Why walking is life-changing for women over 50s

Why walking is life-changing for any woman over fifties? 

Fall in love with walking for a healthier you, keep the buzz and joy over the fifties! 

Walking is good for your mind and soul, is free, simple, one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier, and doesn’t require any special equipment or training. 

Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduces excess body fat, the risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers, and boost muscle power and endurance. 

And to don’t forget that walking is our second nature, this was the first activity for humans since we came upon Earth! 

We can grow older yet keep our mind, body, and soul healthy with simple healthy aging care and habits for very long and happy life. 

Walking group life-changing
Walking group - Pixabay Chulmin Park

Wonder what is walking? 

Walking is a life-changing activity, a great way to maintain or improve our overall health, fitness level, and well-being, an easy form of physical activity, low impact, requires minimal equipment, can be done at any time of day, at any age, and can be performed at your own pace. 

Who can go walking? 

Anyone able to walk, no matter the age, has no joints issue or a medical condition that does not allow walking. 

Walking is also beneficial for people with prosthesis or in wheelchairs. 

Walking is an effective form of exercise for people who are overweight, elderly, who cannot leave the house or haven’t exercised in a long time - that have the option to watch free walking exercise videos from the comfort of their homes, 
Yet for people over 50 years, are overweight or haven’t exercised in a long time it is recommended to see a doctor for a medical check-up before starting a new fitness program, even as easy and simple as walking. 

How much walking is good for you? 

Surprise! Walking is free, and can be done for as long as you enjoy it and feel comfortable at that time. 

Nordic walking women
Nordic walking - Pixabay 5598375

Why walking? - 17 amazing walking benefits for healthy aging 

1. Enjoy a longer life span - studies shown that women who exercise regularly, especially after the fifties, are 35% less likely to die over the next 8 years, and their general health gets improved. 

2. Improved blood circulation - walking reduces the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) and developing heart disease and stroke, as it brings up the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and strengthens the heart. 
Researchers said that post-menopausal women who walk or do other physical exercises for 30 minutes a day can lower their blood pressure and reduce their risk of stroke by 20%. 
It also lowers the risk of blood clots, since the calf acts as a venous pump, contracting and pumping blood from the feet and legs back to the heart, reducing the load on the heart. 

3. Minimized the risk of high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers. 

4. Strengthen bones - walking can stop the loss of bone mass for those with osteoporosis; 30 minutes of walking each day reduces the risk of hip fractures by 40%. 

5. Improved mood and balance - walking releases natural pain-killing endorphins to the body, and the more steps you take during the day, the better your mood becomes. 

6. Weight loss and reduce excess body fat - women who walk have less body fat than those who don’t walk. 
A brisk 30 minutes walk it is said to burn 200 calories. 
Just imagine how many calories can be burnt over time, and how many pounds dropped! 

7. Strengthen muscles, boost muscle power and endurance - walking tones all your body muscles, and especially your legs, arms, and abdominal muscles. Along the time, regular exercise increases your range of motion, shifting the pressure and weight from your joints to your muscles, which leads also to improved body shape and posture. 

8. Support your joints - the joint cartilage has no direct blood supply, yet while walking, the movement and compression are bringing oxygen and nutrients to the cartilage from the joint fluid that circulates as we move; and strengthen your feet reducing the joint and muscular pain or stiffness. 

9. Improve sleep - morning walking and regular outdoor exercise, especially for women over fifties, releases endorphins that help our body relax and relieve insomnia. 

10. It boosts immune function - walking can help build up stamina and protect you during cold and flu season. 

11. Improve your breath - while walking, your breathing rate increases gradually, causing oxygen to travel faster through the bloodstream, which helps to eliminate waste products and improve your energy level and the ability to heal. 

12. Slow down mental decline - walking as little as 30 minutes or 2,5 miles per day, brings oxygen to the brain, which helps to prevent the memory decline, and reduces depression. 

13. Lower risk of Alzheimer's - women who walked more than 10 minutes per day have half the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those who walk less. 

14. Improves general health and wellbeing - walking increases cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness (heart and lungs), improves mood and balance, reducing the incidence of disability in the activities of daily living for people who are older than 50. 

15. Improves your social life - walking keeps you active, outdoors, and become part of walking groups and socialize. 

16. Helps meditate - walking meditation 

17. Walking your furry friend 

When to go walking if you are over the fifties? 

At any moment of the day, you have some free time and feel comfortable, considering where you intend to go for a walk, distance, for how long, if alone or with a company, footwear, and weather conditions. 

Taking a walk outside is an incredibly simple thing to do no matter if the sky is grey, sunbeams are dancing or you could imagine a rainbow above. 

For how long can you go walking? 

Walking, as the easiest physical activity, does not have to be vigorous or done for long periods to improve your health and be(come) an enjoyable and social part of your lifestyle.;

It is said that 30 minutes per day or at least 90 minutes per week, improved significantly women’s fitness level. 

If you may find it too difficult to walk for 30 minutes at one time, try doing regular smaller bouts (eventually 10 minutes) 3 times per day, and gradually build up to longer sessions. 

If your goal is to lose weight or maintain the existing level, you will need to do physical activity for longer than 30 minutes each day, and this could be walking or combined with other forms of exercise during a day. 

How to walk to best benefit your health after fifties? 

When walking you carry your own body weight. This is known as weight-bearing exercise. 

Always choose walks that suit your age and fitness level, and consider some warming up and cooling down after walking. 

Practice walking slowly taking light, easy steps, and making sure your heel touches down before your toes. 

Whenever possible, walk on grass or soft paths rather than concrete to help absorb the impact. 

You can get out and walk without worrying about the risks associated with some more vigorous forms of exercise. 

