Catherine Conlon: Almost half of women don't prioritize exercise and it's time for a change

Catherine Conlon: Almost half of women don’t prioritize exercise and it’s time for a change

Almost half of Irish women over 40 do not prioritize exercise.

A study by Sport Ireland points out that 41% feel they don’t have time and nearly two-thirds say they are too tired.

After a long day at work, picking up the kids, and sorting out dinner, extracurricular activities, homework, chores, and bills, it can be hard to find the time or the incentive to exercise.

Sport Ireland, in partnership with Healthy Ireland, has launched an ‘It’s my Time’ campaign to encourage women to prioritize their wellbeing by becoming more physically active. The campaign includes specially commissioned exercise videos for muscle, bone and cardiovascular health as well as sleep, mental health and nutrition.

The particular barriers to physical activity were noted by the Department of Health’s Chief Nursing Officer, Rachel Mckenna, who said: “We know that women often struggle to take time for themselves, to prioritize their own health and be physically active.

“For many women in this age group (40-60), menopause adds additional uncertainty; it can be a daunting experience resulting in a range of symptoms that can be challenging including trouble sleeping, headaches head and fatigue.”

Menopause can be another obstacle to exercise.
Menopause can be another obstacle to exercise.

This campaign aligns with another Sport Ireland is investing in to target inactive teenage girls. It is hoped that this campaign will be officially launched in March 2023 and will continue at least until October 11, International Day of the Girl. It will appeal to inactive teens from urban and rural areas, disadvantaged communities and the LGBTQ+ community.

The 2018 Children’s Sport Participation and Physical Activity (CSPPA) showed that only 7% of teenage high school girls meet the recommended physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes a day.

The 2021 Adolescent Girls Get Active Research report found that girls often label themselves as “unathletic” and say they feel not good enough, unfit and feel less talented than others.

Learn from other countries

A recent study by Global Advisor found that the Dutch spend 12.8 hours a week (almost two hours a day) doing physical exercise or team sports, double the average of 6.1 in 29 countries.

Only 4% of Dutch say they don’t exercise at all in a week.

More than a third of people (37%) across all countries said lack of time was the main barrier to taking up physical activity. Next come the lack of money (18%) and the weather being too hot or too cold (17%).

How to remove these barriers of lack of time, lack of money and bad weather?

By doing what the Dutch do – allowing them to be ahead of the pack in terms of average amount of exercise taken per week.

We need to prioritize active travel in cities across the country and make it easier and cheaper to walk, bike and take public transit. By bringing all three together, it will be easy to move actively and efficiently to school or work and all the other activities we do on a daily basis.

It also makes economic sense. A new report from Sustrans, an active travel non-profit in Britain, has revealed that walking, cycling and wheeling are worth £36.5 billion (42.6 billion euros) for the British economy last year.

The index found that people who walk take 27% fewer sick days and spend 40% more in shopping than those who drive, largely due to the time they spend there.

“It is clear that active forms of travel, such as walking and cycling, bring in billions of pounds in economic benefits,” said Xavier Brice, CEO of Sustrans.

Jonathan Bray, Director of Urban Transport Group, said: “In the face of the twin crises of the cost of living and climate change, we need to ensure that people can walk or cycle as short journeys as possible. possible.”

Depression treatment

Research from the University of Glasgow published in BMC Medicine this month, reported that a third of people at risk for depression and anxiety could avoid it by getting enough exercise. Exercise is a well-known treatment for people with depression, but moving more could prevent people from becoming depressed and anxious in the first place, according to a study of nearly 40,000 people.

On a bike: Exercise can help prevent depression.
On a bike: Exercise can help prevent depression.

We know this intuitively. I find biking the 4km to and from work wakes me up on the way home and clears my brain on the way home, getting rid of grumpiness or tension at either end of the day. The authors recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking each week and strength training two days a week that works all major muscles.

One way to do this – rain, sleet or shine – is to build aerobic exercise into your day – by doing what the Dutch have shown us how to do best – by giving priority to active travel to work or school.

A new report from PATH (Partnership for Active Travel and Health) published this month indicates that walking or cycling for 30 minutes every working day is enough to reduce the risk of premature death by 20 to 30%, while being a inexpensive transport option to significantly reduce carbon and pollutant emissions on short journeys.

The best way to encourage women of all ages to engage in regular aerobic exercise is to maximize active travel in cities and towns across Ireland.

The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) has set out an ambitious vision to provide an accessible integrated transport network that enables the sustainable growth of the Cork Metropolitan Area.

The plan includes a transformed bus system, an improved commuter rail system, a new east-west light rail line, a comprehensive cycling network providing safe cycling facilities throughout the region, road improvements, park and ride facilities and a improved pedestrianization.

Women of all ages do not exercise enough due to time and cost constraints, and this impacts their physical and mental health, energy levels and risk of premature death.

The CMATS Integrated Transportation Network is urgently needed to aggressively challenge active travel norms and break down age, gender and income group barriers for all of us, including older women. and adolescent girls to lead healthy active lives.

Imagine the new normal – women of all ages walking and cycling to school and college and to work – that’s the goal.

Dr Catherine Conlon is a public health physician in Cork and former director of human health and nutrition at Safefood

#Catherine #Conlon #women #dont #prioritize #exercise #time #change

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *