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International Women’s Day, scientifically proven benefits of exercise for women

GymPlus Team

March 21, 2024

International Women’s Day, scientifically proven benefits of exercise for women

Did you read the headlines last month that women get greater benefit from exercise than men do? It’s scientifically proven, women can reduce their risk of dying prematurely by 24% with only 2 ½ hours of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. In men, this effect is only 15% reduction in mortality.
The Cedar’s-Sinai Smidt Heart Institute of Los Angeles who conducted the study found not only that, but they also found that women could reduce their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, etc) by a whopping 36% with regular exercise.
A longer life and reduced mortality is not the only beneficial side effect of exercise for women. Weight bearing exercise in particular has a positive impact on bone density, which reduces chances of developing osteoporosis. It also builds muscle and keeps us stronger until later in life, making our bodies more resilient to falls and keeping us more mobile.
Exercise has a scientifically proven positive impact on mental health and wellbeing. Exercise releases endorphins, our happy hormones. While the act of exercising releases the hormones, knowing that you have done something good for your body also raises your feelings of self worth and control.

international womens day

What type of exercise do women need to do in order to gain benefit?

What is aerobic exercise?

Moderate exercise is defined as an activity that elevates your heart rate just enough for you to feel it and to be slightly out of breath. This needs to be maintained for at least 30 minutes in order to train you aerobically (fitness). Any activity such as brisk walking, running, swimming, a spinning class or jumping rope can achieve this for you.

What is muscle strengthening/weight bearing exercise?

Regular (at least once a week) weight bearing exercise was strongly associated with a 19% reduction in overall death and a 30% reduction in dying from heart disease alone. Weight bearing is lifting weights that put strain on your muscles. This becomes more important as we age, as with age our bodies naturally reduce muscle mass and we have to make more of an effort to maintain or build muscle.

Why do women benefit more from exercise than men do?

Well, the scientists probably don’t have a definite answer here, but they found that women not only engage in scheduled regular activity such as gym work, the pool, cycling or a walk. It is us women who do the majority of physical work in the house, we take the bulk of family responsibilities such as running after children, caring for elderly parents, gardening, laundry, cleaning and other household chores that keep us physically active.

So how can you keep yourself fit and improve your chances of living a longer, healthy life?

Aim to raise your heart rate at least 3x per week for 30 minutes or more. Aim for at least one weight bearing session once a week. While you can technically achieve these without the help of an instructor, I recommend you sign up to your local gym this week, set yourself up with a proper exercise routine and get working on living a longer, healthier and happier life. Because you’re worth it.

Just before you think these figures couldn’t possibly stand up. This is a large scale, peer reviewed study published only last month in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and is based on the data provided by over 412,000 women and men in the National Health Survey between 1997 and 2017. That’s a lot of data to make these figures count.

GymPlus Team

March 21, 2024

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