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Women with midlife health issues? Walk it Off

November 27, 2012

Though it is one of the earlier motor functions that a person will learn when he or she is a child, walking remains one of the most potent and versatile exercises that one can engage in. A new study appearing in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society, finds that this simple exercise can have an astounding impact on the healthy aging and well-being of middle- and advanced-age women.

Titled "Association between habitual physical activity and lower cardiovascular risk in premenopausal, perimonpausal and postmenopausal women: a population based study," the researchers followed nearly 300 Brazilian women between the ages of 45 and 72 using pedometers. These women were given a specific breadth of steps to walk each day, and were regularly subjected to cholesterol and blood sugar checks, as well as waist and hip measurements to determine their physical well-being throughout the program.

Researchers found that active women, those who walked more than 6,000 steps per day (roughly three miles of distance according to the American College of Sports Medicine), decreased their risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome - a precursor to many forms of cardiovascular disease.

The study is just the latest to link a more active lifestyle with a person's continued well-being, particularly as it pertains to women. Women nearing or passing retirement age face a number of unique health challenges that their male counterparts will not have to deal with, notably stemming from hormonal shifts related to menopause.

As such, the report showcases the importance a healthy lifestyle for seniors can have on their health and living conditions. Whether it's being more physically fit or picking up a mentally engaging hobby, staying active is an integral facet of senior living.