Women Don’t Get Enough Exercise After Middle Age

Only one in 20 women above middle age get enough exercise for their health, according to a study I just finished reading with my morning coffee.  That has me feeling a bit deflated.  We’ve got to do better for ourselves! It only gets harder from here (medically speaking), and we’re not doing ourselves any favors by skipping the basic lifestyle steps we need to care for ourselves and ensure our best quality of life as we age.

Why Get Enough Exercise?

Women don't Get Enough ExerciseDoctors and other health experts don’t just recommend that we get enough exercise because they like to recommend things we don’t like doing.  Turns out, that’s just a myth I told myself for the first fifty-plus years of my life! Physical activity really does do wonders for both physical and mental health. It’s one you can feel after one workout and that only improves after several.

When you get enough exercise – and that is only about a half hour a day for 5 days per week, not even necessarily a consecutive half hour – nearly every part of your body and mind benefits.  New research shows it helps to stave off depression, existing research shows it prevents everything from heart disease to diabetes and many kinds of cancer.  I don’t want cancer or a stroke. I want to enjoy as much of my retirement as I can.  I know I have fewer years ahead of me than I have behind, but I want to make sure what I have left includes some of the best ones.

What the Research Showed About Women and Workouts

What the research – from the University of Essex – discovered was that only about one in 20 women get the recommended amount of cardio and strength training into an average week.

What’s even more frustrating (and don’t ask me why, because I don’t have the answer) is that this isn’t the same for men.  We women are 34 percent less likely to meet overall physical activity guidelines than men are.  Moreover, adults between the ages of 50 and 65 were notably less likely to get enough exercise than our younger counterparts.

We’re letting ourselves down!

I have only become as active as I am now in recent years. I never considered myself to be a tremendously active person. I’m certainly not someone who got up early to run or who enjoyed sweating all over shared equipment at the gym. But my doctor essentially scared me into getting moving and I’ve found that I’ve enjoyed it far more than I ever expected.

All those days, weeks, months…that I watched TV all evening because I “don’t like to exercise” did me no favors, didn’t make me any happier, and certainly didn’t do anything for my health. Upon retirement, I had no excuse. I had all day every day. I could certainly find a way to get enough exercise five days a week. A half hour – or two 15-minute sessions – on those days comes and goes very quickly. It was difficult to create a habit out of it, but now that it is part of my routine, I look forward to it.

Now it’s your turn. Get up and get enough exercise for your own health and happiness!

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