One of the best things anyone can do for their health is to walk and walk often. A new study found that running or walking 15 miles a week could help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. The American Heart Association recommends that people walk 10,000 steps—about five miles—a day to decrease their risks of heart disease and to improve overall health. While Mom might not be ready for five miles a day just yet, there are still some ways that you can help her add more walking into her routine.
1. Get Mom a Pedometer
Having a device that counts your steps for you can make it easier for Mom to reach her daily goal, whatever that goal may be. Remember, she doesn’t have to start out big. Tell her to set a goal that is easily attainable and then slowly work her way up to 10,000 steps a day. In the beginning, a pedometer is a useful tool for showing you just how many steps you get daily when you’re not paying attention. Mom may be surprised by the number; it could be a lot larger or a lot smaller than she thought it was.
The type of pedometer that Mom chooses is entirely up to her. She can go simple or fancy. Many pedometers are inexpensive, digital step counters that can be clipped onto your outfit or shoe, or put in your pocket and forgotten about the rest of the day. Wearable pedometers, made by companies like FitBit and Garmin, are more expensive, but they also supply you with other useful tools, like heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and virtual running/walking groups. Choose the pedometer that suits Mom’s needs the best.
2. Buy Mom Comfortable Walking Shoes
Comfort is one of the most important, and yet also one of the most overlooked details of a daily exercise routine. Walking in a good pair of shoes helps to prevent injuries. Mom cannot walk properly or safely if her feet hurt or if her shoes give her blisters. Buy Mom a great pair of walking shoes. They may be a little bit more expensive than regular sneakers, but neither of you will regret the investment.
To find the right pair of shoes, visit a store that specializes in running and walking shoes, like Dick’s Sporting Goods or Fleet Feet, and let them help you find the perfect pair of shoes. Everyone’s feet are different, and we all walk differently as well. These types of stores will measure Mom’s foot and watch her walk in several different pairs of shoes, and they will help you determine what fits Mom best. You may also want to consider buying shoe inserts for added support. Read more tips on how to find the perfect pair of walking shoes.
3. Walk Together
Every activity is more fun when you do it with someone you love. While you’re out finding Mom a new pedometer and the perfect pair of walking shoes, buy those items for yourself as well. Sit down with Mom and plan out walks that you will take together. You don’t have to get all of your daily steps in at the same time, and you don’t have to go anywhere fancy. Walk around the backyard or around the track at a local school. Having a set time that the both of you can meet up and walk will make the task easier and fun. If you buy the more expensive wearable pedometers, use the device’s app on your phones and join a weekly steps challenge against other friends who own the same device. Moving together is a great way to bond while staying healthy and active. Explore more easy, equipment-free exercises that you and Mom can do together.