Is Exercise Really So Important?

Exercise—being physically active—is very important for all women. Being active can help you:

● Lose weight
● Have more energy
● Sleep better
● Look younger
● Live longer
● Enjoy sex more
● Feel happier
● Avoid heart disease and high blood pressure, and
● Avoid bone injuries and hot flashes if you getting older

OK, But How Active Do I Have to Be?

Studies show that as little as 15 minutes of moderate exercise—like fast walking or dancing—3 times a week can improve the health of your heart. If you want to really feel good, try to increase your activity to at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week. If you have a serious health problem, be sure to talk with your health care provider before starting an exercise program.

Do I Have to Run or Do Aerobics to Be Really Active?

No! The best activity is the one you like. Also think about what activity will easily fit into your life at low cost. For many women, walking is the best activity. It is also a good idea to do a number of different activities—so you don’t get bored.

Is Walking Good Exercise?

Walking is great exercise. But you have to walk fast. Swing your arms. If you can talk while you walk, that’s good. If you can sing while you walk, you are walking too slowly.

I’ve Tried to Start an Exercise Program Before, but I Can’t Keep It Up. Any Suggestions?

Here are some tips for getting started and keeping going with a more active life:

● Start today.
● Do it with a friend. A partner can keep you going when you feel like stopping.
● If you miss a day (or a week) start again. Just think—if you fell down, you wouldn’t just lie there on the ground. You would get up and move on. So keep going!
● Use the sheet on the following page to plan and keep track of your progress for 1 month. After a month, you will have a habit that is hard to break. Celebrate!

For More Information

National Women’s Health Information Center at

This Web lists 102 articles and federal publication fact sheets on exercise for persons with many specific issues such as back pain, pregnancy, diabetes, exercise for the elderly, etc. In addition, the site includes a comprehensive list of federally approved physical exercise programs.