Sexual Wellness Resource Center
For Adults over 50.

Benefits of Exercise

By Michael Bates, M.D.

I just reviewed two articles on the benefits of exercise. The first was published in JAMA Oncol, July 16,2015 and studied the relationship of increased body fat and increased breast cancer risk in menopausal women. Half of the patients exercised moderately for 2 1/2 hours weekly, the other half excercised moderately for 5 hours weekly. Not surprisingly the group that exercised more had a significanct decrease in body fat and a possible decrease risk of postmenopausal breast cancer compared to the group that exercised less.  

The second, pulbished online MedlinePlus, July 23, 2015, HealthDay showed the positive benefits on the aging brain of vigourous exercise reported in 3 different studies.

  •  The first study consisted of 65 patients 55 to 89 years of age with mild cognitive impairment. Half did mild stretching exercises with little increase in heart rate, half exercised 4 times a week, for 45 minutes, doing high-intensity aerobics, maintaining their heart rates within 75 to 85 percent of their maximum heart rate.  MRIs showed improved blood flow to the memory and processing centers of the brain and spinal fluid samples showed significant reduction in tau protien tangles, a bad actor in Alzheimer's disease.
  • The second study included 200 patients between 50 and 90 with Alzheimer's, who were divided into a vigorous exercise group, 70 to 80 percent of max heart rate and a nonexercise group.  The exercise group had less anxiety, irritablilty and depression as well as significant improvement in mental speed and attention.
  • The third study inscribed 71 participants between 56 and 96, who had decreased cognitive ability secondary to ministrokes.  Half were assigned to a group that did regular aerobics classes and half did not exercise regularly.  Those in the exercise group significantly improved their memory and selective attention.

So what is the message here? Vigorous exercise,  5 times per week for 60 minutes a session, decreases body fat, may decrease the risk of breast cancer, and benefits the aging brain. The bonus is weight control and improved body image.  Men and women have a tendency to weight gain with aging.  I counseled my patients entering menopause that they would have to be proactive not to gain weight, with a better balance of nutritous intake and regular exercise.  Good weight control equals good health which equals good sexual health.