Fitness Exercise for Women
The important roles of modern women in family and society have put them under all kinds of pressure. To fulfil their roles, they must be strong and healthy.
Women's Health Concerns
In 2011, 2 981 women died of heart diseases in Hong Kong.
Cancer is the top killer among Hong Kong women. In 2011, 5 305 women died of cancer in Hong Kong, with the top three causes being lung cancer (23.8%), colorectal cancer (15.5%) and breast cancer (10.4%).
About 50% of women may develop osteoporosis after menopause. Even a minor knock or fall may result in fracture.
A survey found that the percentage of women suffering from depression between the age of 18 and 64 was 9.7%, which was higher than that of men (6.8%). The probability of women having postnatal depression two months after delivery was as high as 15.7%. This will not only affect the physical and mental health of the mother, but also cause disturbance to the baby and family.
Improper posture at work or for doing housework can easily lead to muscle fatigue and cause pain in the waist, back, neck and shoulders. In the long run, they may even cause strains to muscles and bones and affect women’s daily life.
A local survey also found that one out of three women was stricken with stress urinary incontinence.
According to the findings of the “Physical Fitness Test for the Community”, nearly 50% of middle-aged women (aged 40 to 59) in Hong Kong were overweight or obese, almost doubling the percentage of young women (aged 20 to 39), which was about 25%. In terms of waist circumference (women with a waist circumference greater than 80 cm were classified as having central obesity), the percentage of middle-aged women facing the problem of obesity was as high as about 3 times of that of young women. Obesity may lead to many problems, including chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.
We should not let these problems persist!
Living a healthy lifestyle can help us alleviate the above health problems. A healthy lifestyle includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, a balanced work and rest pattern, as well as getting rid of unhealthy habits (e.g. smoking and heavy drinking).
Benefits of Exercise
Some studies show that it is not necessary for exercise to be strenuous as exercises of moderate intensity (which cause mild sweating and slightly higher breathing and heart rates) are enough to bring benefits to our health. You may choose your favourite exercise depending on your physical condition. The best way is to build exercise into your daily life and make it a habit. An accumulation of at least 30 minutes of physical activities of moderate intensity (can be in sessions of at least 10 minutes each) every day persistently, depending on your physical condition, can bring you the following benefits:
- Reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke and diabetes mellitus and preventing some types of cancer (e.g. colorectal cancer)
- Improving your cardiopulmonary functions and blood circulation
- Burning calories to help you maintain a healthy body weight
- Strengthening your muscles and reducing the risk of osteoporosis
- Enhancing the mobility and flexibility of joints to lower the risk of injuries and falls
- Relieving stress, boosting confidence and improving mental health
- Acting as a good role model for your children by guiding them to do exercise, which in turn helps strengthen family relationship
|It is necessary to do sufficient warm-up and cool-down before and after exercise in order to prevent injuries. If feeling unwell during exercise, stop immediately and consult medical professionals. Chronic patients and those who do not have the habit of doing exercise should consult their doctors first to work out a safe exercise programme.
Physical Activities and Energy Expenditure
For a woman weighing approximately 60 kg, the energy expended by doing the physical activities listed below for 30 minutes are as follows:
(The information given above is for reference only. The actual amount of energy expended is determined by factors such as intensity and duration of an activity and the physical fitness, skill level, gender, age, body weight of an individual.)
Physical Fitness Association of Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong Physiotherapy Association (Women's Health Specialty Group)