Charles A. Bertrand, M.D., FACP, DIM-CD (Ret.)
Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College
and at the Medical University of South Carolina


Most of the articles that I write are based on the current medical literature -- some are original. I review more than 20 medical journals as well as three excellent medical news letters each month. All are recent articles -- that is to say, within two months of publication.

One of the journals reviewed on a regular basis is the Journal of the American Medical Association referred to as JAMA. The issue of March 21st (2001) had two articles about exercise for women, particularly post -menopausal women.

The studies were done in meticulous fashion, had impressive numbers and sufficient time for follow-up. Rather than to going into detail about the methods used, results obtained, etc. I'd rather focus on their conclusions and recommendations.

Exercise is good for women. Why? Well because it reduces the number of heart attacks and also helps prevent osteoporosis (and hence fractures). Both are important striving to maintain good health.

Many studies have been done about walking. It is the most practical method of exercising for most people. One of several important conclusions concerned walking. If one walks at least one hour per week then the frequency of heart attacks is decreased by almost half.

The pace of walking is not important but the time factor is. Probably the best recommendation -- for now -- is moderate walking ( a rate of 3 mph) for 30 minutes about five times per week. Most women are capable of doing this and it is important to help maintain good health. Walking is the most popular and practical form of exercise for most people.

Exercise is helpful even for those who are overweight, are smokers or have elevated blood cholesterol levels.

I would add that one should not exercise after a heavy meal. It takes about two to two and a half hours for the stomach to empty and it is not wise to have a double work load (digestion and exercise) on the heart at the same time.

While the above applies mainly to walking., obviously, they are many other forms of exercise. It is helpful in exercising to do what you like or enjoy doing- be it bicycle riding, tennis, golf or whatever. If it is more enjoyable for you then you may be more inclined to continue to perform this type activity. This is particularly helpful if one is able to develop a routine -- a habit pattern for an extended time period.

Be sure to consult your doctor in order to develop a program suitable for your needs. There are medical considerations that may influence your physician in prescribing a suitable program. In time you may even develop a likingfor exercise, feel better and have a more positive outlook on life.

The advice provided on this website is intended to be general in nature and should not be relied upon for specific treatment. If you need personal medical attention please contact your physician.

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