Walking: an insurance against crumbling skeleton
Exercise plays an important role in building
bone in childhood and
adolescence, maintaining bone before 50, and slowing down
bone loss after 50.
But exercises are not equal. Brisk
walking (as if you are late for an
appointment) for 30 minutes four days a week can help reduce bone loss before
and after menopause. A study found that women who regularly walked 7.5 miles a
week lost bone at a slower rate (four to seven years longer) than women who did
Many doctors recommend walking at least 20 minutes a day. Walking is the easiest
exercise program to begin. You can walk anywhere, any time, without health club
expense or high-priced equipment. Committing to just 30 minutes a day, three
days a week, assures us of adequate aerobic conditioning. Walking is also an
insurance policy against a crumbling skeleton as it minimizes and combats
osteoporosis by actually
strengthening our bones.
A healthy walk workout starts with good posture.
Maintaining correct posture
shaves years off our appearance. Combining posture with exercise brings us an
appealing, years-younger look. For proper posture, stand erect, keep chin
parallel to the ground, and pull your head back so your neck is in alignment
with your spine. Pull shoulder
blades together, and relax your shoulders and
hips. Tuck in your
tummy and straighten your
back, and pull your buns in so the small of your back doesn’t sway or bow.
Expect to feel uncomfortable and awkward-looking for a while as you practice
good posture. To test your posture, stand with your back against a wall and see
how much of your back and shoulders touch the wall. Lifting your arms out to
either side provides stretch as well as an additional posture checkpoint.
With posture in place, begin your walking experience. Proper shoes, designed for
walking, are a good investment. Beyond that, dress appropriately for the
workout, expecting to shed a layer as you warm up. After gently limbering up,
Take quicker and shorter strides for less jarring of the body. Walk with the
heel leading. Bend arms at 90 degree angles, and allow to swing naturally.
One woman named,
Dorothy, was diagnosed at age 60 with dangerously
high blood pressure, took the
pricey prescription until her insurance no longer covered the cost. With her
doctor’s approval and monitoring, she bought good walking shoes and hit the
road. Within one month of regular walking, Dorothy lowered her blood pressure
and her cholesterol to a normal range, got off the medication, improved her
overall fitness, and brightened her outlook on life. Now a spry, energetic,
healthy lady, her walk is the highlight of her day. Also, a 60-second run in the
middle of your walk should be enough to signal bones to add
Walking a mile in 30 minutes burns 120-180
Walking improves self-image.
Walking exercises 200 bones and over 600 muscles.
Walking increases energy.
Walking regularly decreases risk of
Walking regularly reduces hypertension.
Walking Magazine survey results of those who walked on a regular basis:
83% felt better about life in general
79% felt healthier
56% looked better
54% experienced stress reduction
Exercise can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss. Exercise will
benefit your bones no matter when you start, but you'll gain the most benefits
if you start exercising regularly when you're young and continue to exercise
throughout your life. Combine
strength training exercises with weight-bearing
exercises. Strength training helps strengthen muscles and bones in your arms and
upper spine, and weight-bearing exercises — such as walking,
skipping rope, skiing and impact-producing sports — mainly
affect the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine.
Swimming, cycling and
machines such as elliptical trainers can provide a good cardiovascular workout.
It's never too late — or too early — to do something about osteoporosis. You can
take steps to keep bones strong and healthy throughout life.