We all know walking is one of the safest, healthiest exercises we can do.
Walking is low-impact and plays a significant role in maintaining mobility, especially among older adults. It also helps prevent health risks, such as high blood pressure and loss of muscle and bone mass, that come with a sedentary lifestyle. Research indicates it may improve thinking skills and actively prevent cognitive loss. There’s even evidence walking may prevent depression.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises adults to exercise at moderate intensity a minimum of 150 minutes each week. A fast walk that has you breathing faster but not out of breath will meet these requirements.
So why don’t we walk more?
There are 101 reasons why people don’t make walking a regular part of their routine, but one reason is that those who have only one nearby path find themselves bored.
Never Get Bored While Walking
Here are some ideas to make sure your walk is never boring:
—Listen to music while you walk.
—Learn while you walk with a podcast or audiobook.
—Walk with a friend or relative.
—Join a walking club. At Sugar Hill Retirement Community, the resident walking club hikes nearby trails.
—Talk with a friend on the phone as you walk.
—Train for a 1K or 5K. Some people get motivated when they have a goal in mind.
—Change your stride. Walk sideways or diagonally. Skip. Walk with lunges. Dance while walking.
—Play games. Challenge yourself to complete the distance from one tree to another in 15 giant strides. Or jog for one minute every time you see a bluebird.
—Participate in a scavenger hunt. For example, Wild Outdoor Wolfeboro gives you points for completing activities, several of which include walking.
—Geocache. Geocaching challenges you to find caches of items by following instructions. It’s a great way to explore new areas.
—Explore different paths. Sugar Hill Retirement Community has 2 miles of walking paths. Traillink has a list of walking paths near Wolfeboro. The 8.1-mile Cotton Valley Rail-Trail is very popular. For a shorter path, try the ½-mile Bridge Falls Path, which links to the Cotton Valley Trail.
Make Walking Part of Your Routine
Many people walk when the weather’s nice but get out of the habit when it rains or gets cold. Walking never becomes part of their routine, so it’s easy to skip it.
Rain or snow should never prevent you from walking. The health benefits you derive from walking outweigh any problems caused by inclement weather. Wear comfortable, weather-appropriate footwear and clothing.
If you feel uncomfortable walking in bad weather, try these ideas to walk inside:
—If there’s a mall nearby, walk there.
—Some schools have opened up their hallways for walkers before and after classes and on weekends. Ask at a local school.
—Go to the grocery store and, instead of getting all your produce from the produce section, get only one item in each section. You’ll find yourself traveling all over the store by the time you’ve completed your shopping.
—If your home has stairs, walk up and down.
—Walk in place during commercial breaks on your TV.
—If your mailbox is a distance from your front door, walk.
—Join a gym and use the stepper or treadmill.
Sugar Hill Encourages Fitness
With nature and walking paths, fitness classes, and activities galore, Sugar Hill Retirement Community residents have plenty of opportunities to surpass the Health and Human Services guidelines for physical activity. And, with Robert Smith as life enrichment coordinator, the community is developing even more. Experience Sugar Hill by calling (603) 569-8485 or scheduling a tour online.