Picture it, Sicily...1912...Juuuust kidding! It was more like Hagerstown, 2011. I'd already spent 28 YEARS…
There are so many wonderful things about being women in our prime! Our children are grown and self-sufficient so we’re free to put our interests first without the slightest twinge of guilt. For those who are no longer working full time, we can volunteer more often, finally crack the spines of books that we’ve longed to read for years, commit to regular exercise, and pursue new hobbies like golf, photography, and yoga.
But life always has challenges and it’s no different in our prime. With age, many women experience a change in their sense of balance due to loss of muscle mass, inner ear disorders, or worsening eyesight. Poor balance can lead to falls, which can lead to fractures and threaten independence. But don’t fret… regular walking can improve balance and prevent falls!
Walking is a safe exercise for most women and helps build lower-body strength, which is an important element of good balance. Studies have shown that walking strengthens bones, builds muscle, and increases flexibility. In addition, walking is a great aerobic activity that burns calories and lowers blood sugar levels, especially if done after meals. As with any new exercise routine, it’s a good idea to first consult your doctor before beginning a walking program. Once you get the green light, aim for at least 150 minutes of walking per week, but don’t hesitate to add more.
Walking to Wellness, a FREE weekly walking program hosted by Prime Time for Women at Hagerstown Community College, stresses the health benefits of positive social connections and regular exercise. Ask any of our regular members (women and men) and they will tell you that Walking to Wellness is “where health happens and connections matter!” For 17 months without missing a single week, the members of the Walking to Wellness community have gathered to learn, share, laugh, talk, and support each other! But you don’t have to take my word for it, check out what our members have to say about Walking to Wellness.
“Walking To Wellness is one of my favorite regular activities! It promotes three things I value. First, I walk for my health. Walking makes me feel better both emotionally and physically. I feel so good after a nice brisk walk. I also really enjoy talking with others. As a retired teacher I’ve missed that and WTW provides opportunities to chat in a social setting I enjoy. I’ve even made some new friends. And finally, I love to learn. I learn from the guest speakers and from chatting with them after their “talks” and I learn each week from my conversations with other WTW participants. Since I began WTW I have encouraged others to join and a few of my friends and family have become weekly walkers.”
“It is a win-win all the way around. I started walking because since I retired I felt like I was getting stagnant- less active, missing day-to-day connection with people. I wanted to feel good about myself again and get healthy. And if I lose weight that is just an added bonus. This is an awesome program because not only is it good for me health wise but also I get to connect with people.”
“I like Walking to Wellness because:
- Walking can strengthen your heart, especially when you climb uphill.
- Walking can help to lower your blood sugar.
- Walking will clear your mind so that you may have less chance of getting dementia.
- Walking will keep your leg muscles and joints stronger and last longer.”