Two days ago, I texted a friend who lives in the neighborhood where I recently rented a house, asking if we could get together.
“Sure,” was her response, “coffee or a walk?”
I paused at the brilliance of that simple question. Meeting for a coffee was the age-old way of connecting, but the truth is I don’t even drink coffee. And I certainly don’t want to sit in a coffee shop being tempted by cinnamon rolls, croissants, and muffins. Going for a walk seemed like such an obviously superior option—getting outside rather than sitting on my duff surrounded by a bunch of techies pounding away on laptops—I wondered why in this more active era it hadn’t become the default method for catching up with a friend.
I also marveled at the good timing of her suggestion. I had just started a walking program created by Gennev, a telehealth menopause clinic with female board-certified gynecologists who specialize in menopause treatments, and this would be a perfect opportunity to get in some steps. We set up a time for the coming weekend, and I’m looking forward to the efficiency of working in a twofer that day—exercise and some much-needed emotional bonding.
“Gennev launched the Get Moving Walking Program for Women to provide an accessible solution for women to boost their health and well-being,” says Jill Angelo, founder and CEO fo Gennev, which is the comprehensive resource for anyone who suffers from hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness or who wants solid information about and even a prescription for hormone replacement therapy. “Plus, walking provides relief for so many menopause symptoms. It’s good for your heart and body and great for your emotional health.”
There’s no better remedy for many of the symptoms of menopause than getting your body moving.
The Get Moving walking program is a 30-day plan, which can be started at any time you’re ready to take it on, that was designed by Michele Stanten, the creator of mywalkingcoach.com and the former fitness director of Prevention magazine. “As soon as you start to move, your muscles relax, stiff joints loosen up, and your body produces feel-good chemicals that can boost your mood,” says Stanten. “And you’ll have more energy and sleep better.” Who doesn’t want that, right?
The multitude of benefits are so easy to reach, too, both physical and mental. Logging 25 minutes a day reduced the risk of dying from a heart attack or heart disease by 35 percent, according to an eight-year Harvard University study of more than 70,000 women ages 40 to 65. Other research has found that a 15-minute walk after meals improves your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, which can help stave off the development of diabetes, and exercise like walking can lower your risk of breast cancer by 20 to 30 percent. Studies also report that after walking three times a week for four months, women ages 45 to 65 were happier with their appearance even if they didn’t lose any weight, and that walking for 30 minutes three times a week was as effective as antidepressants.
If you’re trying to ease into exercising regularly, you can choose a gentle program that starts off slowly and builds through the month. For those who are already walking or working out, Gennev offers a more intensive fitness program, that will help you amp up the benefits by challenging you some days and chilling you out on others. In either program, you’ll get a 30-day calendar with suggestions for what to do on each day (for example, “interval walk,” “mindful walk,” “stroll,” or “brisk pace”) to give you structure and ensure success. Plus, there are prizes, such as Fitbits, and other giveaways. We always love freebies!
Friends Who Walk
One of the best parts of Get Moving is that you can expand your community of friends through a dedicated Facebook group. Post a photo of your walk, report on your step totals or how you’re feeling, get tips from Stanten or other Gennev health experts, and see how others are faring. “There’s something so motivating about doing a walk challenge with others, even if we’re walking alone or connecting virtually,” says Angelo. “This is a community-driven effort. You’re not in this alone.”
I love scrolling through the group feed to see smiling faces out and about, videos of thunderstorms narrowly avoided, and photos of sunsets, fall colors, and creatures (goats, wildlife) met along the way. One participant is doing her challenge while vacationing on the Mediterranean, which makes for the most drool-worthy pics.
Only when I walk do I really embrace the meditative aspect of exercise.
One reason I joined the program is because I want that extra push to get out and explore my new neighborhood. I regularly ride my bike in a park and swim laps in a community pool, and I’m pretty intense when I do either of those work outs. Only when I walk do I really embrace the meditative aspect of exercise. I’m much more aware of changes in the leaves on the trees, or the smell of flowers or mown grass as I pass by. I exchange pleasantries with people I meet and even strike up conversations. By strolling the nearby streets every evening, I am starting to recognize certain neighbors and if they’re out in the yard, I’m putting faces with houses and gardens, which seems like a good first step to becoming part of the community. And I’m getting to know a lot of the local pups too because I always stop at the dog park a few blocks away. Because I didn’t get the dogs in my recent divorce, there’s nothing better than loving on some cute canines whenever possible.
In the Get Moving Facebook group, you’ll get ideas for how to work walks into your day. Angelo posted that instead of a sit-down meeting with a colleague, she did a “walk and talk” and accomplished more than is on the usual business agenda. Another woman, a health care professional, posted a selfie of herself in a hospital gown and protective gear. “Knowing that walking is good for you and finding time for it are two different things,” she wrote. “I have learned to give myself some grace and count the steps in the hospital hallways!”
“We know that women struggle most with finding the time for themselves, and this means their walks too—so we designed this program to be flexible enough to be personalized by the individual,” says Angelo. “Our suggested plans cover 30-days of walks, and you can decide when you want to do it, where and how you want to do it”
And the determination of others is infectious. “It’s cold & rainy, but I’m about to do it anyway,” wrote on participant. “Need to push, I won’t get back in my clothes by sofa surfing.” When you read that, you can’t help but tell yourself, If she can do it, so can I.
Which leads me to thinking: I may never meet a friend in a coffee house again.
Please join me and thousands of other women as we get moving to get healthier, calmer, and more connected. Click here to sign up.
This article is sponsored by Gennev.