Women Without Children Most Likely To Engage In Vigorous Exercise Than Mothers, Study Shows

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The journey into parenthood brings immense joy and unique challenges, particularly for mothers who often prioritize their child’s needs over their own well-being. A Danish study highlights how mothers tend to engage in less moderate to vigorous physical activity compared to women without children.

“Porous Women” most likely not to meet recommended exercise guidelines

Published in the Public Health journal, the study examined data from around 20,000 Danish women aged 20-40. Researchers used self-reported information from the Danish National Health Survey 2021 to compare physical activity levels between mothers and women without children. Results revealed that mothers, referred to as “parous women” in the study, were 24 percent more prone to not meeting the World Health Organization’s physical activity guidelines compared to women without children, termed “nulliparous women.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults aged 18-64 to engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity weekly, or a mix of both. Moderate activities include brisk walking or gentle cycling, while vigorous activities involve intense movements like jogging or playing singles tennis.

Benefits of regular physical activity

Regular physical activity is crucial for overall health, reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. It also enhances mental health, aids weight management, strengthens bones and muscles, and improves daily functionality. For mothers, exercise can alleviate parenting stress and fatigue, potentially lowering the risk of postpartum depression.

A study reveals that a significant proportion of mothers, particularly younger ones, fail to meet WHO’s activity guidelines compared to women without children. Reasons for this gap include challenges like adjusting to postpartum changes, lack of time and sleep, breastfeeding, and logistical hurdles. However, the transformative nature of motherhood can also inspire positive behavioral changes.

Mothers tend to prefer light exercises such as casual walking or easy biking, while women without children are more inclined towards moderate or vigorous activities during leisure time. Surprisingly, both groups show equal tendencies towards being mostly sedentary during free time, indicating that the disparity lies in the intensity of their activities.

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