HEART AND EXERCISE
Burt G. Denys, M.D., Medical Director of the Cardiovascular Institute of the South
Overheard recently at the local health club: "My wife says she doesn't have to exercise -- that women get
the same heart benefit from their hormones that men get from exercise."
Yes, pre-menopausal women, in general, do have a lower incidence of heart attacks than men. But within ten years of menopause, their heart disease death rates are right up there with their husbands'. You pay for your sins against good health, regardless of your gender. And sloth is definitely one of those sins.
Three studies reported at the 1995 American Heart Association epidemiology meeting left little doubt on that
A Harvard Medical School study of more than 73,000 women found that those who were most active had their heart
attack and stroke risk lowered by roughly 40 percent, in comparison with sedentary women.
A second study at the University of Washington found that active post-menopausal women had a 48 to 60 percent
lower heart attack risk than older women who didn't exercise.
Those figures are even better than those reported at the same AHA meeting regarding the heart health benefits
of exercise in men. In a 21-year study of nearly 8,500 Israeli men, conducted
by Brown University researchers, it was found that men who reported any physical activity at all enjoyed a 21 percent lower
risk of heart-related death than sedentary men. That benefit increased to only
29 percent for those who exercised most strenuously.
That applies to women, too. You don't have to enroll in a six-day-a-week
advanced aerobics class to enjoy the heart benefits of exercise.*
The University of Washington researchers found that walking 30 to 45 minutes three days a week was enough
to lower their risk of heart disease by 50 percent among older women, compared to their sedentary counterparts.
Reduction in heart disease is not the only health benefit women enjoy from exercise. The 10-year-long Harvard study confirmed that regular physical activity also helps women control high blood
pressure, obesity, diabetes, and stress.
they are quite elderly, for women normally shop for hours. Those in a nursing
home are likely not to walk 30 to 45 minutes 3 times a week.