Dr. Celeste Robb-Nicholson answered:Regular moderate exercise, ideally 30 minutes on most days, can help to protect women against the following health problems:
Heart disease and stroke. Regular exercise helps to strike a healthier balance of blood lipids (high density lipoprotein [HDL], low density lipoprotein [LDL], and triglycerides) and helps arteries retain resilience despite the effects of aging. It reduces blood pressure, which in turn lowers the risk not just of heart disease, but also of stroke and kidney failure. Exercising regularly may also promote the growth of collateral arteries, small blood vessels feeding the heart. Even if you already have heart disease, exercise lowers your chances of dying from it.
Cancer. Exercise reduces the risk of cancers of the colon, breast, and endometrium. By helping you attain a healthy weight, exercise also lessens your risk for other cancers in which obesity is a factor.
Diabetes. Exercise pares excess weight, modestly lowers blood sugar levels, and boosts sensitivity to insulin so that your body needs less of it. If you already have diabetes, exercise helps control blood sugar.
Osteoporosis. When combined with calcium, vitamin D, and bone-saving medications if necessary, weight-bearing exercise like walking, running, and strength training helps ward off bone loss.
Arthritis. Exercise helps protect joints by easing swelling, pain, and fatigue and by keeping cartilage healthy. Strong muscles support joints and lighten the load upon them. Exercise may limit and even reverse knee problems by helping to control weight.
Accidents. Activities like stretching, yoga, and tai chi extend range of motion and enhance balance, which helps prevent falls and other accidents.
Depression and anxiety. Exercise lifts spirits by releasing mood-elevating hormones, relieving stress, and promoting a sense of well-being. In some studies, exercising regularly has helped ease mild to moderate depression as effectively as medications; combining exercise with medications, therapy, and social engagement is even better.
Infections. Exercise may boost your ability to fend off infection. In randomized trials, women who walked briskly 35 to 45 minutes a day, five days a week for 12 to 15 weeks, experienced half the cold symptoms of a sedentary group. Additional research shows exercise prompts a modest, short-term upswing in natural killer cells and white blood cells, which help squelch infection.Regular moderate exercise, ideally 30 minutes on most days, can help to protect women against the following health problems:Heart disease and stroke. Regular exercise helps to strike a healthier balance of blood lipids (high density lipoprotein... More
Besides protecting you against potential killers like heart disease and diabetes, being physically active could also cut your risk for several serious threats to women's health. Here are just a few examples:
- Endometrial cancer: Although more study is needed to confirm the early research results, some findings suggest that regular exercise could reduce the risk of endometrial cancer by as much as 20% to 40%.
- Ovarian cancer: Findings on exercise and ovarian cancer vary, but exercise may provide moderate protection.
- Breast cancer: Exercise may play several protective roles in the fight against breast cancer, from lowering high blood levels of estrogen to reducing oxidative stress as well as breast cancer risk factors, like obesity.
- Fibroids: The jury's still out on this one, but a recent study suggests a possible connection between exercise and lower fibroid risk.
- Osteoporosis: No doubt about it, exercise helps increase bone mineral density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
Whether you are new to healthy eating and exercise or are a veteran of a healthy lifestyle, a good attitude and a little imagination will help you stay committed to taking care of yourself. Change things up when you feel yourself losing interest, and set some mini goals along the way to help you stay on track.Besides protecting you against potential killers like heart disease and diabetes, being physically active could also cut your risk for several serious threats to women's health. Here are just a few examples: Endometrial cancer: Although more... More