a part of your everyday routine. Some mental and emotional benefits of walking include:
  • Mood Boost-Exercise triggers natural “happy chemicals” called endorphins, which can alleviate feelings of depression or anxiety.   
  • Stress reduction- Your body is less efficient in responding to stress the more sedentary you are. Exercise helps by improving how your brain responds to stress.
  • Enhances creativity- Walking increases inspiration and creativity, especially when seeking a solution.
  • Improves brain health- Cardio exercise can create new brain cells and spark connections between existing brain cells, improving overall brain performance.
  • Sharpens Memory- Regular activity boosts memory and the ability to learn new things by increasing cell production in the hippocampus. Also, while not a cure, it can help slow the onset of dementia.
  • Exposes you to nature- A University of Rochester study found that exposure to nature makes people more caring and generous of others. Some scientists believe that our brains become so relaxed when in nature because humans are wired to be outside.
  • Can strengthen your relationships- Walking reduces feelings of depression, and happier people form stronger relationships. Not to mention, walking with a friend enhances your social life as well.
  So, bottom line is that people who walk regularly are happier individuals.  So, whether it be a walk around the block, park, or inside the mall, there are different options for you.

Where to Walk in Dubuque

The Dubuque area offers several places to enjoy a stroll. Just to name a few:
  • Mississippi River Walk- Take a leisurely stroll, or sit and enjoy the view!
  • Bergfeld Recreation Area- This area offers two trails. One .8mi trail circles around the pond; if you’re lucky, you may spot a Blue Heron fishing! Or, try the 1.9mi trail. Both are paved.
  • The Dubuque Arboretum- Take in the breathtaking gardens or walk on the pathed road; this place is truly a visual treat.
  • Kennedy Mall- A great place to walk in the mornings, or in inclement weather!