Moger: Walking one of safest exercises for seniors

Here are some safe walking tips from the Peel walk and roll program.

As a form of exercise, walking is low impact, free and can be done anywhere.

The Canadian physical activity guidelines for older adults (65+) recommends accumulating at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week to achieve health benefits and improve functional abilities.

The following are safe walking tips from the Peel walk and roll program:

• always plan your route out in advance and be prepared

• choose a safe and familiar walking route that is smooth, flat and soft surface offers less strain on your feet and joints.

• don’t wander off trails

• walk in places where you feel safe

• dress appropriately for the weather and drink plenty of water

• consider bringing a cell phone in the case of emergency

• when it’s cold outside consider walking in an indoor place like a mall, arena or community fitness centre

• consider if you’ll need to cross major streets with busy traffic—if you go alone make sure someone knows where you’re going and when you expect to return, and be aware of your surroundings

• keep your earphone volume low or wear and your earphone in only one ear

• turn your music off in situations or places where you need to be alert

• consider reflective or bright coloured clothing at night

• walk in daylight or in well-lit areas

• walk facing oncoming traffic if there is no sidewalk

• make eye contact with drivers and obey all traffic laws

• be sure to wear appropriate walking shoes—low heeled footwear and non-skid are best

• if using a walking aid like a walker or a cane be sure it is fitted to your height

• take your time and avoid rushing as this can increase your risk of falling

• stop and take frequent breaks if you’re feeling tired

• stop walking if you feel any aches or pains

• start slow, stretch your muscles and be sure to warm-up and cool down.

It also can be helpful if you consider using a pedometer, also known as step-counters, to count movements that your body makes, such as walking, jogging, running or jumping up and down.

Each one has a type of mechanism in it that counts a step when the impact of your foot striking the ground is registered.

Using a pedometer to help you measure your daily step count is an effective way to track your steps and stay on target.

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