by Judy Bortman, TransOptions
We’re living in an unusual time that has introduced a new term to our vocabulary, “Social Distancing.” It is a strategy to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus by maintaining at least a six-foot distance from another person. As a result, people are spending more time inside and not being as active.
With the arrival of milder spring temperatures, more daylight hours and “cabin fever” setting in, this is an ideal time to take a break and head outside. Almost overnight, walking outdoors has experienced a renaissance as a safe form of social distancing. More and more people are becoming converts to this free, healthy and readily available activity.
If you already walk regularly, keep up the good work. If you’re really ready to get out of the house, now is the ideal time to begin. Just going around the block is a great start. You’ll reap extra befits, too.
Walking can help you:
• Reduce stress
• Sleep better
• Improve your mood, memory, learning ability and concentration
• Lower the risk of chronic disease
• Lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and strengthen bones
• Contribute to longevity
The CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends moderate walking just 30 minutes per day for five days a week (a total of 150 minutes per week) to sustain your well-being and longevity. Even better, the thirty minutes of walking can be done throughout the day and still be just as effective.
If you are an older adult who is still driving, walking has an extra bonus. It can help you keep driving longer! A short, brisk daily walk can help you stay mentally and physically flexible. A study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that weekly exercise and stretching can improve safe driving abilities and keep older adults on the road longer. Being able to drive also helps you enhance your quality of life by maintaining your independence.
Regardless of your motivation, speed or purpose, it’s easy to reap the benefits of walking. Just step outside and start moving. All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes!
Judy Bortman is an avid walker and a Marketing Specialist at TransOptions. She is a longstanding advocate for helping older adult pedestrians and motorists stay safe and mobile.
TransOptions, Inc. http://www.transoptions.org (973-267-7600) is a Transportation Management Association that delivers programs to improve mobility, the environment and overall quality of life in northwestern New Jersey.