Women: Reasons to Get Active! (Heart Health)
Physical inactivity raises your risk of heart disease â€” more than you might think. It boosts your chances of developing heart-related problems even if you have no other risk factors. It also increases the likelihood that you will develop other heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and weight gain.
Yet most women aren’t getting enough physical activity. According to the Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, 60 percent of women in the United States don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity. More than 25 percent of women are not active at all during their free time. Physical inactivity is especially common among African American and Hispanic women. Besides the elevated risk of heart disease, lack of physical activity leads to more doctor visits, hospitalizations, and use of medicines for a variety of illnesses.
For women, physical inactivity also increases the risk of osteoporosis, which in turn may increase the risk of broken bones. This is worrisome, since women tend to become less physically active as they age. Fortunately, research shows that 30 minutes of moderate activity on most, and preferably all, days helps to protect heart health. This level of activity can reduce your risk of heart disease as well as lower your chances of having a stroke, colon cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other medical problems. Examples of moderate activity are taking a brisk walk, raking leaves, housecleaning, or gardening. If you prefer, you can divide your 30-minute activity into shorter periods of at least 10 minutes each.