Women’s Health and Fitness: Current Recommendations for Aerobic Exercise

In Fitness & Wellness, Physical Therapy by Elyse Schroeder, PT, DPT1 Comment

Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death in females, based on statistics provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention?

While we are not able to control the hereditary factors that increase our risk for disease, we do have control over lifestyle factors.  Regular exercise is one lifestyle factor that can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease.

In addition to reducing women’s risk for heart disease, exercise also has the following benefits:

  • Balance/regulate hormones
  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Improve quality of sleep
  • Reduce risk of osteoporosis
  • Improve energy levels
  • Reduce/delay effects of aging in the brain
  • Maintain mobility and physical function well into old age
Ok, so we’ve established exercise is beneficial.  Where do I begin?

For overall cardiovascular health:

The American Heart Association recommends,

  • At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes

OR

  • At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity

AND

  • Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefit.
How do I determine if I am performing moderate or vigorous aerobic exercise?

Step 1:  Calculate your maximum heart rate (220 – age). 

For example: if you are 60 years old, your max heart rate is 220 – 60 = 160 beats per minute (bpm)

Step 2:  Moderate intensity aerobic exercise is considered 50-75% of max heart rate

              Example: .50 x 160 = 80 bpm

                               .75 x 160 = 120 bpm

A 60 year old woman should maintain her heart rate between 80 to 120 bpm to maintain moderate intensity aerobic exercise.

Note:  Vigorous intensity aerobic exercise is considered between 70-85% of max heart rate.  (You can follow the same steps above to determine what range to maintain your heart rate in to maintain vigorous intensity.)

Helpful Tips

How to Measure Your Heart Rate:

  • Take your pulse at your wrist, counting number of beats for 60 seconds
  • Use a fitness band or watch that measures heart rate
  • Use a chest heart rate monitor

Great forms of aerobic exercise include:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Biking/cycling
  • Step aerobics/Jazzercise
  • Zumba/dance

Ladies, incorporating aerobic exercise into your daily or weekly routine has many benefits, and most importantly can reduce your risk of heart disease!  It’s never too late to start!

For guidance initiating a new fitness program, please visit: www.longevitybrainbody.com to schedule a Fitness/Wellness Consultation.  For further information or questions regarding women’s health and fitness, email us at: [email protected]

[Disclaimer: Please consult your healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise program.]

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