Women who exercise benefit in many more ways than just the waistline
A working woman’s schedule is enough to test the strength of any Weekend Warrior. Crammed with a seemingly endless list of to-dos, it often leaves little room for anything else.
Melissa M. Galli, DPM, a fellowship trained foot and ankle surgeon with The CORE Institute, says it takes women very little time to see the lasting benefits of routine exercise.
“A little dedication to fitness can have a big impact on you and your relationships,” she said.
Galli cites gene expression as one of the most surprising and longest lasting benefits of exercise.
“Swedish scientists and a study at the Harvard School of Public Health have found an immediate shift in muscle gene expression after just minutes on a bicycle,” she noted. “Genetic tendencies toward obesity are slashed after only one hour of walking. These effects benefit you, which is great, but they can also shift the genetic tide of what a woman passes along to her offspring.”
Regular exercise also yields an array of other somewhat surprising health and wellness benefits.
According to Galli, the skin benefits from the toning of underlying muscles, which helps prevent wrinkles. Short-term memory and productivity are improved and the risk of dementia decreases.
Routine exercise may also lower the risk of migraines, and it has shown to decrease upper respiratory infections by a third.
Women also experience emotional benefits from exercise.
“Penn State researchers have found an increase in enthusiasm and greater feelings of excitement as a result of exercise,” Galli explained.
Routine exercises for women have been shown to:
- Reduce the risk of dying from heart disease
- Reduce the risk of developing diabetes and colon cancer
- Reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
- Help build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints
- Help older adults become stronger and better able to move about without falling
- Help control weight, build lean muscle mass and reduce body fat
- Prevent or delay the development of high blood pressure
- Improve sleep quality
“A study published in the Journal of Mental Health and Physical Activity showed a correlation between 20 minutes a day of moderate or vigorous exercise and a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality,” Galli said. “Better sleep quality may be one reason why researchers in Taiwan found that routine exercise increased life expectancy by three years.”
And with all the research, finding balance is the key.
Frequent, short bursts of exercise have been associated with better work-life balance and reduced stress, both at work and at home.
To get started on the path to routine exercise, Galli recommends increasing one’s speed when doing housework, taking a walk during a coffee or lunch break, and choosing stairs over an elevator.
To help you stick to your new routine, find a partner, vary your routine, choose a time that works for you, change up the scenery when you exercise. Forego the “no pain, no gain” mentality and have patience when looking for physical results.
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About the Featured Doctor:
Melissa M. Galli, DPM, MHA is a board qualified and dual fellowship-trained reconstructive foot and ankle surgeon specializing in sports medicine, external (frame) fixation, trauma, total ankle replacement and reconstruction of the forefoot, hindfoot and ankle. She is certified in various total ankle replacement systems.