The interaction between regular exercise and selected aspects of women's health

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1995 Jul;173(1):2-9. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(95)90160-4.


The public health initiative to increase women's participation in regular recreational exercise to the 90% level raises multiple theoretic concerns about its impact on the reproductive health of women. However, at all points in a woman's life the overall effect of regular exercise to appetite appears to be beneficial rather than harmful, and in the absence of other stressors, exercise performance must significantly exceed usual recreational levels to have an adverse effect on any aspect of a woman's reproductive life. Therefore even in elite athletes abnormalities of any part of the reproductive process (puberty, menstrual cyclicity, pregnancy, lactation, and menopause) should not be attributed solely to exercise without complete evaluation. While generally beneficial, the interaction between exercise and skeletal integrity is influenced by hormonal status and multiple exercise variables. Thus, whereas regular exercise at all ages appears to provide both short- and long-term benefit, the characteristics of the exercise regimen need to vary at different time points.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Women's Health*