Oh no, not again!
I thought as I stumbled, hit the pavement, and felt shock waves of pain rush through my body.
“My third fall in just 8 weeks! Gurr.”
The first two happened at home. But this time, I was in a public parking lot surrounded by strangers looking at me with pity.
After this fall, I knew I needed to improve my leg strength and balance.
So I started doing low-impact movements like walking, Tai Chi, & balance exercises.
These are great activities that will boost your leg strength and overall well-being without sweating like mad or overexerting yourself!
“This is excellent news for those of us who aren’t athletic and don’t like to sweat ~ Yes!”
Table of Contents
Health Benefits of Walking
Walking Energetically for at least 10-min a day is an easy-to-do physical activity.
However, If you can’t walk every day, try walking for 20-min three times a week or for 30-min twice a week.
“Note ~ For the best results, you should be slightly out of breath for it to benefit you the most.”
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- Helps Maintain Weight
- Lowers High Cholesterol
- Eases Joint Pain
- Reduces Inflammation
- Help with Depression
- Reduces Emotional Stress
Set your own pace
Try walking every two or three days, when you first start. This will give your muscles and joints time to recover before walking again.
As you gain strength and endurance, you can pick up your pace and walk everyday!
However, a slower pace can help reduce pressure on your joints.
Going slower is also better for those of us with arthritis or other joint conditions that may inhibit our walking ability.
8 key points
Stretch before & after your walk. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Stretching reduces soreness and improves your flexibility.
Make sure to swing your arms if you walk at a slower pace. This will increase the benefits.
If you’re listening to music or a podcast, keep the volume down to hear sounds nearby like vehicles, people, or animals.
Remember to stay hydrated! Drink plenty of filtered water before and after your walk.
If you struggle with balance or pain, consider using walking poles or sticks to help steady you. This also reduces some weight on your joints.
Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.
When the weather is terrible, consider an indoor space to walk, like a mall or a big-box store.
Invest in a supportive (and cute;) pair of walking shoes to avoid pain and injury, especially if you have foot, knee, hip, or back problems.
11 Health Benefits of Walking Energetically
1. Improved Physical & Cardio Fitness
Walking is an aerobic exercise that strengthens and conditions your heart and lungs.
Walking increases your capacity for activities like climbing stairs so that you won’t wear out or run out of breath.
Bicycling, dancing, and walking are excellent cardio activities that improve your heart rate and lungs. Cardio exercises burn a good amount of calories to help prevent weight gain.
“If it’s been a while since you’ve moved your body, try easing into a cardio habit with short periods of lower-impact activities.”
You don’t have to exercise 30 minutes at a time. Whew!
When starting, do 10-minute spurts. This will help you build up and get stronger.
2. Increased Body Leanness and Healthy Weight
The hormonal changes and decreased estrogen associated with aging and menopause can cause weight gain and muffin top… Ugg.
Metabolism, the rate at which the body burns calories, can slow down.
However, exercise like walking has been shown to slow weight gain, could prevent it entirely, and can help lose that extra weight.
Although nutrition is a large part of weight loss, burning calories through regular walking can help you create a calorie shortage, leading to weight loss. Yippee!
Health Benefits of Walking
3. Improves Your Balance and Coordination
A mixture of walking, strength training, and specific workouts like tai chi or yoga can improve your balance and help prevent falls, particularly in mature adults.
Walking improves your lower body strength and balance, which will help keep you more stable.
“Falls can be rough. Fortunately, I only had a few bumps and bruises when I fell.”
But, a fall can cause more severe injuries like broken bones or concussions.
~ Easy Balance Exercise ~
Stand on one leg for 1min at a time every day. Then work up to 3-5 min. This will help improve your strength and balance.
If you’re unsteady at first, hold yourself against a wall or chair with one hand. Do this until you build your strength and balance, then stand without any aid.
It may take a bit to build up your strength to balance on one leg for 3-5 min. but remember ‘Practice Makes Progress!’
4. Strengthens Your Bones and Muscles
Walking is a weight-bearing activity that supports your body weight.
Weight-bearing activities stimulate your bones and muscles to help keep them strong.
Your muscles fuel your metabolism, which means you can burn more calories throughout the day. Muscle mass decreases as you age, and menopause can speed up the loss. Bummer.
While strength training is the best way to maintain muscle, all types of exercise and walking may help slow the loss.
Walking helps work several different muscle groups, including:
Your upper body is working, too. Though not affected directly, it supports your torso and pelvis as you walk.
