The challenges of exercising in midlife

While the benefits of physical activity are well established, the study authors note that for many women in this age group life transitions such as marriage, having children, children leaving the family home, retirement, and bereavement can influence activity level.

However, experts say it is important that midlife women take the time to prioritize their own health and quality of life by engaging in regular movement.

“The benefits of consistent exercise in quality of life become more clear when looking at the four functional benefits of many exercises; strength, stamina, flexibility and balance. The loss of any of these four types of physical capacity are hallmarks of physical infirmity and erosion of quality of life. For people looking forward to enjoying extended work or recreational activities as they age, loss of strength, stamina, flexibility and balance limit the scope of life and are predictors of loss of independent living capacity in older age,” said Dr. Charlie Porter, a cardio-oncologist at The University of Kansas Health System who was not involved in the study.

“‘Middle aged’ women are facing many demands from others and get little encouragement from anyone to take time for their own emotional and physical benefit,” Porter told Medical News Today. “This study provides encouragement for women in this stage of life to look at physical exercise for themselves as a way of sustaining and maintaining their own long term health and physical capacity. On an airliner, parents are instructed to put their own oxygen mask on before they put the mask on their children. Starting and staying with an exercise program in the time of life with maximum demands to serve others can be thought of like putting an oxygen mask on before helping others.”