Why Power Walking is So Good for Seniors
Senior fitness programs are one of the most overlooked aspects of the health and wellness industry. It can feel depressing to see so little information available on the best workout programs for older individuals. Luckily, Fitscope is here to help by breaking down which workout programs are best for seniors, including power walking. Read on to learn why power walking is so great for seniors and how to get the most out of a power walking workout.
Power walking offers numerous benefits for those who take it up as a workout program. Some of those benefits include:
When most people think of cardio, they envision spending hours running or completing aerobic videos; however, cardio workouts take a plethora of different forms. Power walking is one of the most overlooked ways to squeeze in a cardio workout; however, it can pack a powerful calorie burn when practiced correctly. In addition to helping people manage their weight, it also offers people the same heart-pumping, lung expanding, stamina building workout those other cardio methods provide.
Strength training can help fight off numerous health conditions, including osteoporosis and muscle atrophy; however, using heavy weights at the gym might not be possible for everyone. While strength training likely isn’t the first thing people think of when they hear “power walking,” the cardio method actually provides people with an excellent strength training workout, especially when the incline is raised. When properly power walking, exercisers target their leg and butt muscles, creating a strong and powerful strength training workout in addition to the cardio benefits.
As people get older, their joints can start to hurt or get damaged due to a number of health conditions. This can make workout methods like jogging and running extremely painful, and who wants to work out if it causes them constant pain? The best way to work out once joint issues set in is with low-impact exercises, including power walking. Power walking puts significantly less pressure on the knees, ankles and hips, preventing pain. Low-impact exercise also allows people to work out for longer amounts of time than other exercises due to fewer effects on the joints in addition to preventing more damage.
Numerous Health Benefits
Power walking offers numerous benefits to people of all ages, including:
· Improved heart health
· Reduced pain
· Improved mental health
· Improved lung capacity
· Increased stamina
· Improved immune system
· Lowering the risk of certain health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and stroke
· Improved muscle strength
· Improved balance
· Improved joint flexibility
· Improved sleep
These are just some of the benefits that power walking can provide to seniors, with many power walkers reporting other health benefits as well. To get the most out of power walking, it’s important to do the exercise correctly and regularly for maximum health benefits.
Easy to Do
A lot of exercise machines are simply intimidating to use, let alone purchase. From heavy machinery to a seemingly endless number of settings, machines can feel complicated. With power walking, anyone can complete the exercise without worrying about special equipment. This article will discuss the ins and outs of properly power walking a bit later; however, it can be equipment-free, unless one decides to utilize treadmill walking, and simply requires proper arm movements and deliberate movements.
Many workout methods require a fair amount of specialized equipment, ranging from specific clothing items to expensive equipment. Fitscope understands that not everyone wants an extensive home gym in their home, and that’s where power walking shines. The only equipment someone needs to get walking is a pair of shoes, comfy clothes and a good pair of tennis shoes. However, those who want a more intensive workout program should consider investing in a treadmill as well (click here for our picks on the best low-cost treadmills). Treadmill walking can help exercisers burn more calories when power walking due to the easy adjustments of the speed and incline, letting exercisers feel the burn no matter what the weather looks like outside.
Great for Cross-Training
Cross-training has taken the world by storm, and power walking is an excellent exercise method to add to any workout regime. Cross-training simply means that an exerciser is adding more than one workout method to their routine—usually some form(s) of strength training while differentiating between cardio methods (although this is not required). Power walking lets one cross-train while working out, meaning no one has to create two separate workout routines. The most popular method most people use when cross-training while power walking is to use a pair of dumbbells. Simply pump the arms to get an excellent arm workout squeezed in.
How to Power Walk Properly
The benefits of power walking sound (and are) great, however, now is the time to learn how to properly power walk. Far too often, people think it’s simply walking; however, there’s much more to power walking to get the most benefits from the exercise method.
Talk to Your Doctor
Before beginning this or any other exercise routine, it’s important to talk to your doctor to get clearance to powerwalk. Some people may be given the go-ahead without dumbbells or told to limit the amount of time they walk. Your doctor will know which routine will work well with your body.
Move Your Arms
When most people walk, they simply keep their arms to their sides. While this is fine when walking in the city, it’s not great for power walking. The key to effective power walking is to move the arms when working out. By holding them at a 90-degree angle and pumping them with each step, the person working out is getting the full benefits of the workout. When dumbbells or resistance bands are added to the routine, power walking becomes a wonderfully effective strength training and cardio workout in one. However, even without weights, exercisers will still get a great workout even without weights.
Consider a Heartrate Monitor
The body is a magical thing, but it also relies heavily on certain formulas to stay working properly. A heart rate monitor ensures that the person working out is staying within their fat-burning zone, that magical number of beats per minute that mean the body is burning the most fat. The thing to remember is that there’s no right number for each body—every age is different. To calculate the fat-burning zone, exercisers need to be within 64-76% of their maximum heart rate. This is accomplished by subtracting their age from 220 and multiplying it by .64-.76. So, for example, a seventy-year-old will be at 75-128 bpm, meaning that’s when they’ll burn the most fat.
While it’s really tempting to walk and talk with a friend or family member, if they’re a Chatty Cathy, it might be better to work out with them more sparingly. When working out, it is important to remain focused throughout the entire routine. This lets the exerciser focus on their posture, arm movement and taking powerful steps throughout the program.
When most people walk, they tend to simply step rather lightly; however, this method isn’t going to help anyone looking to power walk. Instead, people who are taking up power walking should look to make sure each step is powerful (although not stomping) to get the most benefits. A powerful step will utilize the butt, hips and entire leg to propel the exerciser along. By taking powerful steps, exercisers will workout smarter.
The great thing about power walking is that it can be completed anywhere, so it’s important to come up with a plan that’s usable in everyday life. For example, if someone visits their grandchildren often, it’s great to plan a power walking routine that can be done almost anywhere, even when a treadmill isn’t accessible. Furthermore, because power walking is easy to do and a joint-friendly workout, many seniors find that younger family members are happy to join their workouts as well. By tailoring a power walking routine to their lifestyle, exercisers are more likely to stick with the routine.
Power walking offers numerous benefits for seniors looking for a low-impact workout routine. From giving exercisers a powerful cardio and strength training workout to providing benefits including lowering the risk of heart attack or stroke, power walking is an excellent exercise method for those looking to lose weight and stay fit while protecting their joints. The key to power walking is to remember to pump the arms and walk with powerful strides to get the most out of the workout. With proper execution, people who are just beginning power walking will have an excellent routine in no time.
Ready to start your power walking workout program? Fitscope offers online studio classes for ellipticals, cycling, strength training, HIIT workouts, Tai-Chi, rowing machines, air bikes and treadmills to allow seniors to vary their workouts while obtaining maximum benefits. You’ll get the body of your dreams quicker than ever while being guided by fitness professionals who know how to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter what age you are. Click here to learn more and receive a free one-week trial.