Friday, May 30, 2008

Common Myths about Women's Health -- Part II

Think weight gain is an inevitable part of aging? Figure exercise is a waste of time if you can’t devote an entire hour to physical activity? Convinced statin drugs are the only way to reduce cholesterol levels? Based on an article by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP at Women to Women, here’s how to separate fact from fiction when it comes to several common myths about women’s health -- Part II!

The older you get, the less sleep you need.
Fact: After about the age of 50, women spend less time in deep REM sleep and spend more time in stage I and II (lighter sleep). This doesn't necessarily mean we need less sleep, but it does mean that we are definitely more prone to waking up due to light, noise, night sweats, and other sleep disruptors. To make sure you are getting maximum rest and not just sleeping less because outside factors are keeping you up, take special care to create a relaxing and quiet sleep environment, exercise earlier in the day, and refrain from eating just before bedtime. Here are some special tips if you suffer from insomnia.

Statin drugs are the best way to control high cholesterol levels.
Depending on your cholesterol levels and family and personal health history, you most likely can achieve an improved lipid profile through natural means. Start with your diet and eliminate processed and refined ingredients (including trans fats, fat “substitutes”, high fructose corn syrup and other chemicals), limiting carbohydrates, eating fresh whole foods from the source as much as possible, and getting adequate amounts of healthy fat. Add in exercise and you've got the recipe for reduced LDL cholesterol levels. Also, two supplements that are known to help with cholesterol levels are red yeast and fish oil. Here's more from Women to Women on the Truth About Cholesterol and Fat.

Myth: You need to exercise 30–60 minutes per day to have any impact on health.
Fact: Good news for the gym-phobic, this myth is not true
. For health benefits without a lot of time expenditure, try “bursting”. This exercise method has you bring your body to an extreme quickly and repeatedly — to the point where you’re breathing so heavily, you might not be able to talk. If you exercise in bursts, you may not require more than 20 minutes three to four times a week to improve your health. Work your way to bursting for one minute (run, bike, and some other intense exercise) and then try to "burst" 3 or 4 times during a 20 minute workout. Studies show that this form of exercise might actually be better at warding off osteoporosis. More on bursting.

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