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More Pressure From Our Government to Exercise More

June 12, 2014


[su_quote cite=”NY Times” url=”″]Most of us know that moderate exercise is good for us. But surprisingly few of us know what moderate exercise means, research shows. An instructive new study found that many of us underestimate how hard we should exercise to achieve maximum health benefits, and overestimate how vigorously we are actually working out.

It’s been six years since the federal government published exercise guidelines for adults. Straightforward and flexible, they recommend that adults complete 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise each week. Either prolonged sessions or multiple, shorter workouts are O.K., and the form is never specified. Jog, cycle, swim, walk, do tai chi, rake leaves or jump rope — any activity is fine, the recommendations suggest, as long as you reach and maintain the specified intensity.

Since then, the governments of many other nations, including Canada and Britain, have endorsed essentially the same guidelines for their citizens, and doctors now routinely advise their out-of-shape patients to begin exercising moderately. So does this column. But no scientific studies had determined whether average people know what the recommended intensities feel like in action. So for a study published last month in PLOS One, researchers at York University in Toronto recruited 129 sedentary adult Canadians ages 18 to 64 and set out to see what they knew about exercising for health.[/su_quote]

More pressure from our government to exercise more. It is sad that our experience in reproduction with women is not more widely understood. 75 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, especially in women who have a history of prior exercise, is clearly detrimental in women. This level of exercise sends a life threatening stress signal to the brain that then results in a DECREASED METABOLIC RATE, the exact opposite effect from what’s desired. In addition, the signals from the brain to the ovary are significantly reduced because nature does not want a stressed female to become pregnant. Pregnancy is a very stressful metabolic state and a stressed cavewoman likely did not survive, an event counter to preservation of the species.

If a woman has never exercised significantly in the past or had an eating disorder, she could likely tolerate moderate to high level exercise for 30 minutes 3x/week without negative effects. Once a woman has been sensitized in the past with high level aerobic exercise regularly for a year in the past (even remote past), she becomes highly sensitive to physiologic stress and SHOULD NOT engage in any aerobic activities. We recommend a slow burn resistance exercise technique that is to be done once or twice per week for 30 – 40 minutes only. The balance of “time” should be utilized in walking at a normal pace outside for as much time as is available. Not power walking.

In addition to the negative fertility effects of aerobic exercise, estrogen levels are lower than normal. Often significantly lower and nearly menopausal. We see women all the time that are having hot flashes and night sweats as a result of this phenomenon. Did you ever wonder why so many women are on Prozac, Xanax, and Adderal? Everyone knows that women near menopause have psychiatric issues right? What people don’t realize is young women are exercising themselves to near menopause! The symptoms of this problem are stress, anxiety, mood changes, fatigue, palpitations, lack of concentration, memory difficulty, headaches etc. etc. Did you ever wonder why high level exercising women look much older than their stated age? One of the most significant changes for menopausal women and these exercising women with low estrogen is skin wrinkling and aging.

After caring for women with infertility and hormone problems of this sort for 20 years, there is no doubt in my mind that aerobic exercise is detrimental to women if done outside the above parameters. Now that’s not to say that someone with metabolic syndrome who has never exercised shouldn’t get moving. Those are the people that benefit from new aerobic exercise programs in the referenced studies and look “healthier as a result.” It is because, however, that for them, any exercise is better than sitting home doing nothing and eating more foods that will make them sicker.

These concepts are a tough sell in todays world of the “exercise revolution.” How we forget so fast. As a child in the late 60’s early 70’s in Florida, there were no adults running the streets or cycling, no gyms around, no treadmills, no elliptical machines, and no cross fit or Zumba classes on every corner in America. There was only the Boston and NY marathons and the first Gate river run was in 1977! Adults played a little tennis and golf and walked the neighborhood. People ate a lot of animal fat and red meat and amazingly were dramatically healthier than we are today. Certainly a mystery………… least to those who write the articles as exampled above.

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