Increase your walking intensity in small, increments to add power, speed, and variety.
Credit: David Martinez

If you're a regular walker, your legs are already conditioned to begin jogging. However, taking on too much too soon can derail any fitness program. To begin safely, incorporate mini jogs into your walks two or three days a week, allowing at least a day off in between so your body can recover from the increased rigor. Jogging is more stressful on your muscles, joints, and bones, so it's important to start slowly, wear running shoes that fit snugly, and avoid jogging on concrete surfaces (asphalt or dirt is better because it provides more cushioning under the foot). Instead of trying to increase your speed, focus your time and distance using our workout plan (below) as a guideline.

The Benefit

Regular exercise may help relieve symptoms of menopause, according to a small study from the University of Granada in Spain. When researchers divided 48 menopausal women into two groups―one joined fitness classes for three hours per week, the other didn't exercise at all―they discovered the exercisers were 25 percent less likely to report severe symptoms of menopause after a year on the plan. (Among the nonexercisers, that figure rose by nearly 20 percent.) Lead researcher Carmen Villaverde-Gutierrez, PhD, credits part of the improvement to the camaraderie afforded by group exercise. Physical fitness improves mental outlook, which could affect how menopausal women perceive their symptoms.

Tips on Technique
• Breathe through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. This helps supply more oxygen to muscles.
• Keep head level and eyes forward.
• Keep shoulders down and relaxed.
• Strike the ground heel first, then roll to the ball of the foot before pushing off with toes.

Workout Plan: Start with Intervals

Begin each workout with a brisk five- to six-minute warm-up walk. When you're ready, jog/walk for approximately 30 minutes using the suggested intervals below. End with a cooldown walk and stretch.

Week 1: Jog 60 seconds, walk 4 minutes. Repeat six intervals.

Week 2: Jog 60 seconds, walk 3 minutes. Repeat 8 intervals.

Week 3: Jog 60 seconds, walk 2 minutes. Repeat 10 intervals.

Week 4: Jog 60 seconds, walk 60 seconds. Repeat 15 intervals.

Week 5: Jog 60 seconds, walk 30 seconds. Repeat 20 intervals.

Week 6: Jog continuously for 30 minutes.