Many of us are familiar with the health benefits associated with walking. These may range from reducing your risk of heart disease, lowering blood pressure, or boosting mental wellness and social engagement.
Most experts agree on why walking is important, but as we get older, our mobility and range of motion can become more of a challenge. This is especially true during the colder months of the year when going outdoors isn’t even an option for exercise.
If you live in an area that experiences heavy snowfall, ice accumulation, or strong winds during the winter months, you may have put your walking shoes away.
But it may surprise you to learn that you can still enjoy the health benefits of walking while you’re indoors, too! In this article, we’ll share a few tips on how to create an indoor walking program that will help strengthen your muscles, build stamina, and get you ready to hit the outdoors, once the ground thaws!
How to Start Walking Again…Indoors
One of the many reasons why people prefer getting their exercise outdoors is because you have access to fresh air, natural scenery, and plenty of room to move and challenge yourself.
The thought of walking indoors, might not sound as appealing, but believe it or not, you can keep it fun and simple. This can help ensure you don’t get bored or sustain an injury.
Here are a few indoor walking tips to help you plan your new routine:
Consult with your doctor
As with starting any new diet or exercise program, remember to always consult with your primary healthcare team! This not only helps you avoid putting any unwanted strain on your body that could cause an injury, but your doctor may also have recommendations on how to start a walking routine and provide you with some exercises to get started with.
Remember to Stretch
Stretching is just as important as the exercise itself! Always remember to stretch before walking or engaging in any type of physical activity. From your neck to your hamstrings, it’s important to practice stretching before, and after, every workout to avoid muscle injury.
Keep It Simple
Experts recommend starting out slow before diving into a 30+ minute walk. For instance, on week one, you may decide to start your walk with a 5-minute warm up, followed by a 5-minute walk, and ending with a 5-minute cool down.
Next, you may choose to increase your walking time in intervals of 2-4 minutes each week, keeping your warm-up/cool-down time the same.
This helpful chart from the Mayo Clinic outlines a walking program that utilizes this method.
Incorporate Strength Training Moves
Strength or resistance training can help you build muscle and endurance. You may decide to use a pair of light hand weights that you can lift in front of you (in an up and down motion), as you walk in place or around the house.
Some people like to incorporate controlled arm swings as they walk, as this approach allows you to strength train using your own body weight.
Just be careful not to hit your arms on anything inside the home.
A few other indoor walking tips:
- Wear the right shoes: running or walking shoes are meant to provide an extra layer of support and stability as you move. This is especially important for your knees and other joint muscles. Remember to leave your shoes on as you walk and avoid working out in flats or dress shoes.
- Drink plenty of water: remember to stay hydrated during your workout routine.
- Listen to music/podcasts: though working out is good for us, it’s not always the most exciting activity for some—especially when we’re stuck indoors. If you find yourself getting bored, or you need to keep your mind on something else as you walk in place or around the house, try adding music or listening to your favorite podcast or audiobook. Just remember to keep the focus on your movements, too!
Indoor Walking at Sweetwater
At Sweetwater, our goal is to provide every resident access to outstanding onsite amenities that allow them to stay active and social!
We offer wellness programs each week that blend aerobic activities with strengthening and balance techniques. Each program is led by our experienced Life Enrichment Coordinator.
Depending on your mobility needs, or how you like to exercise (privately or in groups), we offer a comfortable setting, onsite exercise equipment, and plenty of group-led wellness programs to help you plan your exercise routine around your schedule.
To learn more about how we work to keep residents healthy and active, contact us today!
Fun, Indoor Walking Exercise for Seniors
Before we go, we wanted to share a few Youtube videos on indoor walking that are fun, simple, and perfect for seniors looking to kickstart their indoor-walking program.
The popular mother-and-daughter duo behind the brand yes2next, for instance, creates easy-to-follow indoor-workout videos that are geared toward building strength, stability, and endurance for seniors of any age group or mobility level.
Their 10-minute indoor walking video is a great beginner program for seniors looking to build a regular routine while learning tips and techniques on posture, foot placement, arm swings, and strides.
They also offer a 15, 25, and 30-minute walking video for an added challenge—as well as a gentle stretching tutorial to try before you get started with your workout.
Just remember to consult with your primary physician before trying one of these videos at home!
Get More Senior Lifestyle Tips!
Stay connected to our senior living blog for more lifestyle tips, resources and more!