Take a Walk Outside

By on May 7, 2015

It’s no secret that now heart disease is the number one killer among women. During post-menopause, you are at greater risk due to lower amounts of the heart – health protection hormone, estrogen. You may need to take extra steps (literally) for heart health during post-menopause. Yet, in spite of public awareness of our risk, postmenopausal women fail to reach the minimal physical activity recommendations. The key is exercising on a REGULAR basis, taking time every day for some form of activity or at minimum 3 -4 times a week.  If you have a difficult time getting to a gym maybe it’s time to take it outside!

Is a walk in the woods the answer?

A study published in November 2014 (Menopause) compared 12 weeks of identical aerobic and resistance training either performed indoors or outdoors. The subjects who trained outdoors had significantly higher adherence rates.

Physical activity increased and depression decreased only in the outdoor exercise group. Greater feelings of tranquility post-exercise may have led to elevated enjoyment and positive feelings about the exercise experience. The indoor group did not experience this same tranquility post-exercise and positive feelings dropped over time, whereas they increased for the outdoor group.

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Women are much more vulnerable to depression than men due in part to what scientists call Monkey Brain, the inability to shut off thinking about multiple things at once. Finding ways to decrease depression in order to increase your motivation to exercise may need to be the first step for you in establishing permanent physical activity habits. Outdoors could be the answer.

Activities to try outdoors range from simply walking, hiking, or bicycle riding to an organized class that meets outdoors. The at least initial accountability of a group, even if virtually, can make all the difference in breaking through that inactive to an active barrier. After early adoption and a foundation of good habits, you may be hooked, in a good way, to postmenopausal bliss by finding your inner mountain woman. 

~Debra Atkins

P.S. Now you. Share how you exercise outdoors. Do you get out all four seasons or find seasonal fluctuation in your outdoor exercise? 

About Debra Atkinson

Debra Atkinson, MS, CSCS is America’s Boomer Fitness Expert, speaker, and author of Navigating Fitness After 50: Your GPS For Choosing Programs and Professionals You Can Trust. After 30years in the fitness industry Debra committed to making sure women have good choices, real answers and putting an end to the diet and exercise confusion. Her new book, The After 50 Fitness Formula for Females based on her women’s coaching workshops is due out in 2016. Visit Debra at www.voiceforfitness.com.

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Take a Walk Outside