Health Benefits of Exercise for Women

When it comes to looking and feeling great through the seasons of life, the closest thing to a one-size-fits-all solution may be the most obvious: exercise. When we think of healthcare, we often focus on doctor visits, preventive care, lab tests and immunizations. But there are other factors that are in our personal control, like improving our diets, reducing stress and adding fun to our lives,” says Jordan Horowitz, M.D. of Pacific Medical Foundation and clinical professor at University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. “Exercise is one of these controllable factors, and it’s highly effective at improving health.” According to the Physicians, regular exercise provides a great array of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, preventing diabetes, improving mood and cognitive function, and reducing mortality. For women, those benefits expand, thanks to their particular combination of hormones and health risks.

“Many of the health issues that women face can be improved substantially with consistent exercise. It’s one of the best preventive options available and should be encouraged in childhood and throughout life,” says Dr. Horowitz.

Of course, exercise takes a fair amount of effort, time and self-discipline. So why bother?  Here are ways exercise specifically benefits women, no matter what your age:

  • Women are far more vulnerable than men to develop osteoporosis and related bone fracture and loss of height as they age. One of the best ways to build strong bones is through exercise, preferably starting in the younger years. Weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercises particularly promote bone health, no matter what your age. Tennis, hiking, aerobics or jogging build bones and keep them strong.
  • Although men and women both tend to gain weight as they age, women have special challenges. Exercise can counter these factors by helping women maintain and build lean muscle mass that makes them look and feel slimmer. Exercise also burns excess calories that would otherwise accumulate as fat.
  • national poll of 1,506 adults nationwide, conducted in 2005, discovered that women have more difficulty falling and staying asleep compared to men and experience more daytime sleepiness.

Just to remember, it’s not about instant results but long-term change that will bring you better health and self-esteem for a lifetime.

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