It’s National Women’s Health Week all week long (May 12-18) and today’s spotlight is on the importance of physical activity for optimum health. Providing helpful information is their core mission, so the National Women’s Health Week’s easy to navigate website is full of compelling reasons, resources, guides and suggestions to help you get moving.
There are many convincing reasons for making exercise a habit. But how much is enough to make a difference?
In general, womenshealth.gov recommends that we can gain significant health benefits with the following minimum amounts of physical activity each week:
• 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or
• 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity or
• a combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days.
Stretching exercises should also be included to improve flexibility. Of course, these exercises are in addition to our routine daily living activities, such as cleaning our homes, shopping or walking from the parking lot to the office.
“Physical activity can help prevent unhealthy weight gain and also help with weight loss,
when combined with lower calorie intake. It can also improve your cardio-respiratory
(heart, lungs, and blood vessels) and muscular fitness and also helps improve mental function.”
Regular Physical Activity Helps:
• Lower risk of lung cancer
• Lower risk of endometrial cancer
• Maintain weight after weight loss
• Increase bone density
• Improve sleep quality
• Improve functional health for older adults
• Reduce waistline size
• Lower risk of hip fracture
“The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans report states
that an active lifestyle can lower your risk
of early death from a variety of causes.”
Lower Your Risk for Many Conditions:
• Type 2 diabetes
• Metabolic syndrome
• Colon cancer
• Breast cancer
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Unhealthy cholesterol levels
Making Exercise a Habit
National Women’s Health Week provides several links to helpful resources to get you “on your feet and into the street” including these tips for making exercise a habit from familydoctor.org:
• Stick to a regular time every day.
• Sign a contract committing yourself to exercise.
• Put “exercise appointments” on your calendar.
• Keep a daily log or diary of your exercise activities.
• Check your progress. Can you walk a certain distance faster now than when you began exercising? Or is your heart rate slower now?
• Ask your doctor to write a prescription for your exercise program, such as what type of exercise to do, how often to exercise and for how long.
• Think about joining a health club. The cost gives some people an incentive to exercise regularly.
Are Your Ready to Get Moving?
I’m convinced. All of this sobering evidence has persuaded me to shut down the computer, lace up my sneakers and go out in the sun for a walk or a run.
How about you?
Do you exercise regularly? Or is getting enough exercise a challenge for you? What is your fitness and exercise routine like? Share your comments with us.