Walking For Older People

Walking is a good way to exercise for older people as it is low impact, less strenuous and easier than many other forms of exercise. The Chief Health Officer recommends that all adults should do at least 30 minutes moderate exercise per day, but only around 15% of people aged over 65 are currently achieving this. Regular walking helps overcome some of the physical problems associated with getting older by:

  • Improving balance, co-ordination and joint flexibility.
  • Reducing the risk of falls.
  • Preventing the development of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis by strengthening bones and joints – hip fractures in over 45s could be reduced by up to 50% with regular walking.
  • Improving muscle strength, increasing confidence, stamina and energy levels.
  • Reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, dementia and confusion.
  • Improving social life. Walking is a great way of getting out and about and if you do it with friends or join a walking group, it can be a great way to socialise.

You do not have to do long hikes over hills to feel the benefits of walking. A walk to the shops or a weekend stroll is just as good. You should aim to do at least 30 minutes brisk walking a day, but this can be split down into smaller chunks, so a 15 minute walk each way to a friend’s house or three 10 minute trips will all count.

The idea of walking alone can be off-putting to many older people due to concerns about safety. If this is the case, you can join in with a number of groups and services in Somerset aimed at supporting older people to get active. See the links on the right for more information.