International Women's Day 2020: four ways women can boost their health

Being consistent with weight-training workouts is one way women can gain more strength

As this Sunday, March 8 marks International Women's Day 2020, here we round up four lifestyle changes women can make to give their health a boost.

Workout regularly

Findings from an Australian study published last year showed that women who weight train to gain strength can get the best results by simply doing it regularly. After analyzing 24 different resistance training studies, which included almost 1000 women aged 18 to 50 with varying levels of fitness, the researchers found that in all of the studies the biggest improvements in strength were linked to the frequency of exercise, measured as number of days per week, followed by the number of repetitions and sets completed during the workout. Surprisingly, what exercise the women chose to do, the variety of exercises in each workout, whether they lifted until exhaustion, and even the heaviness of the weights did not seem to have much of an impact on the women's overall strength or muscle mass growth. The key, said the researchers, is simply to be consistent with your workouts.

Conder upping your intake of magnesium

A large-scale study published last year in the Journal of Women's Health, showed that eating a diet high in magnesium after going through menopause could lower the risk of fatal coronary heart disease for women. After looking at 153,569 postmenopausal women, who were between 50 and 79 years at the start of the study, the researchers found that the women who had a higher magnesium intake had a significantly lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease (CHD) and a reduced risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). They also found that after taking into account the women's age, those with the lowest magnesium intake (189 mg/day) had the greatest risk for fatal CHD and SCD.

Walk more steps each day

The findings of a study released just this month showed that walking more steps each day during middle age could lower the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure for both men and women, and lower the risk of obesity for women. After following 1,923 participants for an average of nine years, the researchers found that those who walked the most steps per day, on average, had a 43 percent lower risk of diabetes and a 31 percent lower risk of high blood pressure, compared to those who walked the fewest steps. The women in the study also had a 13 percent lower risk of obesity for every 1,000 steps they walked, with those who walked the most were 61 percent less likely to be obese, compared to women who walked the least.

Try to lose weight if you're overweight

According to a US study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, overweight women who lose weight -- and manage to keep it off -- after the age of 50 appear to have a lower risk of breast cancer. After looking at 180,885 women aged 50 and older, the study researchers found that women with sustained weight loss over a period of ten years had a lower risk of breast cancer than women whose weight had remained stable. In addition, the larger the amount of sustained weight loss, the lower the risk of breast cancer, with women who lost 2 to 4.5 kg (about 4.4 to 10 lbs.) benefiting from a 13 percent lower risk of breast cancer and women who lost 4.5 to 9 kg (10 to 20 lbs.) showing a 16 percent lower risk, compared to women whose weight had remained stable. Women who lost 9 kg or more (20 lbs. or more) had a 26 percent lower risk.