Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be talking about seven menopause benefits that you can get from a 10-minute walk.
For those of you who've been watching for quite a while, you know that I often mention a 10-minute walk at lunchtime and how important it is, and how it can help with so many symptoms.
How walking can help your menopause
So, I thought I would go through them and just focus on these particular benefits. It's very difficult in the menopause to find time to exercise, and we know how important it is at this particular time.
But, if you don't have the energy, time or motivation and, if you're suffering from things like joint aches and pains, and maybe you've put on a little bit of weight, the thought of going to a gym is just not on.
We really don't want to be spending that amount of time exercising. So, doing something as simple as a 10-minute walk during the day at some point can have a huge raft of benefits. And it can get you started into realising how good a little bit of exercise can be. So, how can this help you?
1. It helps ease brain fog & helps you concentrate
Well, it can ease brain fog and help with concentration. Especially if you're sitting at a desk all day, your mind can get into a bit of a sluggish rut, so getting outside, moving, and just being aware of your surroundings can help to bring your focus back into line.
2. It helps manage menopausal weight gain
Even a short walk can help with weight management. It can help with increasing your metabolism and just getting that little bit of extra exercise can burn a few extra calories every day. And, doing this every day can have an accumulative effect, so you may notice just doing something very simple for a couple of months can have a great effect on your weight.
3. It can help your bone health
Weight-bearing exercise and even just a short walk can help to strengthen the bones, and helps to prevent things like osteoporosis, which is a really common symptom in the menopause. It can also help to keep our joints well-lubricated. If we sit a lot during the day then we can get very, very stiff.
So, just having a short walk can help to ease that stiffness. And some women do find that it can help with joint pain as well.
4. It can reduce menopause stress
If we're getting outside, even just walking round the park, if we can be in nature, that's making us feel good. We're doing the deep breathing. It can help us with mindfulness. If you're actually focused on how you feel when you're moving, it can almost be like a little short meditation session.
And, even if it's just for 10 minutes, that's giving you a little bit of "me" time, away from all the other worries and stresses of our daily life.
5. It can boost our mood
Even a little bit of exercise can release those endorphins, so those feel-good hormones can make us feel better, just generally in ourselves.
6. It can help your digestion
And, you know, this is quite a surprising one. How can walking help your digestion? Well, if you're moving, especially if you're moving rhythmically and getting into a good stride, that helps to massage your whole digestive tract.
So, this is going to help – especially if you're getting bloating, if you're getting wind, if you find that you're getting a bit of constipation or sluggish bowels, then that little 10-minute walk every day can have a huge benefit on your elimination and also your general digestive health.
7. It can help reduce menopause fatigue
And, I know it sounds a bit strange but, if you're fatigued, having a little bit of exercise can help. It's amazing, once you start to get going, how the exercise, movement, the breathing, and all these other things put together, can just help to lift your energy.
And doing it every single day, again, that's going to have an accumulative effect on your energy levels, too.
Walking also has long-term health benefits
Long-term walking, there's loads of research on this. Even a short walk every day can help to reduce the risk of heart attack and also diabetes. And both of these health issues can very much come to the forth during the menopause.
So, you're not only helping yourself on a daily basis, but you're reducing the risk of long-term disease as you go further through the menopause and into the post-menopause era, too.
My suggestions to help you walk 10 minutes or more a day
So, how can you do this on a daily basis? I hear everybody going, "I'm too busy!"
You can walk for part of your journey
If you're using a car, maybe go to the furthermost car park from the shops or go to the far end of the car park in the supermarket, and that little extra walk can be of great benefit, too. If you go to work by bus or if you go into town by bus, get off a few stops earlier, and that little bit of extra walk will help and will be part of the daily exercise program.
Go out for a walk at lunchtime
If you have half an hour or an hour for your lunch, then just setting that 10 minutes aside every day can make a huge amount of difference.
And I know a lot of the ladies here, we're lucky, we're in the countryside. A lot of the ladies at work go out for a 10-minute walk round the block, and they love it, just to get out in the fresh air and get that little bit of a break from their desks.
Meet friends and go for a walk
Instead of meeting up for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake, go for a walk with your friends. And it's amazing if you're doing it with friends or groups of people. Again, you've got great things to talk about, and it can lift your mood generally.
You can join a walking group
There are so many of them around now. A lot of the local parks have groups where you can meet, maybe on a Saturday and a Sunday, and go out for a walk. Sometimes, they're a little bit longer. But it's a great way, again, to meet new people, to socialise, and just to get out for that little bit of exercise.
The next step: Increase the intensity of your walks
If you want to increase the intensity, if you find once you start these 10-minute walks and you think, "I'd like to do a little bit more now, I feel fitter, I feel healthier," how can you do that? You can walk for longer!
You can also find areas of your walk where maybe there's a couple of hills. Walking up hills is really great for your heart health and also to help to promote better breathing.
You can wear these hand weights. You can get little straps that you can put round your wrist and also round your ankles as well. So that's going to help to give you that little bit more exercise.
If you park in the car park in the supermarket, then you can use carrying the shopping bags back to the car as added weights, so you could also do a little bit of arm exercises with the bags of shopping as you go back to your car.
You can also increase your speed as well. Maybe, give yourself a five-minute walk out and then when the five minutes is up, come back and just see how much further you can go every time that you do that five minutes.
And, again, you'll probably find very, very quickly that your speed and distance will increase quite a bit.
So, I hope you found this helpful. It's great. You know, an extra 10 minutes out of your daily life can have a huge impact on your physical fitness, your weight management, and also your mood. So, do have a go with this, and let me know how you get on.