This month at Bright Pink we are focusing on Sheroes—women admired for their courage, achievements, and qualities (superwomen). You might be wondering what exercise has to do with being a Shero? Other than the obvious – that Wonder Woman had an incredible, strong body! Sheroes have to work to take care of their bodies, but you don’t have to become a gym junkie to be sure your body stays strong and healthy.
When it comes to exercise, self care starts with looking after your body every day. And small daily habits make more impact long term than a short-lived resolution to do something dramatic. The best way to keep your body fit is to make choices daily that will get you moving more. So simple things, like choosing to walk instead of driving. Taking stairs instead of the elevator. Choosing the farthest parking space from the door instead of circling to find a closer spot. All those little habits add up into a more active lifestyle, which is the most important thing for your long-term health.
Now I’m not saying that an exercise routine isn’t important as well! In fact, Health and Human Services recommends all women get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, preferably spread throughout the week. That averages out to 22 minutes per day. And moderate intensity can be as simple as a brisk walk. Again, make it something that can fit into your everyday routine so that it will stick over the long haul.
And if making your body look more like a cartoon Shero is your goal, a little weight lifting is a great idea for all women too. We know that weight bearing exercise increases bone mass, making your bones stronger. Someday everyone will be menopausal and wish they had spent more time building strong bones at the gym earlier in life.
Now to get a little more specific for women at high risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer reading this blog – I’m one of you! Exercise is a really important component of our risk reduction plan. We know that exercise reduces the risk of getting breast cancer. If you have your ovaries removed before menopause to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, the bad news is that you are at higher risk for osteoporosis and heart disease because of the extra years you will spend in menopause. Since we know that exercise both improves your bone health and lowers your risk of heart disease, it’s even more important to integrate movement into your life as a higher risk woman. So let’s get moving together this month! I’m planning to take the stairs whenever I can…