Golden Heart’s Benefits by Bennett series!
Bennett Kopp, our Senior Fitness Advisor, publishes his first article in our new Benefits by Bennett series. “We are very excited to have Bennett’s expertise. Our mission is to keep seniors safe and healthy at home!” Laurie Malone, Managing Partner & CEO
First in our Benefits by Bennett series!
Walking, The Almost Universal Exercise
For all forms of human and animal life, the most indispensable method of transportation is walking. Most people of all genders, geographical locations, weather conditions, or economic conditions, spend much of their lives walking from one place to another. There are innumerable articles, lectures, videos, and the like discussing the benefits of walking.
Walking should be divided into three types, transportational walking, as already noted, recreational walking, and functional walking. Articles on correct walking, not simply just walking, can be worthwhile and are also available from multiple sources. Whatever the type, benefits will correlate with correctness.
The more important standard benefits of walking include improved circulation, which strengthens the heart, thereby lessoning the likelihood of heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. Also, lowered blood pressure, improved bone structure and muscle strength and flexibility. There is, in addition, increasing evidence that mental decline, including various types of dementia, is reduced by walking.
Advice on walking correctness is applicable for pure transportation or for recreational walking. The first step is good posture, “walking tall.” Look straight ahead, avoiding watching the ground. Arms should be relaxed, moving back and forth with the pace of the walk. Avoid shuffling, raise the legs slightly off the ground with the knee slightly bent as the heel hits the ground first.
As with any exercise, warm up. Do not start off at top speed. Start slowly and gradually increase to a speed that can be comfortably maintained for the desired distance. Also as with other exercises, there should be a cool-down period, gradually slowing to a starting speed. Avoidance of this process has sometimes resulted in surprising heart attacks.
In initially describing the universality of walking, the phrase “most people” was included. That is where the term “Functional Walking” becomes relevant. Many seniors, especially those in the “middle old” and “old old” groups, may find walking to be extremely difficult, and sometimes impossible. Some others, of all ages, may share that misfortune because of injuries or illness.
In those circumstances, such usual walking objectives as, pure transportation, or recreation, or socialization, become subordinated to the more serious appropriate functional exercises. They are precisely defined by a fitness professional expert, or other health providers, to foster the attainment of ADLs, (Activities of Daily Living).
There may be no need for special equipment, or there might sometimes be need for such basics as plain chairs, walkers, wheelchairs, or light weight dumbbells. A professional trainer can design a program to strengthen the entire body, with emphasis on the appropriate leg muscles, and the diligent trainee will consequently attain all possible success!
“Custodiant Icedendo” by Bennett Kopp