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Women's Health


Exercise priorities vary with life stages

Reported September 01, 2009

The amount of exercise that women manage to do as they go through different life phases changes over time.

Researchers analysed data from 22,595 Australian women and found that lower levels of physical activity were linked with marriage and childbirth in young women and declining health in older women. They also found that activity levels often increased in women who were retired or widowed.

By recognising the life events that are associated with decreased activity, women could be alerted to the risk. For example, if you are an older woman with heart disease or diabetes, it is vital to stay active, as physical activity can help to manage those conditions.



The researchers suggested that widowed women may use increased physical activity as a way to cope with the loss of their spouse. The study also found that young women who suffer harassment at work tend to boost their activity levels, and this may be their way of coping with the stress of the situation.

Situations like marriage and children change the amount of expendable time during the day. It may vary culturally, but having children almost always decreases the feeling of self-priority in women.

Figuring out ways to maintain regular physical activity throughout the life cycle is important. Even a walk around the block with a friend can do wonders for both mental and physical health.