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Staying Fit When You Are Older

Updated on August 29, 2015

You Don't Have to Take Up Jogging!

When you get older if you don't get out and exercise you will soon find out that it becomes exceedingly more difficult to do so.

If we had all not taken our health for granted when we were young we probably would have eased into being a senior without even noticing.

But many of us soon found out that if you only used to do a bit of activity on the weekend, then it soon became harder to actually do anything that reflected "exercise!"

Image courtesy of Simon Howden /


Walking is good exercise
Walking is good exercise

Getting Back in Shape

Slowly Does It

When I was laid off in 2010 from a desk job that wasn't always a sit down job. I would go up and down 2 flights of stairs at least once a day and as many as 8 times. The job also required me to do a fair amount of walking back and forth in the warehouse. So I was actually getting a fair amount of exercise and sometimes I would also walk during lunch time.

To come back home and sit in front of a computer was not going to cut it and I knew I had to get out and start walking. Hubby had retired a few years earlier and was sitting in front of the computer too much of the time. So there had to be a change.

I could have made it up the big steep hill that we used to climb back around 1990 but had not done it since that time period. Only knew that because of the ease it was for me to go up and down the stairs at work. Took a half hour to get to the top of the hill and we made a complete circle which was about 4 miles in 70 minutes.

But unfortunately my husband had spent too many sedentary hours in front of the screen and had even difficulty walking 300 feet. It took many months for him to be able to walk a 1000 feet without stopping due to pain in his legs. He now only has pain in one leg and is able to walk about a half mile without needing to stop.

Image courtesy of nuttakit /


Finding The Correct Footwear - My choice of shoes

I have tried lots of different shoes and have always had a hard time finding ones that are comfortable. They always fit good on one foot and then the arch is wrong on the other foot. I still keep coming back to Easy Spirit as they have many widths and rarely have I found one that doesn't feel right.

If your shoe is uncomfortable when you first put it on, it is the wrong choice, of shoe for you.

DO NOT count on it to fit someday!

Easy Spirit Women's Romy Sneaker,White/Light Grey,8.5 M
Easy Spirit Women's Romy Sneaker,White/Light Grey,8.5 M


Rubber sole

Heel measures approximately 0.5"

Flexible sole

Cushioned Foam sock-liner

Salt Spring Island Maple Terrace
Salt Spring Island Maple Terrace

Where To Walk

Making it easy to do each day

It would be wonderful if we all had a great beautiful country road to walk down or even a nice lake to walk around.

But unfortunately many of us don't have that luxury. If you wait for the ideal place or make it a chore to get to, you will soon find more excuses for not taking the time to do it.

When we were able to walk to the corner and attempt to go up the big hill it became apparent that the hill was too big of a challenge for my husband. After a number of tries and being a bit disgruntled over the task, he searched for a new route. He also knew by now that he really needed to stick with the exercise program. May be the statement "I don't want to push you around in a wheelchair" helped a bit!

The new route took us into a residential area. Our own was rather short and we would have had to do it numerous times to get a half mile, besides there was dogs. The new area also had dogs and some got to be too much, even though we used a device that they could hear and didn't like. Soon the device no longer worked. We stopped going in the area, when one of the people in the area told us 2 pitbulls were lose the day before and he had called the police. A couple of days later we were headed up in the same area and a man on his way down the hill told us there was a big dog out up there. DONE, that ended our walk in that area.

So now we walk on the city street with all the traffic, but we feel safer and although it is not ideal we are walking each day for almost an hour.

The goal is to walk the whole distance without stopping other than for the two lights we use to cross the road with. When this is accomplished then the next step would be to attempt the hill. But now that I have not ventured up and down stairs in about 20 months (they did call me back to work in 2011 for 4 months) I might not do so well with the hill.

My picture of Salt Spring Island


My Husband's Choice of Shoes - Gets a perfect fit everytime

He loves the shoe because it always fits comfortable. It doesn't slip on wet floors for him. I am not sure if all the Rockport shoes are like that or not. But he has found they have great stability in the rain, which would definitely be a plus if you were worried about slipping.

Older couple, someone to walk with
Older couple, someone to walk with

Get Out Everyday and Soon It Will Be a Habit

Having someone to walk with helps

If you can find someone to walk with each day it helps to motivate you to get out there and do it. When someone else is counting on you it gives you less of a reason to use excuses. There have been days that neither one of us wanted to walk, but for the most part it was never the same day. Since we counted on each other we bundled up and off we went.

The days that are hardest to walk is either when it is too hot or too cold. Oh yes, too cloudy or raining and of course surely you could come with a few more days that are unsuitable for walking. I don't live where it snows or the roads are icy, so I rarely have a valid reason for not walking.

