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October 16, 2012

Tips for Older Adults to Get into a Healthy Walking Routine

If you’'ve decided to start walking to improve your health (see our previous post), the first step is always the hardest. Start slow and increase walking time gradually. If you need a little push to get off on the right foot, these tips will help you get moving: 

  • Pick a regular walking time and set the alarm on your cell phone or watch as a reminder.
  • Invest in a good pair of walking shoes that fit comfortably, provide good arch and ankle support, have no-skid soles, and are made from breathable materials. Try the shoes on with the socks you’'ll be wearing when walking and take the shoes on a five- or 10-minute test drive around the store before you buy them.
  • If you like gadgets, you might enjoy using a high-tech fitness monitor such as Fitbit, BodyMedia FIT, or Basis Band to track your workouts. Small and lightweight, these monitors strap or clip on to your wrist, arm, or clothing, providing readouts that record steps, miles, calories, and more.
  • Stay hydrated while exercising. Soft-sided, squeezable water bottles with a closeable spout allow you to hydrate without breaking stride.
  • Trekking poles and hiking staffs are a wise safety investment if you enjoy walking in the woods or over rugged terrain. Reminiscent of ski poles, trekking poles give you two additional points of stability while walking, decreasing your risk of falling. An excellent article on choosing trekking poles and hiking staffs can be found on the REI website.
  • Smartphone apps such as Walkmeter and MapMyWalk allow you to track walking routes, speed, and distance, as well as post your results on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Join a walking club. Cleveland’s Valley Vagabonds sponsor monthly walks. The American Volkssport Association sponsors additional walking events. Kendal at Oberlin residents should check The Kendalight for scheduled hikes (weather permitting), including opportunities to “Walk with a Doc.” 

For more tips on aging successfully, download this free guide. These 11 tips will help you live a long, healthy, and happy life in your home - no matter where that may be.

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