Depending on your fitness level, you must always use a comfortable intensity pace and walk safely within your target heart rate; walking must be enjoyed, it’s not a race! 

If possible, plan in advance what distance would you like to cover each day and start monitoring how long it takes you to walk that distance and how do you feel. 

Start off each walk at a leisurely pace to give your muscles time to warm up, and then pick up the speed. As your fitness improves, you will be able to walk a longer distance or take a brisk walking and use more energy. 

Once you start feeling comfortable with the actual pace, your body built stamina and got used to physical activity, depending on your main reason to exercise, you may increase the intensity of your walks by using some hand weights (your shopping bags!), going up hills, including some brisk walking, increasing the distance or walking time. 

Afterward, you will need a gradual cool-down. Gently stretch your leg muscles for about 30 seconds, paying attention to your calves, front and back thighs, and avoid bouncing or jolting, to prevent muscular stiffness and injury. 

Where to go for a walk? 

Anywhere! Indoors or outdoors! There are plenty of walking options: 
- indoors - mostly for people under certain medical conditions 
- outdoors - for anyone, enabling you to be outside the house, in nature, seeing the sights 
- ideally, a scenic walk to the countryside, heritage trails, woodlands, heaths, and nature reserves 
- your own town or city neighborhood: parks, canal towpaths, riverside paths, common 

Do not walk on bike lanes! 
Look out for hazards in alpine or coastal areas, such as cliff edges or large waves. 

Shore walking woman
Shore walking - Pixabay Free-Photos

Walking types that will slowly help change your life and get more joy over fifties: 

- urban and non-urban walks 
- light walking - like a stroll 
- moderate walking 
- brisk walking - walking briskly (about 3 miles an hour) can help you build stamina, burn excess calories, and make your heart healthier. 
A brisk 10 minutes daily walking has lots of health benefits and counts towards the recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise (especially now during lockdown)
You can tell you're walking briskly if you can still talk but cannot sing the words to a song, and you may be panting slightly. 
- inspiring walks that create enjoyable social occasions 
- walking for wheelchair users 
- walking exercise classes in swimming pools for people with joint problems (water offers great joints support while exercising and helps strengthen muscles) 
- walks for mothers - this is a great way to pass on healthy habits to your children, learn them about nature, plants, and animals seen in the park, take photos, meet other mothers and share experiences, while getting fit at the same time. 
- walking for fun – around your neighborhood streets, at local clubs and venues 
- guided walks (national parks, organized walks in cities or countryside) 
- walking in a group for health and leisure - is a great way to start walking, make new friends, spend time together and keep motivated 
- walking for a charity cause - raising money for a remarkable cause and supporting each other could enlighten the spirit 
- dog walking - walking a dog is a lovely way to enjoy your furry pet company, be outdoors, have regular exercise, and stay motivated. 
- shore walking
- mountain walking and trekking
- Nordic walking
- walking like a model on a catwalk : )
- MoonWalk (as Michael Jackson did)

What to wear for walking? 

Depending on the moment of the day, pace, weather conditions, and where you’ll go for a walk, you can wear: 
- Any shoes or trainers that are comfortable, provide adequate heel and arch support, do not cause naughty blisters and injuries to soft tissue, foot or shin pain. 
Never use new shoes if planning to walk for a long distance! 
- Try to dress lightly, as dressing too warmly while walking can make you uncomfortable (build up body temperature, increase sweating and skin irritations). 
- If you're walking to work, you could wear your usual work clothes with a comfy pair of shoes and change shoes when you get into work. 
- If you start going for longer walks regularly, you may want to invest in a waterproof jacket, proper walking footwear, or even some specialist walking shoes for more challenging routes. 
For long regular walks, you may want to wear layers, take some water, healthy snacks, a spare top, sunscreen and a sun hat or a waterproof coat in a small backpack, and a walking stick. 

Transform your life after 50, make walking a habit and your most enjoyable friend! 

If you are new to walking and decided to start a new chapter in your life, be more healthy and fit, make it a habit, and stay motivated. 
- increase your walking distance gradually 
- keep a walking/ activity diary or log and jot down your progress 
- include walking in your daily routine, explore what’s going on around you, notice the sky, the people, the smells and sounds, and follow these few simple options: 
- start walking part of your journey to work 
- get off public transport one stop earlier and walk to work or home 
- walk to the local shops 
- invite a friend for a regular walk 
- use the stairs instead of the elevator (for at least part of the way) 
- leave the car behind for short journeys or drive to different trusts or reserves and enjoy the views while you walk around 
- walking the kids to school 
- walking your dog (your friend’s or neighbor’s dog!) 
- walk at various times of the day - take a morning walk or go for a stroll after dinner as a daily routine 
- get out of routine and take different routes so you don’t get tired of seeing the same sights 
- join a walking group or club. 

Walking apps, trackers, pedometers, and walking gadgets 

There are so many apps (FITon, Active 10, Samsung Health, etc) and gadgets nowadays to bring some color, fun, remind and keep you motivated to exercise. 

Various apps enable settings to best suit your needs and preferences; suggest routes, your journey time, calorie burn, step count, and even carbon saving, compare your activity to other days, or recommend amounts. 

A pedometer is the basic gadget one could have; it measures the number of steps you take, your movement throughout a day. To achieve health benefits is recommended 10,000 steps or more in a day. 

Walking while listening to favorite bits of music or podcasts can make it more enjoyable, yet if walking in urban crowded places, and wearing a headphone, better keep the sound low to enable you to be aware of surrounding things, and avoid potential accidents. 

I am a huge fan of walking! What about you? 

Ready for this simple life-changing way over the 50s?

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