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Health benefits of walking for midlife women


walking shoes

Article by Joanna Hall

 
If you are in your 50’s, a wonderful opportunity exists for you and your body! However, in my experience of over 20 years of working with real women, with real lives and real health needs – many simply don’t feel like that as they may have tried many “exercise and diet” regimes over the past decades only to feel that none of them have really achieved lasting benefits.

Maybe you didn’t have enough time, you had to stop living your life the way you wanted to in order to do exercise or perhaps, most commonly, despite your efforts you never really felt you got any lasting body results.

As a Diet and Movement Specialist, my focus is on providing you with effective exercise solutions – and to me for something to be effective – it needs to be achievable, sustainable and deliver you with real body results. In all of my programmes I am committed to helping you build confidence in what you can do for yourself. I want you to experience real change and to do that all of my approaches start with getting you to use your body correctly so that you have correct postural alignment and therefore you actually contract the right muscles to achieve fitness, health and real body shape change. With this approach you can actually get greater results with less effort, which in turn makes you feel great about what you can do for yourself.

In my first contribution I want to introduce you to the amazing health benefits that you can achieve through walking. But to get these changes you need to walk with the correct technique so you get your posture correct and your use the right muscles. I’ll be talking more about how you can start to learn this over my contributions as well as how to manage your midriff, exercises to stop, start and consider at this stage of your life and importantly underpinning all of this is helping you to learn to love the way your body moves.

woman walking dogMove your body well and it’s anti aging, combats feelings of low self esteem and makes you look instantly better.

So don’t you dare think its too late – your time is now. I’ll help you love the way your body can move and learn to use it to improve your health, fitness and to manage your weight. I look forward to sharing my joy of diet and movement with you.

Be active!

To get you started let’s look at the amazing health benefits walking can give you. Walking is just about the simplest, most accessible form of exercise and with my unique technique it snow also the most effective – with my Walkactive clients walking up to 10 inches and 10 pounds off in 28 days.

Quite simply if a daily fitness walk could be packaged in a pill, it would be one of the most popular prescriptions in the world. It has so many health benefits its difficult to know where to begin. In fact you may be quite skeptical yourself having heard so many claims about this form of exercise or that form of exercise that have been the fashion over the past 50 years. But there is no disputing the facts walking can reduce the risk of many diseases — from heart attack and stroke to hip fracture and glaucoma. These may sound like claims on a dubious bottle of pills – there is no disputing the science as the benefits are backed by major research. Walking requires no prescription, the risk of side effects is very low, and the benefits are numerous, and do it correctly you significant shape change – but more about that next column. Here are just a few:

Managing your weight.

Combined with healthy eating, brisk walking is key long-lasting weight control, Analysis of the successful weight losers on the National Register of Weight Loss – 50 pounds lost and kept off for 5 years shows the most common factor to their success is near daily brisk walking. Keeping your weight within healthy limits can lower your risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis.
2 women walking
Controlling your blood pressure. Brisk walking strengthens the heart so it can pump more blood with less effort and with less pressure on the arteries. Staying fit is just as effective as some medications in keeping down blood pressure levels.

Decreasing your risk of heart attack.

 Exercise such as brisk walking for three hours a week — or just half an hour a day — is associated with a 30% to 40% lower risk of heart disease in women. (Based on the 20-year Nurses’ Health Study of 72,000 female nurses.)

Boosting the level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), known as “good” cholesterol. Physical activity helps reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) in the blood, which can cause plaque buildup along the artery walls — a major cause of heart attacks.

Lowering your risk of stroke. Regular, moderate exercise equivalent to brisk walking for an hour a day, five days a week, can cut the risk of stroke in half, according to a Harvard study of more than 11,000 men.

Reducing your risk of breast cancer and type 2 diabetes.

 The Nurses’ Health Study also links regular activity to risk reductions for both these diseases. In another study, people at high risk of diabetes cut their risk in half by combining consistent exercise like walking with lower fat intake and a 5% to 7% weight loss.

Avoiding your need for gallstone surgery. Regular walking or other physical activity lowers the risk of needing gallstone surgery by 20% to 31%, found a Harvard study of more than 60,000 women ages 40 to 65.

Protecting against hip fracture. Consistent activity diminishes the risk of hip fracture, concludes a study of more than 30,000 men and women ages 20 to 93.

The advantages go on and on. Many other studies indicate a daily brisk walk also can help:

  • Prevent depression, colon cancer, constipation, osteoporosis, and impotence
  • Lengthen lifespan
  • Lower stress levels
  • Relieve arthritis and back pain
  • Strengthen muscles, bones, and joints
  • Improve sleep
  • Elevate overall mood and sense of well-being.

So what are you waiting for as George Trevalyn has said – you have two doctors – your right leg and your left leg.
You can walk fit, walk firm and walk off weight!

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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Comments

  1. Izzy

    May 21, 2011

    Very interested in the potential to reduce blood pressure by walking. Do you have any idea how long it might take to see results?

  2. Ann

    May 5, 2012

    I am not yet 50 but 6 months post op a very successful hip replacement. I’m sure that all the walking right from day 1 has been responsible for my excellent recovery.

  3. Jacquie Manners

    September 29, 2012

    Get a dog and walk it for a mile twice day – gives you an incentive to walk as it will jump up and down until you do!

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