A senior couple holding hands and walking on a beach.

The Importance of Walking for Seniors

Physical activity is incredibly important, and doctors love to stress that fact. They are correct, but exercise doesn’t need to be intense or complicated! One of the most beneficial exercises that older adults can do is walking.

The simple act of taking regular walks can:

  • increase your mobility and balance
  • strengthen your muscles
  • lower the risk of developing certain illnesses
  • lower your risk of falls

Walking isn’t just beneficial for your body. Taking walks is also a mood enhancer and can produce a natural painkilling effect. Walking decreases symptoms of stress like anxiety, fatigue, and depression. A 2021 study suggests that walking with a partner can boost both motivation to walk and its mood-enhancing benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions About Walking

How many minutes a day should senior citizens walk?

Exercise isn’t an exact science, but the CDC estimates that older adults should walk about 150 minutes per week. Of course, this is dependent on physical ability. You can split up that time however you prefer.

What time of day is best for seniors to walk?

A study from February 2023 concludes that exercising in the afternoon might be especially beneficial for seniors’ longevity.

How fast should seniors walk?

This is subjective. Levels of fitness in seniors vary across a spectrum. The best walking speed for seniors is whatever your body is comfortable with.

Walking at a moderate or vigorous pace has more health benefits than a sedate stroll, but both are good for your body.

Do seniors have to walk outside?

No, walking outside isn’t necessary. Walking anywhere offers benefits, and choosing based on preference is fine. For some, a treadmill or indoor walking exercise may be more accessible than an outdoor walk.

Walking, whether indoors or out, is better for you than not walking.

The Benefits of Walking for Seniors

Walking is good for your brain, your mind, your heart, and multiple other parts of your body. We’ve divided the benefits of walking for seniors between physical and mental. However, most of the list is good for both aspects of your health.

Physical Benefits of Walking for Seniors


People who regularly walk for at least 15 minutes 4 times a week live longer and are more healthy than their more sedentary peers.

Weight Maintenance

Walkers have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight than their peers who don’t walk.

Blood Pressure Regulation

A sustained walking habit helps to lower high blood pressure.

Decreased Risk of Serious Health Conditions

Walking reduces the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, depression, and dementia.

Improved Organ and System Health

Walking benefits the brain, heart, lungs, immune system, musculoskeletal system, vascular system, and vestibular system.

Decreased Symptoms of Chronic Pain

Walking can improve symptoms of pain, disability, quality of life, and fear avoidance.

Mental Benefits of Walking for Seniors

Two older adults walking a dog.

Natural Painkilling Effect

Exercise, even mild or moderate movement like walking, has the power to release endocannabinoid and opioid molecules. These molecules, rather than endorphins, are responsible for “runner’s high” and have a natural painkilling effect.

Natural Relaxation Effect

One study in the UK shows that mindful nature walking can improve sleep quality, increase mindfulness, and boost mood. Other studies have reported similar findings.

Decreased Symptoms of Stress

People experiencing psychological distress reported a reduction in their symptoms following a walking program.

Indoor Walking for Seniors

Spending time in nature is incredibly good for your brain, but walking outdoors isn’t always safe. Rough terrain, bad weather, air quality, mobility challenges, and other factors can make an outside stroll impossible.

Thankfully, the great outdoors isn’t the only place where you can reap the benefits of walking. We’ve found a number of different and versatile options for indoor walking for seniors.

Treadmill or Walking Pad

If you have the space and budget, one of these machines can provide a place to walk inside.

Walking in Place Exercises

Many exercise teachers have uploaded instructional videos for walking-in-place exercises. If you don’t have a large space to stretch your legs, these routines may be more accessible.

Hallway Walking

If you do have a large home or access to a large space, hallway, or mall walking may work for you.

Walking Exercises for Seniors

One of the reasons we love to recommend walking as exercise for seniors is how simple it is. All you need is your body and a bit of space. If you’re just beginning, this pre-walking exercise will help you perfect your form and walk as comfortably as possible.

Whether you’re an indoor or an outdoor walker, The Moments is full of beautiful spaces in which you can stretch your legs. Learn more about enhanced assisted living at The Moments.

Published On: March 29, 2024