There is walking because you have to in order to get from A to B and there is walking because you realize how it can have a positive impact on your life. No matter who you are or what sort of life you led, walking on purpose for health and fitness is for saints and sinners alike.
Everyone deserves to have the opportunity to do all they can to enjoy the quality of life as they age. If you have lived a good life, you can add years to your amazing life. In the event you have left things undone, extending your life through walking with purpose affords you more years to make amends. And it’s never too late for that.
THE NATURAL ACT OF WALKING
Of all the physical human traits the average person is bestowed with, few are more natural than the act of walking and running. Since the beginning of time, walking has been mankind’s go-to source of locomotion when all else fails.
Most of us start walking when we are not much more than a year old. Crawling turned into walking and then morphed into running. Nothing is more natural in childhood than the act of movement and it should be just as relevant and natural in our senior years.
As mankind progressed on so many fronts, walking fell by the wayside as a faster means of getting ourselves from one place to another took the world by storm. Horses were the main source of transportation for centuries.
Since then mankind has seen the advent of cars, trucks, planes, boats, trains, and countless other energy-saving modes of transportation. But really, has saving energy by not having to walk been all then good for us over the millennia?
Not so much.
HEALTH HAS FALLEN BY THE WAYSIDE
Sure, there are those people who get it and walk a lot. They work on their feet all day and go jogging or hiking on a regular basis. Many will have a treadmill parked in their home for those cold or rainy days.
They walk instead of taking the bus or a taxi whenever feasible. They don’t take the car to go four blocks to the store. They start out with purpose and let their feet carry them there. But for the most part, people have given in to more convenient and less physically demanding methods of getting where they want to go.
Unfortunately, this way of living life can lead to all sorts of health and fitness issues. It’s no secret that obesity and lack of fitness is pretty much epidemic in North America. For every person who pays attention to their health and well-being, there are probably hundreds who don’t.
This can have serious ramifications as we age and reach our senior years. Seniors who are unfit leave themselves open to a host of diseases. Yet, because our bodies are so versatile and ready to react positively to any semblance of fitness, its never too late to change the way we think and act.
It’s never too late to take your life in a new and healthier direction by simply adding a daily walking or running routine to your everyday life. Nothing could be more natural or more beneficial than the simple act of constantly moving under our own power.
WALK WITH PURPOSE
The key is to set up a program that includes walking certain distances as a means to an end. In other words, you’re not just ambling outside with the garbage or to get the newspaper.
You’re not just walking to your car for the drive to work. What you really want to do is walk a set distance at a brisk pace with a sense of purpose. Your goal is to work your heart, lungs, and muscles in order to ensure they become stronger and more efficient.
Of course, everyone enjoys a different level of fitness. Some people are slim and strong, and some are obese and weak. None of that really matters. What matters is when you set up a walking program that works for you.
The key is to walk with a speed and distance that is challenging yet attainable with a little extra effort. Challenging your body to do more is one of the most essential keys to improving overall health.
Give your body a chance. Challenge it to become fitter and stronger through your fitness efforts and it will be happy to oblige. Actually, it will be much more than just happy for your efforts. In its own way, it will thank you for looking after it.
It will do everything in its power to become stronger and more vibrant in order to meet the new demands you are placing on it. You are the master of your body and through a simple act like walking with a purpose, you are demanding change for the better.
WALK SLOW, WALK FAST
It’s no secret that our caveman ancestors ran and walked in short bursts when they were on the hunt. They would rest and then walk or run some more. It was almost like interval training and interval training is excellent for heart health.
As you walk or run at varying speeds and distances you are strengthening your heart. We should never forget that our heart is a muscle that needs to be challenged in order to stay healthy and strong.
If you are beginning a walking program for the first time its best to walk around your own block so you are always close to home. This is especially important if you are perhaps unfit or have considerable weight to lose.
Eventually, you will become fitter and can increase the number of times you walk around the block. As your confidence and ability to keep right on moving improves, you can begin to plan walks that take you further from home.
There are seniors who will take off on a sunny morning and walk for miles. They stop to visit someone, or perhaps have lunch and make a day of it. By the time they get home, they have walked for miles and have had an amazing workout that didn’t feel like a workout at all. Staying fit does not have to be onerous or lonely.
There are many seniors who meet in big malls in the cold winter months and mall walk for miles. Not only are they improving their fitness, but they are also adding fun and participation in their social life. A brisk walk, followed by coffee or lunch can be a great way to spend part of your day.
PLAN YOUR WALK
In the event, you are planning to walk for a long distance and an extended period, be sure you pack the essentials along with you. A small backpack would be ideal for your cell phone, money, food, water, and extra clothing in case the weather changes.
For some people, their walk might actually be a hike through a forest trail or a walking holiday in a far off country. Walking is different things to different people.
It’s easy to put walking on the back burner and get swept up by the conveniences of everyday life. It’s important to actually plan your walks so they become part of your weekly routine.
Fitness is not something that should be ignored for long periods of time. For a while, you can probably get away with the attitude that there is always next week or next year to begin thinking about your health and fitness.
In reality, today is the time to start thinking about it, because the years pass quickly and the sooner you start, the sooner you will improve your health, quality of life and longevity.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE
It’s never too late to get a handle on your health and fitness. It doesn’t matter who you are, any effort to become fit will be rewarded in many ways. Yes indeed, its never too late to enjoy the rewards of immeasurable health benefits as we move forward, ever forward.
The biggest step is the one then begins your journey to a better quality of life. Sometimes its the hardest step, but once you begin moving and start walking toward a healthier lifestyle you’ll never want to turn back.
You will never want to rejoin the ranks of the unit once you realize how great being fit makes you feel.
No matter what you have done over the years of your life, walking on purpose for health and fitness is for saints and sinners alike and will change the course of your life for the better for as long as you live.
If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also enjoy my book Seniors On The Move. It has inspired many seniors to adopt a new lifestyle of health and fitness.
ALSO READ: Walking shoes for seniors
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