According to research, less than half of mothers get enough exercise.  And those with the youngest children do the least

Less than half of mothers get enough exercise, study finds

Less than HALF of mothers get enough exercise – and those with the youngest children do the least, study finds

  • Experts said efforts should be made to help mothers engage in high-intensity activity
  • Cambridge and Southampton researchers analyzed data from 848 women
  • Women with school-aged children did about 26 m of daily physical activity
  • While those with children aged four or younger manage around 18 million a day

According to research, less than half of mothers get enough exercise.

And those with the youngest children do the least.

Experts today said efforts should be made to help mothers participate in high-intensity physical activity.

According to research, less than half of mothers get enough exercise. And those with the youngest children do the least

Rachel Simpson, a PhD student in the Medical Research Council’s Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, said: ‘There are clear short- and long-term benefits of doing more physical activity, especially if it increases your heart rate.

“But the demands of being a mother can make it hard to find the time.

“We need to consider ways to not only encourage mums, but also make it as easy as possible for busy mums, especially those with young children, to increase the amount of high-intensity physical activity they they practice.”

Physical activity is associated with a wide range of health benefits, from reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease to maintaining a healthy weight and better mental health.

A team of researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton analyzed data from 848 women, aged 20 to 32, recruited between 1998 and 2002 and followed for several years.

They were given accelerometers to assess their activity levels.

Women with school-aged children got about 26 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day, while those with children aged four or younger got about 18 minutes per day.

Meanwhile, mothers with more than one child only managed about 21 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

But in contrast, mothers with multiple children under the age of five were found to do more light-intensity activities than those with school-aged children.

NHS advice says adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week.

Professor Keith Godfrey, of the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Center and the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Center, said: ‘It is perhaps unsurprising that mothers with young children or multiple children engage in less strenuous physical activity , but this is the first study to quantify the magnitude of this reduction.

“Local government planners and recreation facility providers need to do more to help mothers engage in physical activity.”

The results were published in the journal Plos One.

HOW MUCH EXERCISE YOU NEED

To stay healthy, adults ages 19 to 64 should try to be active daily and should do:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking each week and
  • strength exercises 2 or more days per week that work all major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or:

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis each week and
  • strength exercises 2 or more days per week that work all major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or:

  • a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity each week – for example, 2 x 30 minutes of running plus 30 minutes of brisk walking equals 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and
  • strength exercises 2 or more days per week that work all major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

A good rule of thumb is that 1 minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits as 2 minutes of moderate activity.

One way to get your recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity is to do 30 minutes 5 days a week.

All adults should also break up long periods of sitting with light activity.

Source: ENM

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