Walking Tips for Older Adults
Tools and Tips
Walking is the most popular form of exercise among older adults and it’s a great choice.
Walking can strengthen muscles; help prevent weight gain; lower risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis; improve balance; and lower the likelihood of falling. Before older adults plan their first walk, they should check with a health care provider.
Take these steps to walk safely:
Tell your health care provider if you have any pain or problems walking It’s important to be as healthy as possible before you start to walk, but don’t let a health problem keep you from getting started. Many people feel better once they start moving!
Plan a walking program with your health care provider If it’s been a long time since you exercised, he or she may recommend walking just one or two blocks at first, then building up slowly to 20 or 30 minutes daily. Remember, the most important thing is to just get started. You don’t have to worry about walking miles and miles. Slow and steady wins the race!
Wear the right shoes Comfortable sneakers work well for most people, but discuss this with your doctor.
Get a walking buddy Chances are you’ll stick with a walking program if you have someone to walk with.
Don’t let a cane or walker stop you It’s OK to use your cane or walker if you already have one. These can improve your balance and help take the load off painful joints.
Aim for the right pace Try to walk as fast as you can, but not too fast. You should be able to chat with a friend while walking.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other healthcare provider. Always consult your healthcare provider about your medications, symptoms, and health problems.
Last Updated March 2006