Time to Move
We all would have heard that as adults we should be doing 20-40 minutes of physical activity per day. Most of us would have been told about the benefits of exercise for controlling weight, and for our cardiovascular system. But did you know there are specific benefits for women?
- Breast cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
- Osteoporosis (especially reduced if you do strength training)
- Depression and anxiety
- Postural issues – e.g. Kyphosis (“Dowager’s hump”)
- Falls in elderly women
Studies have also shown that women over 40 who walk 5 days per week report better sleep quality and reduced stress levels (and they reported even better with doing more intense exercise).
In women who are pregnant (and don’t have any complications such as placenta previa), there are lots of benefits to staying fit during your pregnancy. Pregnant mums who exercise are less likely to have back, pelvic and leg pain, and are less likely to have pre-eclampsia. They’re also less likely to need medical intervention during labour, and tend (on average) to have shorter labours. Exercise also has benefits for the baby too! Babies of mums who exercised during pregnancy have better neuro-behavioural development.
Following pregnancy, exercise is equally as important. However, it is best to discuss this with a physiotherapist trained in women’s health and obstetrician to ensure that you have recovered enough from the pregnancy and birth to begin exercising again. You will generally have an obstetrician appointment at around 6 weeks post birth; any lifting or high impact activity should be avoided until this time. However in the meantime, walking is fantastic at keeping you moving!
Later on, during menopause, exercise helps to control weight changes, improves blood pressure and cholesterol, helps to control mood, and improves sleep quality. Aerobic exercise or interval training can help to improve vascular function, which may help with hot flushes too!
With all those benefits, it’s really a no-brainer that exercise is essential for us ladies! But where should we start?
The answer is simple: while the perfect exercise plan for women would include some aerobic (cardio) exercise, strength training, flexibility and balance training, the most important thing is to find something you enjoy! It’s been shown time and time again that we’re more likely to stick to a certain style of exercise if we enjoy it! So try a few things until you find what you enjoy and then keep it up regularly!
Danielle Chaseling- Physiotherapist Back in Motion Aspendale Gardens
If you have any questions about this, please give the clinic a call on 95801985 especially if you are pregnant, recently given birth, have osteoporosis or have any incontinence. The good news for each of these groups is that physio can help, and we can also work with your personal trainer to arrange a great program and keep you moving!