IMPORTANCE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BY MIDDLE AGE WOMEN

IMPORTANCE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BY MIDDLE AGE WOMEN

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In India and worldwide middle-aged women represents a large section of society. Middle age is when you enter into your 40’s and it is believed that women in their middle age are less active than men when it comes to involvement in physical activities and most of them lead a sedentary lifestyle. Women are considered as the backbone of any family. Ironically the same woman, especially in Indian scenario where apart from office/job responsibilities she has so many family obligations right from household activities to looking after kids and other demands of the day today life, involvement in regular physical activity and then adherence to the routine, becomes really challenging. To add on as the female enter into her middle age the physiological changes that occur in the body further reduces the level of Physical activity making her more prone to develop certain health problems such as reduced stamina, reduced muscle mass,  poor bone strength, low back pain, depression, and anxieties. There is reduced fertility with the onset of menopause and they also tend to accumulate fat around waist and hip.

WHY SHOULD MIDDLE AGED FEMALE EXERCISE?

There is no age to exercise and women at all stages of their life should be encouraged to exercise as insufficient activity can contribute to the development of health problems like obesity, diabetes, Coronary artery diseases, cancer and many more health related issues. Physical activity has long been known to maintain women’s health.  A little investment in the form of regular routine adopted by the women in any kind of physical activity in their middle age can give them a healthy and an independent life to lead in old age. Exercise is probably the best thing that can be done to stave off the effects of aging.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF REGULAR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY?

Physical activity is not only crucial for the promotion of the health but also for the prevention of certain life-threatening diseases such as Breast cancer, heart problems etc. In general physical activity helps to-

  • Improves stamina, fitness
  • Improves strength and endurance of muscles to complete tasks of everyday life
  • Reduces risk of developing dementia,
  • Reduces risk of developing osteoporosis
  • Reduces anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Boosts up body image and self-esteem

Going by the good effects physical activity brings it is very crucial to have a fitness program during middle age and more importantly adhering to the routine.

WHAT TYPE OF PHYSICAL  ACTIVITY NEEDS TO BE DONE BY A WOMEN IN HER MIDDLE AGE?

Going by the different researchers it is recommended that a moderate intensity exercise program would make a significant improvement in the fitness of women in her middle age. By moderate intensity, it is meant that you exert to appoint which increases your heart rate but you are able to carry on a conversation.

Moderate intensity cardio training exercise is done in form of brisk walking, dancing, swimming, gardening, indoor cycling etc helps in improving cardiopulmonary function, decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure and reduced body fat. General recommendations for cardio training are at least 20 minutes of exercise thrice a week for gaining the effects.

Resistance exercises with weights, the Thera bands & Thera tubes help in, toning the body, delaying sarcopenia (reduced muscle mass), maintaining or even restoring muscle strength. It also increases Bone mineral Density (BMD) and even delays osteoporosis. General recommendations for strength training exercises are 1-2 sets of 8-10 exercises for all major muscle groups of the body with 10-15 repetitions in each set.

Stretching exercises and yoga helps in maintaining muscle strength and flexibility and also reduces chances of injury to muscles and tendons by improving their flexibility. Pelvic floor exercises for the strengthening of pelvic floor muscles to prevent embarrassment associated with problems like Urinary incontinence which generally develops in females post pregnancy or with advancing age because of the weakness of muscles of the pelvic floor. To make work out little more interesting there is a growing trend towards using Swiss ball now a days which can be even kept at home and is an excellent way to improve your body alignment, strength, and balance.Group exercises under a supervised trainer involves a combination of all these exercises and is an interesting way to gain all beneficial effects of the Physical activity.Last but not the least Relaxation in the form of  Breathing exercises, Yoga or meditation will help in dealing with the stresses and anxieties of daily life.

All of us very well know that how physical activity can change our life. It is only about planning a routine and sticking to it. Once the positive changes are noticed, our body will demand it.

Dr. Sheetal Kalra

Associate Professor

Faculty of Physiotherapy

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