Category:
Caregiving

OAWH: Older Adults and Walking for Health

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 Older adults should take part in at least 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous activity each week. A walking program is an inexpensive, easy and convenient way to improve overall well-being and to enhance quality of life.

 

What are the Benefits of Walking?

Increasing physical activity through walking can help with:

  • decreasing blood glucose levels
  • decreasing systolic blood pressure
  • reducing the risk of coronary heart disease
  • reducing high cholesterol
  • bone density
  • flexibility
  • osteoarthritis

Older adults should take part in at least 2.5 hours of moderate  to vigorous activity each week. A walking program is an  inexpensive, easy and convenient way to improve overall  well-being and to enhance quality of life.  

What are the Benefits of Walking?

Increasing physical activity through walking can help with:

  • decreasing blood glucose levels  
  • decreasing systolic blood pressure
  • reducing the risk of coronary heart disease
  • reducing high cholesterol
  • reducing body fat
  • bone density
  • flexibility
  • osteoarthritis

What is a pedometer?

  • a device that tracks number of steps taken
  • some pedometers simply measure steps
  • some pedometers track distance walked and calories burned

What Does a Pedometer Do?  

  • provides immediate feedback on number of steps taken • measures current activity level
  • assists in tracking and setting goals over time to help  increase physical activity

What are the Limitations of a Pedometer?

  • does not measure intensity of physical activity
  • does not measure duration of physical activity

Using a Pedometer

  • test pedometer: clip on belt, walk twenty steps, stop and  check pedometer for accuracy
  • wear pedometer for one week  
  • track and record step count at end of each day
  • after seven days add daily steps and divide total number  of steps from that week by seven  
  • this number is the baseline number of steps needed for  walking program

Recommendations for Daily Step Goals1

The average sedentary North American accumulates approximately  3,500 – 5,000 steps each day. Research suggests that, in general,  the average North American should increase their daily walking  activity to approximately 7,000 – 10,000 per day. The guide below  will help determine an individual’s current activity level based on  their daily walking activity.

If total daily steps are:

  • under 5,000 per day - categorized as having a sedentary lifestyle
  • between 5,000 & 7,499 per day - categorized as “low active”
  • between 7,500 & 9,999 - categorized as “somewhat active” • 12,500 or more - categorized as “highly active”

1 Government of Ontario, Active 2010 (2005). Using Your Pedometer.

Starting a Walking Program

Prior to beginning a walking program an assessment of physical  readiness from a regulated health professional is strongly  recommended. A health professional can recommend a walking  program tailored according to the limitations imposed by chronic  disease or disability.

Km goal: start at Week 1 with about 2 km and work up to about  8 km by Week 10

Steps per day using pedometer: establish baseline.  Increase number of steps by 500 each week until goal reached.

Click on the link below for printable worksheets.

You should not rely on this pocket tool for financial or legal advice. It provides general information only. NICE is not responsible for any use of the information other than for general educational/informational purposes and no claim can be made against NICE or any of its personnel for any such use.
National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE)
246 Bloor Street West, Room 234
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1V4, Canada