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Regular physical activity and exercise result in positive improvements in health and fitness. Moderate amounts of physical activity can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Burning approximately 150 kilocalories per day or 1,000 kilocalories per week leads to a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease by 50% and of hypertension, diabetes, and colon cancer by 30%. The evidence for exercise providing a reduction in the risk of breast cancer is equivocal. Women who are physically active have higher resting metabolic rates and lower body fat, but similar fat-free mass, body mass index, and body weight compared to their sedentary counterparts. The type of exercise performed depends on the desired goal. If a woman wants to build muscular strength, then resistance training is appropriate. Exercise prescriptions for a female athlete are specific to the demands of her sport.
This chapter provides scientifically derived information on the proper exercise regimen for the middle-aged woman. Much research is published about the effects of exercise in older and younger women, but less information is available for middle-aged women. The chapter also addresses certain medical conditions/diseases pertaining to aging women and how exercise can function as a primary or secondary preventive tool. Available research data demonstrates that regular physical activity and exercise can improve all aspects of health, spirit, mind, and body. Exercise and physical activity can forestall the age-associated changes that can lead to dependence and disability. Regular physical activity and exercise can result in positive improvements in health and fitness. Moderate amounts of physical activity can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. The available evidence suggests strongly that physical activity and exercise can have a positive effect on morbidity and mortality.
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