“If you move your arms or wear wrist weights while walking, you will also get an upper-body workout.”
5. Improves Your Mood and Fights Depression
Walking can improve the quality of your life when you deal with depression.
When you go for a walk for 30 minutes three times a week, this can be an effective antidepressant. Cool!
(Note* ~ Never stop taking any prescribed medications without checking with your doctor first.)
Extra benefits from walking that will enhance your mood, Bonus!
Sharper thinking – YES!
Feel better emotionally – Great!
Won’t feel so limited by your depression – Fantastic!
Health Benefits of Walking
6. Reduces Back Pain
Walking is an effective healing method for back pain.
A steady walking routine can lead to:
Stronger feet, legs, and hips
Core muscles will get stronger
Stability for the spine
A healthy spine can keep the body upright and balanced
Improves circulation throughout the body
Allows the body to hydrate better
7. Revs-up Your Immunity
Walking strengthens the immune system. Physical activity like walking increases the number of white blood cells circulating in the system.
These cells fight infections and other illnesses as part of your body’s immune system.
With as little as 15 to 30 minutes of walking a day, you can give your body a boost and stimulate your immune cells.
The more you move, the better prepared your body is to fight off pathogens. Health Benefits of Walking
“There are plenty of reasons to put
“Go for a Walk” on your to-do list.”
8. Relieves constipation
A lack of balanced gut bacteria is linked to constipation.
Aerobic exercises like brisk walking could help increase intestinal bacteria, an essential part of a healthy gut.
Walking helps to get things moving and improves your constipation symptoms when you engage in a minimum of 20 minutes of brisk walking 4 to 7 times a week.
9. Improves Sleep
Getting your steps in during the day can affect how well you sleep at night.
Walking is related to stress reduction and physical well-being, which could be a pathway to better sleep.
Plus, the social benefits of walking with another person could boost your mood and improve your sleep.
10. Helps Ease Hot Flashes
When going through menopause, you may not feel motivated to exercise with uncomfortable symptoms, like hot flashes and mood swings.
However, regular physical activity like walking can make menopause symptoms more bearable. Awesome!
Exercise is a great way to help you regain control over your midlife body changes.
11. Boosts Your Energy
Walking enhances the oxygen levels in your body. And triggers hormone levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.
These are the hormones that help elevate energy levels.
Going for an energetic walk when you feel tired or in an afternoon slump may be more effective at boosting your energy than grabbing a cup of coffee. Cool!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Don’t forget your feet!
Here are two supportive and ‘cute’ pairs of walking shoes I highly recommend!
Skechers – Women’s Flex Appeal Sneaker with a Memory Foam
I Love, Love, Love these walking shoes! They are:
- and have an air-cooled memory foam cushioned comfort insole.
- Plus, they come in an array of colors!
“My feet are aching & tender, so I add another memory foam insert to make them even more comfortable.”
(Adding the insert to my Sketchers changed my everyday walking life! Ask me how in the comments below!)
Merrell – Women’s Yokota 2 Walking/Hiking Shoe
These shoes are supportive and comfortable too. They have the mesh upper to help keep your feet cool.
The air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability, with a little more traction that grips. They come in some cute colors, too!
Running short on time?
Get your daily walk in while ~
While running errands – Walk the parking lot or around the store for 10min.
Waiting at the Dr. office – Walk the halls for 10min.
Climb up and downstairs for five min = a 10 min walk. (climbing burns more calories than walking).
Park in the furthest spot.
Get off the bus or train a stop early to walk to your destination.
Take the stairs.
Encourage your colleagues to go on walking meetings and lunches away from the office.
I encourage you to find a walking routine that works for you and see how it improves your leg strength and balance.
In my case, after just a few months of daily walking and balancing exercises, my leg muscles are stronger and my balance has improved. Win, Win!!!
“Now I’m hitting the pavement regularly, and not in the dreadful, flat-on-my-face way! ;)”
Here’s to Improving Leg Strength and Balance!
P.S. Your turn! Let me know what you do to build leg strength and balance, in the comments below.
Before you go ~ Grab your Free 25+ page Blooming In Midlife Self-Care Handbook as a gift for joining the Blooming Community.
You’ll get loads of self-care ideas to boost your midlife energy, and overall well-being!!! =)
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*Please understand that we are not offering any medical advice. We do not attempt to diagnose, treat, or cure anything. In addition, we can’t promise that any natural remedy will solve a particular health/skin issue. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your discretion.
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