Health Benefits of Exercise for Women

Health Benefits of Exercise for Women: When it comes to looking and feeling well across life’s stages, the most obvious one-size-fits-all approach may be the most obvious: exercise.

We often associate healthcare with doctor visits, preventive care, lab testing, and immunizations. Other aspects, however, are within our personal control, such as improving our diets, lowering stress, and adding joy to our lives. One of these controllable aspects is exercise, which is extremely effective at improving health.

Health Benefits of Exercise for Women

Regular exercise, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, has a wide range of health advantages, including lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, preventing diabetes, enhancing mood and cognitive function, and lowering mortality. Women’s benefits are enhanced by the combination of hormones and health hazards. Here are four ways exercising benefits women in particular.

Helps Counteract Mood Swings

Women experience a fluctuating level of estrogen and progesterone from their first menstrual cycle until menopause, which affects their reproductive patterns as well as their brain chemistry and moods. When estrogen levels fall, as they do before and during a woman’s period or as she approaches menopause, she loses a natural source of the “feel good” brain chemical serotonin. As a result, they are more vulnerable to moodiness, depression, and anxiety attacks, which are signs of severe premenstrual syndrome or postpartum depression.

Endorphins, another mood regulator, are released during exercise, which counteracts these hormonally induced mood swings. Endorphins, also known as the “runner’s high,” leave you feeling joyful and calm after a workout.

Health Benefits of Exercise for Women

“It’s our body’s way of substituting one natural chemical for one that is waning,” Dr. Horowitz explains. “For some women, this may reduce or eliminate the need for antidepressant serotonin boosters.”

Health Benefits of Exercise for Women

Exercise can boost mood even after menopause, when estrogen levels are permanently reduced. One research of 60 women suffering from postmenopausal anxiety and depression discovered that those who exercised saw an 18 to 22% improvement in symptoms, whereas those who did not exercise saw no improvement.

Prevents Bone Loss and Osteoporosis

Women are significantly more likely than men to have osteoporosis, bone fractures, and height reduction as they age. According to the Office on Women’s Health, 8 million out of 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and half of women over the age of 50 with osteoporosis will break a bone.

This is partly owing to the fact that women have thinner bones than males and lose bone strength more quickly as they age due to estrogen deficiency. Hip fractures caused by osteoporosis can result in immobilization and life.

Exercise is one of the best methods to build strong bones, and it’s ideal to start when you’re young. Women build the majority of their bone mass during their adolescent and young adult years, which can protect them from osteoporosis later in life.

Weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening workouts are beneficial to bone health at any age. Tennis, hiking, aerobics, and jogging strengthen and grow bones. Lifting weights, using exercise bands, or simply standing up and rising to your toes increases strength, balance, and flexibility, all of which can help you avoid falling. Make an appointment with your doctor, physical therapist, or exercise professional to discuss the best and safest workouts for your age and condition.

Keeps Weight in Check

Although both men and women gain weight as they age, women face unique obstacles. Pregnancy weight gain may persist long after birth in younger women. Then, as middle-aged women lose estrogen during menopause, the body redistributes fat cells to the belly, making weight loss difficult. Women may struggle to maintain or lose weight when their muscle mass falls with age since muscle burns more calories than fat.

Exercise can help women maintain and grow lean muscle mass, which makes them seem and feel smaller. Excess calories that would otherwise be stored as fat are also burned during exercise. In a 20-year study of 3,500 men and women performed by Northwestern University researchers, all participants gained weight as they aged, but those who exercised gained significantly less weight. Women benefited the most, gaining 13 pounds less on average than inactive women.

Improves Sleep

Health Benefits of Exercise for Women
Health Benefits of Exercise for Women

Adequate sleep is essential for mental wellness. According to University of Bern studies, the human brain consolidates pleasant emotions while diminishing negative and traumatic feelings during dream sleep.

Fortunately, exercise has a proven track record of enhancing sleep. One 2020 study found that fitness training enhanced sleep quality in inactive middle-aged adults. Participants in the study were divided into control groups that did World Health Organization-recommended physical activity, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and HIIT with whole-body electromyostimulation training. All groups had more total sleep time, fell asleep faster, and were less likely to wake up right away after falling asleep.

Even with all of these advantages, some women may find it difficult to find the time or energy to exercise on a daily basis. Motivating yourself must begin with telling yourself, “Now is the time to do something.” Simply get outside and do something active. Find a friend or a trainer who will encourage you to get up and move. It’s not about quick fixes, but about long-term changes that will offer you improved health and self-esteem for the rest of your life. Health Benefits of Exercise for Women

Discuss with your OB/GYN or primary care provider how to easily include exercise into your daily routine.