Exercise is essential at every age. The more we learn how physical fitness affects our mental and physical health, the more it becomes vital to maintain a robust physical fitness program.

For women reaching menopause, exercise becomes doubly important in setting a solid foundation for longevity. In menopause and beyond, heart disease, bone density, the possibility of falls and general quality-of-life issues grow increasingly paramount.

Here are some exercises for women over age 50 and the best ways you can build strength, flexibility and balance with minimum risk.

1. Walking for your heart (and blood sugar)

Any exercise program should address your current fitness level and push you to improve. Walking is a wonderfully adaptable way to get in cardio, going as fast or as slow as you're comfortable with on any given day.

Beyond getting your heart rate up, a brisk walk after eating has been shown to lower your glycemic response. A 2018 study published in the journal