Staying Fit

I can’t emphasize enough how important exercise is for women of any age. From improved mood to a reduced risk of diabetes, exercise has many benefits, including lots specifically related to female health.

Exercise had a positive effect on your bowels, helping them detoxify waste products efficiently, including excess hormones; and it speeds up your metabolism, helping you burn calories faster. Because exercise helps with the removal of excess hormones, it’s even more important to exercise regularly if you suffer from problems caused by a hormone imbalance, such as fibroids and endometriosis. In one study of 220,000 women, all types of exercise cut the risk of breast cancer (according to another study, by 58 percent), even housework!

Exercise is absolutely essential for healthy, strong bones because placing demands on your bones, in particular through weight-bearing exercise, encourages them to maintain their density, in turn helping to reduce the risks associated with osteoporosis. We know from research that the lowest risk of hip fracture is seen in women who are active for at least 24 hours a week, although only four hours a week can have a significant effect, reducing the incidence of hip fracture by up to 44 percent. Exercise boosts circulation, optimizes blood pressure, and increases your body’s levels of killer T-cells to boost immunity, too.

However, there is such as ting as too much exercise. Although exercise helps balance hormones, too much can stop women having periods at all. This is because the body needs certain levels of fat, a certain amount of energy, and not too much stress for periods to occur. If it perceives that fat and energy levels are low, or that a lot of stress is being placed on the system, your body shunts you into survival mode. Periods stop because your body thinks it would be unhealthy for you to become pregnant at this time. Lack of periods can have a serious knock-on effect, increasing your risk of developing osteoporosis.

But how much exercise is too much? Well, it’s hard to generalize, but most of the women would be fine to exercise gently for one or two hours a day – much more would be overdoing it. Above all, though, listen to your body and if you feel tired, if you’re underweight, or if your periods become erratic when they’ve otherwise been regular, maybe it’s time to slow down.

Exercise for Weight Loss

Because it helps build calorie-burning muscles and speeds up your metabolism (which is fat-burning), exercise simply has to be an essential part of any weight-loss program. But if you want to lose weight, you need to exercise in the right way.

Studies show that the best way to lose weight with aerobic exercise is to exercise with gentle intensity for sustained periods of time. Your body can mobilize fat only in the presence of oxygen – so if you’re exercising so hard you can’t talk, your oxygen supplies are low and you aren’t actually using fat as an energy source because the lactic acid in your system prevents this from happening. So go for a jog rather than a sprint. Think about extending the time you’re running rather than the rate at which you run – run more slowly but for longer. The same goes for all other kinds of aerobic exercise. Build up time, not speed, to lose more fat.

It’s important to do non-aerobic exercise, too, because this strengthens and tones your muscles, and the more muscle you have, the more fat you’ll burn – even when you aren’t working out.

The best fat-loss exercise program combines daily 30- to 45-minute aerobic workouts, such as brisk walking, light jogging, or swimming, with three or four half-hour sessions a week of weight-training or toning exercises to increase you muscle strength.

The Psychological Benefits of Exercise

The following are the psychological benefits of regular exercise, no matter what your age, they’re available to all of us for as little as a few hours a week.

Exercise Optimizes Energy Because it improves the air-flow through your lungs, exercise increases your body’s overall oxygen supply. This has the mental effect of making you feel revitalized and rejuvenated.
Exercise Reduces Stress Exercise uses up adrenaline (the stress hormone) and creates endorphins (the feel-good hormones).
Exercise Improves Alertness It does this by increasing the supply of oxygenated blood to your brain and boosting neurotransmitters
Exercise Boosts Self-Esteem Feeling great as a result of exercising can improve body confidence, mood, and libido.

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