Exercise is essential for reducing the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease in post-menopausal women. But too much exercise in pre-menopausal women may actually increase the risks. These claims will be made by Dr Karen Birch, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at the University of Leeds, during the BA Festival of Science in Dublin this week.
From puberty to the menopause, females cyclically produce the reproductive hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Research has now shown how these hormones interact with both health and physical activity.
Oestrogen is important because it protects against the development of both osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Light to moderate intensity physical activity enhances the beneficial effects of the reproductive hormones upon bone strength and the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels) and is associated with a decreased risk of disease and early death. In recent large scale studies people who are overweight (not obese), but physically active have been seen to have less risk of disease and disease-related death than those people who are normal weight but sedentary.
Craig Brierley | alfa
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