Widely used recommendations for determining heart rate maximum (HRmax) in women have been called into question. According to researchers, the popular formula of 220 – Age = HRmax may produce numbers too high for optimal female physical health. After studying how HR response to exercise stress testing was associated with age and death rates among 5,437 asymptomatic women over about 16 years, scientists settled on a new calculation: 206 – (Age x 0.88) = HRmax.
According to research, older women looking to improve gait and avoid hip fractures may need only 20 minutes of daily home exercise. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (September 27, 2010; 170 , 1548–56) followed 160 women with osteopenia for 7 years. At the beginning of the study, the women were aged 70–73. One group exercised daily for 20 minutes at home and participated in 6 months of supervised weekly training each year for 5 years. No information was available about the type of exercise performed.
In an official statement recommending yoga for pregnant women, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) states, “The rewards of basic yoga outweigh the potential physical risks, as long as you take caution and perform the exercises in moderation, according to your individual flexibility level.” According to orthopedic surgeon Rachel Rohde, MD, “One of the best aspects of yoga is being in control of your body and having the ability to do each movement at your own pace.” The AAOS statement is significant in providing support for more healthcare practition
According to the online version of the British Medical Journal (2010; 341:c3428), overweight and obese women have a greater likelihood of delivering preterm babies. Examining data from 84 studies that included more than 1 million women, researchers found that overweight and obese women had a 30% higher risk of delivery before 32 weeks gestation, and a higher risk of induced preterm birth before 37 weeks.
Endurance events such as marathons and triathlons are gaining popularity as more people recognize the benefits of physical activity. However, physicians at Loyola University Health System have issued a warning for inexperienced female endurance athletes. The physicians are concerned that many women athletes are ill-prepared for these events, which they say can lead to serious health risks like menstrual irregularity, fertility issues, stress fractures and osteoporosis.newsletter_teaser: Endurance events such as marathons and triathlons are gaining popularity as more people recognize the benefits of physical activity. However, physicians at Loyola University Health System have issued a warning for inexperienced female endurance athletes.
Engaging in physical activity can improve young girls’ self-esteem, physical health and social skills. A recent study suggests that regular physical activity in youth may also safeguard against dementia in later years.
Guided imagery was the most effective technique for helping pregnant women relax, when compared with progressive muscle relaxation and passive relaxation, according to a small study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology (2010;doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.03.008). Prenatal maternal stress can adversely affect an otherwise healthy pregnancy and exacerbate other pregnancy-related conditions like preeclampsia and hypertension.
In 2008, David Rowlands, PhD, senior lecturer with the Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Human Health at Massey University in New Zealand, published a study showing that male cyclists who ingested protein and carbohydrates between intense training bouts gained distinct performance and postexercise recovery advantages over men who fueled only with carbohydrates (Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 33 , 39–51).