The health benefits of walking about 20 minutes a day are too numerous to count. Just a few of those benefits include:
Many people, however, find walking to be boring and tedious and have trouble motivating themselves to walk. Here are a few ways that you can occupy your mind while you take your daily walk:
Socialization has been found to have profound health effects. Studies show that people with larger social networks tend to suffer lower rates of dementia and other forms of memory loss. Thus, walking while socializing can provide benefits for your body and your mind.
Socialization while walking can take many forms, including:
Listening to music is not just entertaining, it has been shown to stimulate brain activity, keeping the brain fit. Significantly, music that is associated with a particular time in life or particular memories also exercise the memory, potentially staving off dementia and memory loss.
Most smartphones have the capability of streaming music over the Internet or playing back stored music. Just organizing your playlist of music for your walks can motivate you to get out and start listening.
If you wear hearing aids, some hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled so you can pair your phone with your hearing aids. This not only allows you to hear music through your hearing aids but also improves your ability to hear phone conversations. Your audiologist or hearing aid dispenser may have suggestions for Bluetooth hearing aids. If you do not wear hearing aids, wired or wireless earbuds can deliver your music and phone calls while you are exercising.
While living in a senior housing community has its benefits, sometimes you may want some time alone to meditate, pray, or just think. A relaxed mind is the opposite of an anxious and stressed mind. Anxiety and stress release hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, that can cause harmful effects to the mind and body over long periods of time. Meditation and prayer can calm the brain by reducing stress and anxiety.
Creativity is important for giving seniors a sense of purpose as well as exercising cognitive abilities. Take the opportunity to explore your surroundings and express yourself by taking pictures, composing a song, or writing a poem or novel while you walk. All smartphones have cameras and many smartphones have the capability to create digital voice recordings. You may even decide to share your artistic expressions with the other senior housing residents when you return to your senior living community.
It is never too late to learn something new. With the on-the-go mentality of today’s society, you can find many ways to learn while you walk using your smartphone, tape player, or CD player:
In addition to the walk itself, some people find motivation in the destination. About half of seniors over the age of 65 participate in volunteer work. Volunteering helps reduce depression and improves socialization by exposing you to people outside your independent housing community. Try walking to the location where you volunteer next time.
Walking is more than just stretching your legs and exploring outside your senior housing community. Walking provides unparalleled physical benefits for seniors. It can also be excellent for the mind by providing an opportunity for socialization, education, artistic expression, meditation, and entertainment. It can also provide a healthy way to reach important destinations, like opportunities to volunteer.