If it is too hot, such as in a heat wave, we get up early and take off as soon as possible. This has been working out well, as we are back before 9:00 AM.

I know an elderly man who walks his little dog before 7 each morning. Later on he goes to one of the stores to pick up some groceries just about everyday. He is a little slow, but at least he is out there getting exercise each day.

Image courtesy of PhotoStock /


Treasures on the ground
Treasures on the ground

Surprises About Walking

You just never know what you will find!

We have all heard about the health benefits of walking so I won't discuss that here.

On our walks we have met folks that we never would have if we never ventured out by foot. It has given us an opportunity to learn a lot of interesting things about others and our community.

We have found coins that have been dropped. Hubby has convinced me to quit picking up pennies, so I am refraining from doing that, but nickels, dimes and quarters are fair game. We once found a $20 bill and a wrench. Today we found a clip the kind we are missing on our hand truck so hopefully it will fit. So there are a number of surprises awaiting out there if you get out and walk.

Image by Presenter Media and my artistic flair


Time to Vote - What is your opinion about walking?

Walking opinion poll vote
Walking opinion poll vote

Do you like to walk for exercise?

See results

Be Inspired - Learn more about walking and make it fun

Make this a life time choice, your body will thank you for it!

Leslie Sansone - Older Adults Walk & Firm
Leslie Sansone - Older Adults Walk & Firm

Simple & effective walking & firming moves at a safe and comfortable pace. An excellent program for older adults, based on proven firmong exercises that keep muscles strong, boost your metabolism and increase your energy.

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Image Stabilized Zoom 25mm Wide-Angle Lens and 1080p Full-HD Video (Black) (OLD MODEL)
Canon PowerShot SX260 HS 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Image Stabilized Zoom 25mm Wide-Angle Lens and 1080p Full-HD Video (Black) (OLD MODEL)

If you get to walk in an interesting area, why not take some shots. You never know how fast time goes by if you are on an adventure.


What Do You Think?

Do you think it is better for older people to stay fit by walking?

Your Comment is Appreciated - What do you think about walking to stay fit?

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    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      4 years ago from California

      @sha-ron: Ah yes, it takes a bit to get us out doesn't it. I find that having hubby to walk with helps as we are counting on each other to go. It is so easy to come up with excuses, I suppose only valid if it is raining out (I live in California, so have no other excuse). Of course if the excuse is doing yard work that takes longer would also be valid, which we have substituted for the walk. Having a walking buddy makes a person more likely to stick with it. Thanks for taking the time to visit.

    • sha-ron profile image


      4 years ago

      I am not doing enough walking. I do go for walks taking photos of birds, although not often enough and yes my legs are starting to creak and not want to work bending up and down like they used to 50 years ago. Nice lens

    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      4 years ago from California

      @Peggy Ingalls: Running up and down stairs can definitely keep you in shape. My last job had me running up and down two flights of stairs anywhere from 2 to 8 times a day. Never realized how much of a work out it was until I wasn't working there anymore and tried walking up a hill, it was much easier than I had once experienced years earlier.

    • Peggy Ingalls profile image

      Maggie Crooks 

      4 years ago from Purgitsville, WV

      Right now it's too cold for me to walk outside, but I have a 2-story house, so I get quite a bit of exercise running up and down stairs. When it warms up I will be walking most days.

    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      @endamclarnon: Absolutely, walking is really important to feeling better. I try to walk for an hour and I knew I needed to get out there when I quit working. You just spend too much time sitting and pretty soon you can't walk at all. Everything begins to ache. My biggest challenge now is trying to pick a route with the least amount of obstacles (such as cars trying to run over us!).

    • endamclarnon profile image

      Enda McLarnon 

      5 years ago from Belfast, Ireland

      When I worked I walked quite a bit and then when I retired I started to get lazy and sat around the house more than I should have. I decided one day to take a 30 minute walk each day. Since then I would not miss it for the world. I feel 100% better, have met many new people and seen many different places. If you can, get out there and walk.

    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      @tonyleather: I have arthritis in my hands, but it seems to becoming less of a problem. I have been trying alternative methods. Magnesium citrate liquid for rubbing on my achy joints. Baking soda. Turmeric in hot water. I am all for anything that doesn't require a prescription. I would find it a real hardship not to be able to go for a walk. Good luck, as I know many people suffer from this.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      My rheumatoid Arthritis makes any exercise difficult, to say the least!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      5 years ago from Vermont

      I prefer walking outdoors but when the weather is bad I walk at the mall or on a treadmill.

    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      @favored: They are the only ones that seem to fit my arches. Other kinds I have one shoe that fits great and the other does not. Thank you for dropping by.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      5 years ago from USA

      Walking is a great way to stay fit. I like Easy Spirit shoes ... so comfortable.

