Walking is still one of the best exercises for all ages. It’s easy to do, and anyone who is mobile can participate. For seniors, it’s especially helpful to know walking will do your body a lot of good. Many seniors don’t have the flexibility, ability or inclination to begin a regular exercise routine; however, walking is something that can be done just about anywhere. Walking distances can be varied by the individual’s ability and stamina.

Do I Need to Walk Ten Thousand Steps a Day?

There are all types of pedometer gadgets and fitness programs that encourage you to walk 10,000 steps daily. The truth is, this number, though not altogether arbitrary, was not determined by science. It turns out that, back in the 1960s, Japanese pedometers were marketed under a name that translates into English as 10,000 step meter. It caught on with walking groups in Japan and spread to the U.S. Now, it is popular to measure walking distances in steps with the goal being to reach 10,000, daily. Translate that into miles and it’s roughly five miles a day.

For some, five miles of daily walking may seem like too much of a challenge. This is especially true for those who lead rather sedentary lives; however, to receive health benefits, your walking distances don’t need to be challenging. Walking beyond what you normally walk in a day will have benefits.

Recommended Walking Distances

Walking 10,000 steps daily will definitely produce health benefits. In fact, research has been performed to identify the benefits of making a daily five-mile hike. Women were found to have decreased blood pressure after 7 months, and those who were overweight had improved glucose levels.

As far as recommendations go, the Centers or Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests adults engage in 2-1/2 hours of moderate activity every week. This would mean a walk of 7,000 or 8,000 steps a day or 3 to 4 miles.

Generally, older adults in good physical shape walk somewhere between 2,000 and 9,000 steps daily. This translates into walking distances of 1 and 4-1/2 miles respectively. Increasing the walking distance by roughly a mile will produce health benefits. Another way to think of it is adding an extra 20 or 30 minutes to your daily walk.

Make It Easy and Fun

Grab a walking buddy or join a walking program like Silver Sneakers. It’s often more fun to walk with a friend or partner. Use a pedometer of some kind to keep track of your steps. Devices, such as the Fitbit® or Garmin®Vivofit®, will track your steps and give you a wealth of other information about your activity. Many people have found just having such a device and working to meet the daily goal on it has given them the motivation they needed to start walking and stick with it.

At Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., we encourage you to stay active and healthy. Our attorneys specialize in personal injury law, and we work to see that our clients receive full and fair compensation. We have offices located in the southwest Florida communities of Englewood, North Port, and Port Charlotte. Contact us for a complimentary consultation.