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The Exercise Files: Gender Differences You Need to Know

The Exercise Files: Gender Differences You Need to Know

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Published by Jed Diamond
I’ve always a fan of exercise, but there are things we need to know about the differences between men and women. The Society for Women’s Health Research offers excellent information.

I’ve always a fan of exercise, but there are things we need to know about the differences between men and women. The Society for Women’s Health Research offers excellent information.

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Published by: Jed Diamond on Feb 09, 2011
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01/29/2013

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photo remix: Yoga woman on exercise ball - flickr_enthusiast_rocks_Nilmarie_Yoga-001 CreativeCommons
The Exercise Files:Gender 
DifferencesYou Need to Know
 
 
Jed Diamond, Ph.D. has been a health-care professional for the last 45 years.He is the author of 9 books, including
Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places,Male Menopause,
, 
 
. He offers counseling to men, women, and couples in his office inCalifornia or by phone with people throughout the U.S. and around the world. Toreceive a Free E-book on Men’s Health and a free subscription to Jed’s e-newsletter go to
. If you enjoy my articles, please subscribe. I writeto everyone who joins my Scribd team.I’ve always a fan of exercise, but there are things we need to know about thedifferences between men and women. The Society for Women’s HealthResearch offers excellent information.February 9, 2011Jennifer Wider, MDSWHR, Contributing Writer Obesity levels are at an all-time high among men, women, and children in theUnited States. The need for good nutrition and regular exercise is paramount for maintaining proper health and for keeping those extra pounds at bay, especiallyfor women.Beginning in her late 20s and 30s, a woman’s average body weight climbssteadily each year. This increase usually continues into her 60s. For manywomen, the weight gain is between one to two pounds per year with somewomen gaining more, and others less.Aside from weight loss, women who incorporate regular exercise into their dailyschedules may lower the risks of certain diseases and conditions. A recent studypresented at the Ninth Annual AACR Frontiers in Cancer Prevention ResearchConference, revealed that women who exercised for at least 150 minutes a weeksignificantly reduced their risk of endometrial cancer, regardless of their bodysize.The
Journal of the American Medical Association
revealed thatin order toprevent weight gain, an average woman who eats a normal diet needs 60minutes of moderate exercise per day.If a woman is overweight or obese, 60minutes of exercise is inadequate to keep off the weight, according to the study.In many cases she will have to modify her diet, including cutting down on overalldaily caloric intake.For older women, a dose of moderate, regular exercise may slow the progressionof age-related memory loss. A study published in the
Proceedings of the National  Academy of Sciences
, revealed that exercise may even reverse changes in the
 
brain due to the aging process. Other recent studies prove a positive correlationbetween exercise and a lower risk of colon cancer.Despite the numerous health benefits that accompany exercise, there are someimportant things women need to keep in mind in order to prevent injury.According to Alice Chen, MD, a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitationat Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut, “There are some gender differences inexercise-related injuries. Most of these relate to ligament laxity.” Women need totake extra precautions because although, “they feel less sore than men after vigorous exercise, due to hormonal differences, women will have more laxity intheir ligaments and therefore potentially more ligament injury at extremestresses,” said Chen.Pregnant women and women in the post-partum period may have additionalhealth concerns due to fluctuations in hormone levels. “Pregnant women (andpost-partum) with their shifting levels of progesterone will have more vulnerabilityto injury,” said Chen.Women are also more likely to experience knee pain than men, especially in thepatellar (knee cap) region. This is partially due to their natural laxity and also dueto “an (anatomical) difference in the knee angle that puts women’s knees at anincreased level of stress,” explained Chen.The good news is there are specific things women can do to reduce their risk of injury while exercising.Prior to working out, women should make sure to:
Stretch
. Everyone should warm up before engaging in vigorousexercise. Stretching and light aerobic activity to get the heart rate up helpsto warm you up and prevent muscle injury.
Hydration
. Many people are chronically operating on a fluid deficit andworking out and sweating further depletes their fluid reserves. It is vital tostay hydrated before, during, and after exercise and always monitor your fluid levels in order to prevent muscle injury and overheating.
Adequate caloric intake
. Under nutrition can lead to amenorrhea(absence of menstruation) due to hormone disruption. If this persists it canresult in bone mass loss (osteoporosis), placing the athlete at risk for potential stress fracture.Athletes who are consistently undernourished may experience long-term healthconsequences, such as amenorrhea. According to Chen, “menstruating athletesgain two to four percent bone mass between the ages 20 to 30. But thoseathletes with amenorrhea will lose two percent bone mass a year. Since womenstart to lose bone mass in their 40s naturally with menopause, the athlete isvulnerable to a higher lifelong fracture risk.”

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