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If you haven’t spent much time doing any form exercise in a long time walking is a great place to start. There are many health benefits of walking in midlife.
I’ve listed them here.
Aside from a decent pair of shoes you don’t need any special equipment and you can do it almost anywhere. Even indoors if the weather is not allowing you to get outside.
If you’ve been struggling to fit any form of movement into your daily life you could incorporate walking into your daily routine by: getting off the bus one stop before you need to, parking further away from appointments, walking part of the way to pick the children up from school.
Is walking a good cardio exercise?
Daily walking can be a solid part of a cardiovascular exercise program.
I’m not going to lie. Running will benefit your body more overall but don’t discount walking.
And walking may be the better choice for some, it creates less stress on the joints and reduces pain.
If you have ankle, knee, back or hip problems then walking is a far lower impact exercise that you can do for longer.
If you’re new to regular physical activity then walking is a great place to start. Once you have been doing it for a while you can increase the benefits by walking more briskly, adding in hills, walking in nature.
Can I lose weight walking?
It would be difficult acheive weight loss by just a simple 30 minute walk everyday. However maintaining a healthy weight is absolutely possible.
But add a few hills and weight loss is entirely possible.
Change the speed to include a few minutes of brisk walking that gets your heart rate up. And you’ve upped it another notch.
Increase the time on top of these last two improvements and you’re in the realms of a good calorie burn.
Add to that some positive changes to your diet and it becomes part of a holistic, healthy lifestyle change.
My Top Healthy Food Swaps
Keep your waistline and your family happy with these hacks
Add one of these food swaps into your life each week to see and feel the positive difference in your health
Walking as a means for reducing stress
Stress contributes to weight gain, and increases the risk of many serious health issues for midlife women.
Walking is a great way to reduce stress, especially if you practice mindfulness at the same time.
I empty my mind, practice gratitude for the moment and delight in what I can see and hear around me. It’s my favourite time of the day and by the time I return home I am ready for the craziness that descends.
Walk in nature and you’re upping your game.
It has been shown that connecting with nature reduces stress and calms your nerves helping women fight depression that is common in midlife. It can lower concentrations of cortisol, lower your pulse rate and blood pressure.
Walking can also help to improve creativity. Researchers at Stanford University found that walking increased creative output by an average of 60 percent.
Have you ever gone for a walk with a problem to solve and got the answer about half way through your walk? It works.
Walking is a mood booster
Even the moderate intensity activity of walking allows your body to produce endorphins which are known as the feel good hormones. I know I can set off in the morning in a less than good mood but by the time I return I’m feeling much better.
You will sleep better
When you exercise regularly your sleep improves. Those women that walk regularly sleep better than those that don’t.
Walking is good for overall fitness
Regular walking builds up your overall fitness giving you the stamina to last longer when the occasion calls for it. Maybe a longer than usual day with work and extracurricular activities
It promotes stronger bones in midlife women
Women who walk 2 kilometres or more a day suffer from less bone loss than women who don’t. The hips and top of the thigh bone which is a common area for breakages show increased mineral density with walking but it can take 6 months of regular walking for this to occur. So start today.
One of the benefits of walking is improving balance. It helps to tighten all of your muscles and build lower body strength which is important for balance
Lowers blood sugar
Moderate exercise, like walking, drives your muscles to use more glucose, the sugar in your bloodstream. Over time, this will lower your blood sugar levels. The insulin in your body is also put to better use. Walking after a meal was shown to be particularly effective.
An evening walk after eating is the most effective at lowering blood sugar levels and can do so for a full 24 hours.
Lowers blood pressure
Just 30 minutes of walking in the morning has shown to be as effective as medication in lowering blood pressure.
Reduces your risk of developing breast cancer
Women who walk 30 minutes a day or do an activity of equal intensity have about a 3 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women who don’t.
Reduces joint pain and lowers risk of developing arthritis
Joint pain due to arthritis and other reasons becomes more prevalent as we get older. Walking helps to lubricate and strengthen joints so joint pain is less noticeable. And women who walk more are less likely to develop osteoarthritis.
Walking is a great place to start your exercise routine
If you’re able bodied you can walk.
Whether you choose walking in nature, a busy route in the city, a treadmill workout, or even a few rounds around your office building, walking is an accessible way to get started with an exercise routine that won’t have you running for the hills.
Start slowly by doing 10 or 20 minutes and work your way up to longer walks and add more intensity by using hills for walking fast.
So start your walking practice today. Get a walking group together. It’s a great way to build connections with other women which is also one of the pillars of a healthy life.
Give a home to a dog. Having a reason to walk can sometimes be that push you need to get out and get started.
So get out today, start walking and experience all the benefits that this low impact activty has to offer.