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The perfect workout mix for women: Endurance and resistance training

November 19, 2012

CHICAGO, Nov 19 — According to data, women are falling short on physicial fitness, with women in the US at least not getting the minimally required 2.5 hours of exercise a week compared to men. But for women confused as to what exercises to squeeze into a busy life, experts spell it out: endurance and resistance training.

Weight-bearing exercises go a long way in preserving bone mass, which for women starts to dip around the age of 30, experts say. — AFP/RelaxnewsWeight-bearing exercises go a long way in preserving bone mass, which for women starts to dip around the age of 30, experts say. — AFP/RelaxnewsThe Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US report that women are more likely to be inactive than men, which increases their risks for a host of diseases, including early death, heart disease, and diabetes. Plus new research finds that getting exercise can reduce a woman’s breast cancer risk, says Dr. Marcas Bamman, director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Centre for Exercise Medicine, in a statement last week.

“Exercise as a means of preventing or reducing the risk of various cancers, particularly breast cancer, is important for two reasons: both the direct physical effects and the indirect effect, which is preventing or contributing to mechanisms that help prevent weight gain,” Bamman says. When people pack on the pounds, their cancer risk rises, he says.

Not unlike men, as women age they tend to gain more abdominal fat, which can transform their bodies into an apple shape, rather than a pear, due to changes in their hormone levels. Exercise and careful dieting can turn this effect around, Bamman adds.

The perfect programme for a woman over 45? A mix of both endurance and resistance training, three to four days a week, he says.

Another good reason to hit the gym? Loss of bone mass, which for women starts around the age of 30, says Dr. Retta Evans, University of Alabama at Birmingham associate professor of health education. “Unless you are doing something to oppose that, such as weight-bearing exercise, it will continue,” she says. While resistance training is ideal, any exercise can help maintain boss mass, from dance and Zumba to running and kickboxing.

To help improve slumpy shoulders and bad posture, grab a yoga mat. “Yoga helps to maintain your muscularity and that helps with maintaining your posture,” Evans adds. “Yoga is another great weight-bearing activity as well.” — AFP/Relaxnews

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