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Walking Works to Improve Health for Midlife Women

Walking Works to Improve Health for Midlife WomenMidlife can be especially challenging for women as menopause-related hormonal changes can impact mental and physical functioning. A new study finds that walking, or moving more than 6,000 steps a day, can improve mental and physical health of midlife women.

Researchers discovered this level of physical activity decreases the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome (a diabetes precursor and a risk for cardiovascular disease).

The research is published online in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.

It is well-established that structured exercise can lower health risks for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. A key distinction of this study is the finding that habitual physical activity — whether it comes from exercising or just activities of daily living — has the power to improve women’s health.

Brazilian researchers recorded the daily activity of 292 women, between the ages 45 to 72 years old, as they wore pedometers. Investigators also monitored cholesterol and blood sugar, and waist and hip measurement (to gauge abdominal obesity — a known risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease).

Researchers classified women who took 6,000 or more steps per day as active and those who took fewer as inactive.

The active women were much less likely than the inactive ones to be obese and have metabolic syndrome or diabetes, whether or not they had gone through menopause–when these risks usually go up–and whether or not they were using hormone therapy.

Researchers believe the 6,000 step-activity target can help midlife women improve and in fact maximize mental and physical health as they move through middle age.

Source: The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)


Happy and active woman photo by shutterstock.

Walking Works to Improve Health for Midlife Women

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Walking Works to Improve Health for Midlife Women. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 24, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.