Exercise is important for our overall fitness and wellness as we age. Aging can lead to mature women experiencing a decrease in muscle tone, flexibility and endurance. Exercise can help remedy these problems. However, many women don’t exercise because it is often difficult to get to the gym, or they think the only way to do it effectively is to hire a personal trainer.
But, one of the most powerful exercises for mature women is something that is often forgotten when it comes to exercises; walking. Walking can be done anytime and it does not require any special training or equipment. In addition, walking has these 5 amazing benefits for post-menopausal women.
- Strengthens bones and joints
As women go through menopause, they often lose bone density. This loss of density can result in osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to be brittle and fragile. In our midlife years our joints also, suffer. After years of overuse, joints can become worn and achy. Walking, increases the blood flow to both bones and joints and thereby increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients to these areas. The result is bone density decreases and the joints are provided more support.
- Lowers blood pressure
Hypertension becomes a problem for many women after they go through menopause. While blood pressure can often be controlled by the use of prescription drugs, walking has been shown as an additional way to reduce blood pressure. Brisk walking increases circulation, strengthens the heart, and thereby lowers blood pressure.
- Makes You Happier
One of the more prevalent side effects of menopause for older women is depression and mood swings. This can be true even if these conditions were not a problem previously. Walking seems to help in this area by helping your body release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones which produce elation or an improvement in mood.
- Boosts Your Energy
As we get older, our energy starts to wane. That easy two mile jog that you used to do every morning before work, now is taking more and more out of you to get it done. While you might not be able to do the run, you might be able to get in a brisk walk. A vigorous 30 minute walk can give you the energy to get through the rest of your day.
- Improves Your Immune Function
Aging and menopause takes a toll on our bodies. More specifically, they weaken our immune systems. It becomes easier to catch colds, viruses, and other illnesses because our natural defenses are diminished. Studies have shown that walking in its overall effect, improves our immune function and helps us fight off illness. This is especially important if your ultimate goal is longevity.
As you can see, walking has several benefits for mature post-menopausal women. It is an exercise that can be done, at your convenience or just as a part of your daily activities. A caveat, however, is that to get the maximum benefit, you should walk briskly. You can start a vigorous walking program by yourself or get support by walking with friends. However, if you decide to make vigorous walking part of an exercise program, always check with your physician first.