    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      @johnrh1: The one thing I like about walking is that it is not stressful on your joints and you can do it all your life. Many older people just need to get out and walk, even if it is a short distance as you can soon build up to a longer distance. Thank you for your comment.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I stress the importance of cardiovascular exercise all the time....and I think walking is the most beneficial out of all of them, both mentally and physically. Very good lens, I really enjoyed it :)

    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      @darkflowers: I don't have any dogs to walk, but am glad my husband is willing to walk. Especially since we were out walking last month and I fell down (tripped getting on to the sidewalk). He was there to escort me back to the house. Now sporting a bright pint cast on my wrist and will do for quite sometime. It would be easy to be gripped with fear to not continue walking but I know if I can keep in the upright position, it is actually much healthier to walk.

    • darkflowers profile image

      Anja Toetenel 

      5 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      I walk my 3 dogs 4 times a day so I definitely agree on the fact that walking is so good for you as well as doing other kinds of exercises! Nice Lens!

    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      @Namsak: If you do hillwalking then you would be getting a better workout for less the time. I am not fond of hills but many years ago I did walk up a hill and was in pretty good shape. Should have never quit, but I try everyday to get out and walk. I agree never let your mind go to waste. I am always trying to learn new things that require some brain power. Don't waste much time on computer games, I would rather watch a psychology lecture. Thank you for your comment.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I don't get much exercise at work so my outlet for exercise is hillwalking which I do as much of as I can which, of course, is not as much as I would like! You are right - an active body and an active mind are what will keep you young.

    • blestman lm profile image

      blestman lm 

      5 years ago

      I have a dog so I walk everyday. Someone told me that if your dog is too fat YOU need more exercise. I have taken that to heart.

    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      @Gayle Dowell: I have always loved to walk even as a kid. Tried running for practice when I was young but was never that fast, that could be what turned me off of running. I had a fall the other week at the start of my walk, a stupid move on my part and now I have experienced my first broken bones. Ugh! Took me a few days to venture out again, at least it was only my wrist that got broke. Find the walk very refreshing for the rest of the day's tasks. Than you for you comment.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 

      5 years ago from Kansas

      I love walking! I started jogging when I was 49. I never liked to run, but felt like I needed to start a more rigorous form of regular exercise. After the initial few months of making it a habit, I enjoy running and even look forward to my next running session.

    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      @Erin Mellor: Walking for me does not even feel like I am exercising. Walking is something we all need to do, so it is good if we can keep in practice by including as part of our daily routine. Thank you for your comment.

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 

      5 years ago from Europe

      The great thing about getting out and walking, is that you're outdoors and enjoying the fresh air, rather than being stuck in a gym, and you get to meet your neighbors and chat.

    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      @othellos: Thank you for the comment. One is as young as they feel and imagine. Have a great day.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Excellent lens on a topic that can help a lot of people. Really beautiful lens with lots of interesting content.

    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      @SheilaMilne: When I was a kid I lived by the ocean and spent much time going up and down along the beach. I got plenty of exercise when I was a kid. It sure is much nicer if one has a good environment to walk in. With a safe and fun place to walk it is easier to get out everyday.

    • SheilaMilne profile image


      5 years ago from Kent, UK

      I am fortunate to live beside the sea so a walk along the beach is easy for me. Even better, the route takes me into town where I can do a little shopping so I find myself walking almost every day. Added to that, I do two organised walks each week, an hour/ hour and a half each. I feel the better for it and miss it if I can't go.

    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      @julieannbrady: Staying fit helps to keep you young. Age is only a number and with all the conveniences of life we do need to keep active. It is so easy to jump in a car and go to the store when you could actually walk there. I try to get out from behind the computer screen more often and find activities that require some bending and walking or lifting.

    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      @Judy Filarecki: With that much activity I bet you do feel fantastic. So many just don't get out there and do much walking or anything else for that matter and then wonder why they ache all the time.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Well, I am older, but don't tell anyone OK? Each weekday, I go to Bailey's for at least a one hour workout starting with a half hour on the treadmill. Then, I ride my bicycle back home and head out into my yard to do yardwork. I would say that I am in excellent shape with all the walking I do; plus other things!

    • Judy Filarecki profile image

      Judy Filarecki 

      5 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      I walk an hour most days of the week and over the past year and a half I have added 4 days of tennis and 2 days of line dancing. At 71 years old, I feel better than I did at 31.

    • Mary Stephenson profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      @alternative-help: Walking is so much easier on the body and when you walk you can enjoy nature. Never did like running. I know some that did jogging and then they injury their knees and get laid up for quite awhile, besides you really don't see anything if you are running. Thank you for leaving a comment.

    • alternative-help profile image


      5 years ago

      While I like to think of myself as young ;) I do love to walk. Especially in the woods.


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