Good news on the fitness front: more people are walking for their health. Experts see this as a real improvement, especially in the elderly who might find it difficult to exercise.
Mary Ann Smith is almost unstoppable when it comes to her daily walk.
“I try to walk every morning after breakfast. I go three times around our building, which, they say, is about a mile,” says Smith.
She is hardly alone. More adults are taking steps to walk regularly.
In 2010, 65 percent of Americans say they walked for fitness at least once in the previous week. It adds up to a 145 million people, up from 15 million in 2005.
“It’s definitely important to move and use those muscles because at any age you can have benefits from a little exercise,” says Lee Memorial Health System certified fitness instructor Heather Parker.
Heather Parker is a fitness instructor at the Wellness Center of Cape Coral. Many of her clients are up in years, and use walking as a stepping-stone to fitness.
“We have people that come here in their 80s and they exercise for three hours a day,” says Parker.
Walking may be a wonder drug. It’s one of the simplest forms of exercise and the most beneficial. Experts believe it helps your heart, circulation, bone strength, coordination, even your brain.
“Anybody can experience these types of benefits,” says Parker.
Parker stresses starting slow, say 15 minutes, and build from there.
“You might be really tired after that. And then once your fitness level improves, you’ll feel better and more energized longer,” says Parker.
The government’s physical activity guidelines recommend 2-1/2 hours per week for a moderate pace. Smith is walking proof of the health rewards.
“I think it must’ve helped because here I am, 95 years old,” says Smith.
Proving it’s not speed but dedication that wins this race.