Get Moving to Outsmart Aging and Boost Health: The Must-Know Exercise Benefits

Exercise is not just another lifestyle choice, it’s the determining factor between life and death. The lack of exercise in adults has been associated with a higher risk of early death, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and certain types of cancers. In women, emerging research is shedding light on the fact that exercise may play a great role in reducing the risk of breast cancer.

The Connection Between Exercise and Cancer

Director of the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine, Marcas Bamman, Ph.D., shares his thoughts on the link between exercise and preventing or reducing the risk of various cancers, including breast cancer. He believes it’s essential to focus on two aspects: the direct physical effects of exercise and the indirect effect, which revolves around countering weight gain or contributing to weight loss mechanisms. Bamman adds that an individual’s risk of developing cancer is prone to increase with weight gain.

Exercise Benefits for Women

As women age, exercise only becomes more crucial for maintaining optimal health. The body shape of post-menopausal women tends to change since hormone-specific profiles such as estrogen are less present. Bamman explains that without regular physical activity and a healthy diet, women may experience an increase in abdominal fat, the most dangerous kind, shifting their body composition to appear more apple-shaped instead of pear-shaped.

Bone mass loss is another critical concern for women, since it may eventually lead to osteoporosis. Retta Evans, Ph.D., UAB associate professor of health education, points out that women start losing bone mass from the age of 30. Engaging in weight-bearing exercises is the most effective way to counteract this loss, including resistance and weight training. Walking or jogging combined with weight training may also provide benefits.

Alternatives to Resistance Training

For those seeking alternatives to typical resistance training, activities such as dance, Zumba, and kickboxing are perfect for maintaining bone mass. Evans also highlights how yoga helps maintain muscularity and, consequently, posture. As a weight-bearing activity that stretches the body’s entire muscle groups, yoga serves as an excellent option for those looking for a low-impact option.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the key to maintaining a consistent exercise routine is finding an enjoyable activity. It could be as simple as walking or joining a local kickboxing class. The essential factor to remember is choosing an activity that keeps the body moving and active instead of remaining sedentary to stay on the path towards better health.