The lower levels of estrogen brought on by menopause can bring on a slew of other health issues, including leaving you at a higher risk for osteoporosis. This means your bones are weaker, which can potentially lead to a fracture. And it’s sneaky! You might not even realize you’re losing bone mass until it’s too late and you break a bone in your back or hip.
That’s where working out can come in—especially what’s called weight-bearing exercise. It can help prevent bone loss from getting worse. There are a lot of ways to do weight-bearing exercise, like dancing or playing tennis, but one of the easiest is walking. Research shows that women who have gone through menopause and who walk about one mile a day have better bone density than those who don’t.
The best part about walking is that it’s great for beginners who are just getting into exercise. Ready to give it a shot? Follow these tips:
1. Go on a walk five days a week. You don’t need to go anywhere special—just step out your front door and start moving. Then, do it again tomorrow. Keeping yourself to a regular walking schedule will help you make it a habit.
2. Warm up at a slower pace, then see if you can walk faster for the rest of the time. By quickening your steps, you’ll get your heart rate up and burn more calories. A good rule of thumb is that you should be breathing harder than normal, but you’d still be able to chat, if you were walking with a friend.
3. Gradually add more time to your walks. Don’t go out the first time and expect to walk for 30 minutes. Start with a five-minute brisk walk, then the next week up that to seven, and so on. If you keep adding two minutes to your daily walks each week, within 12 weeks you’ll be out there for 30 minutes.
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