Story by: Jackie Hays on May 23, 2016
Yeah, yeah. We know, we know. Exercise is good for us. You don’t have to search very hard to find the scientific evidence to prove it.
For postmenopausal women especially, exercise provides additional benefits. One study found that postmenopausal women who exercised 300 minutes per week versus those who exercised half that amount were far better at reducing total fat regardless of what they ate.
Fat — especially belly fat — increases our risk for breast, endometrial and colon cancers, as well as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It’s also got plenty of other benefits.
And then there is bone density. As women age, our bones become more brittle. We can put the brakes on that with exercise.
According to Rebekah Hibbert, athletic trainer with Norton Women’s Sports Health, aerobic exercise is not enough to maintain bone strength.
“By including weight resistance activities, or strength training, into your workout routine, you can help maintain strong bones,” she said. “These types of activities include push-ups, using resistance bands or hand weights, or using weight equipment. And, the younger you start doing weight resistance exercise, the better!”
So, we’re all busy, how do we make it happen?
Stay active — this means all day.
As a society, we are too sedentary. We sit too much. Try to stay active throughout the day, not just for the hour or so you work out.
“Research has shown that getting up and walking for 2 minutes every hour can actually help increase your metabolism,” Hibbert said. “It’s also a great way to ‘reboot’ your mind.”
Can you make a goal of taking 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day? I think you can.
Understand your nutritional needs
As we age, our nutritional requirements change as a result of a decrease in hormones and muscle mass. This decreases our energy needs and metabolic rate. Fueling the body with nutritious whole foods provides you with more energy, helps prevent injury and leads to better workouts.
Dehydration can cause fatigue, lightheadedness and/or headaches — as well as more serious problems.
If you’re thinking, “I don’t like water. It’s too plain,” then get creative. Add lemon or make infused water with cucumber, lime, mint, pineapple or watermelon — the possibilities are endless.
Drinking water also curbs snacking, and we all could use a little help with that!
Work on balance
As we age, our balance decreases and puts us at greater risk for falling and injuring ourselves.
Here are some simple ways to work on balance: Try doing upper body lifts, like biceps curls or triceps pull-downs, on a single leg. At home while you’re doing dishes or cooking, try standing on a single leg for about 30 seconds and switching legs.
Adopting exercise goals for the long haul will pay off one way or another. Hopefully, it will keep us happy and healthy to the end. If, however, we are confronted by disease or illness, we will be better able to fight it and regain our health if we are already in good shape.
Need help meeting your fitness goals? We can help! The new Norton Women’s Sports Health program was created just for women like you. Read about our philosophy and available services.
Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.