Active Adult Living

Fitness Walking For Active Adults

Walking is the one of the best exercises for most 55+ active adults and the most popular. Fitness walking is when you take casual walking one step further and develop a purposeful walking plan to walk faster, farther and more frequent.

You will reap more benefits in the same time spent with fitness walking. Assuming you already walk sometimes and want to take the next step, how do you develop your fitness walking program?

How to Develop a Fitness Walking Program

  1. Decide when you will be walking and schedule a time to walk at least 3 times a week. Many people like to walk every other day, so Monday, Wednesday and Friday are options. Walking in the morning is great for many because they know they will get it done, rather than trying to work walking in later in the day.  You may be walking 5 or 6 times a week before you know it.
  2. Start walking slow and build up your speed and distance over time. Maybe start with two or three miles. I like to walk for an hour a day.
  3. Vary your routine, walking harder some days and easier other days. Within the same workout, using interval training to go faster for a ways, then slower, then faster, etc. is a good practice.
  4. Get a walking buddy or join a walking group. Remember  you are doing fitness walking, not just a casual social walk.
  5. Attend some local walking events. Many if not all running events now are open to walking. They even changed the names to run/walk.  Ask your local running shoe store or better yet check and search “walking” and your location.

Why I Like Walking Events

  1. Helps get you motivated. Takes you to the next level.
  2. Challenging
  3. Competition with yourself and others in your age bracket.
  4. Helps you gauge your progress
  5. Feels great!

Many people like to walk close to home and residents of active adult communities have plenty of places to walk with sidewalks, parkways, LifePaths, and parks nearby. Parks are a nice place to walk. Check with your local senior center also as they may have a walking group. They will have an annual senior games with walking events too.

Consider your Walking Form – Walking Technique

Turning your normal walk into a fitness stride requires good posture and purposeful movements. Be mindful of how you are walking and use these walking techniques to build your fitness walking form


  1. USE GOOD POSTURE. Walk tall, Keep your chest raised, and shoulders relaxed – shoulders down, back and relaxed. Your neck, shoulders and back are relaxed, not stiffly upright
  2. HEAD LEVEL look forward (not at the ground), gazing about 20 feet ahead. Your chin should be level and your head up.
  3. BEND YOUR ARMS in slightly less than a 90 degree angle. Cup your hands gently. Swing arms front to back. Do not swing side to side – arms should not cross your body. Do not swing elbows higher than your sternum (breast bone). Swing your arms faster and your feet will follow.
  6. ROLL THRU AND PUSH OFF. Push off with your toes. Concentrate on landing on your heel, rolling through the step and pushing off with your toes. Use the natural spring of your calf muscles to propel you forward. You’re walking smoothly, rolling your foot from heel to toe.


  1. Do not over stride especially in front.
  2. Do not use too vigorous arm movements.
  3. Do not look at the ground. Keep that head up.
  4. Do not hunch your shoulders
  5. Do not carry hand weights or place weights on your ankles

Fitness walking is a fun activity as well as a great exercise that you can do for the rest of your life. Make the commitment and form the habit. You will be glad you did.

Robert Fowler,  Racewalker

Racewalking is a type of fitness walking that I practice and like a lot. Here is Ian Whatley giving the basic of how to race walk.


Book review: You’re Too Old To Die Young

Dan Zeman in his book “You’re Too Old To Die Young” points out to us baby boomers that medicine and technology has prolonged our lives but has maybe given us a false hope of prolonged quality of life.

Dan sheds a new light on the importance of physical activity. By the way, the book was written for us male baby boomers and at age 73 I could relate. 

Exercise, of lack thereof, seems to be the missing ingredient. As in the past, just living does not require much physical activity. Dan gives many examples of daily activities that we no longer have to do that us boomers will remember.  Yesteryear’s generations worked physically hard and easily exceeded today’s guideline for physical activity.

Today, as a replacement, just exercising three days a week does not do the job of replacing those activities we no longer do.  

Why is physical activity important if we don’t have to do it anymore? Because we live longer and we need to keep physically active to maintain good health and quality of life. If you thought exercise was just to live longer, you should reconsider.  It’s to help us remain healthy and able to perform the activities of daily living while living a longer life.

Dan suggests new ways of looking at exercise saying a key point is to realize the fun will not be found in the daily preparation, but with the smile that comes from the memory of completing the event. Being the leader of our community’s WALKING FOR FITNESS group I can totally relate to that observation.

Chapter 5 presents Dan’s Healthy Dirty Dozen which provides a clear picture of 14 choices you can still make to improve your health. I particularly like number 4 “Safety Measures Aren’t Just for Kids” with ideas to make us more anti-fragile.

I liked the reminder that we need both cardio and strength exercises.  In fact becoming more well-rounded in my exercise activities was advice I needed to hear. Walking is great and I do plenty of it, but doing some resistance and weights would do me good.

Dan reminds us to have fun with our exercise and gives some examples of how to do that.  We are likely to be more active if we are having fun.

Speaking about the aging male, it is pointed out that we can deal with the idea of death better than we can of living longer but not being able to take care of ourselves. Nobody wants to be totally dependent on others, especially us.  

How to remain flexible, mobile and maintaining our strength is our goal at this stage of life.  Dan tells us how to do that by redefining exercise to be fun, not boring, and at the right intensity, frequency and duration that you need.

Even if you are an exercise buff, Dan’s book will help you take a look at what you are doing now to see if it’s the best program for you at this stage of life.

Some of the best takeaways for me as a Race Walker were covered in topics like “Is it worth it?”, “How much is too much exercise?” and “Consider your exercise goals”.  

I enjoyed reading this book and recommend it to my fellow male baby boomers and think you will find it interesting and benefit as well.

Robert Fowler
Retirement Media Inc.

Dan Zeman is an Exercise Physiologist with forty years of experience in the health, wellness, fitness and sports medicine arenas. More about Dan Zeman