regina_m_benjamin_web.jpgHOLLYWOOD — If you are a woman and don’t exercise enough — or at all —you are literally making yourself sick. That essentially is the conclusion of a new study released by Oregon State University last week, indicating that inactive women are at a higher risk for developing metabolic syndrome, a group of medical conditions including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and excessive belly fat.

“Even taken separately, each of these conditions can be dangerous to your health,” says Shondelle Solomon-Miles, a certified fitness expert in Hollywood. “Combine them, and your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke increases.”

The study found that women average only about 18 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous daily exercise, far below the recommended minimum of 30 minutes a day. The reasons for lack of physical activity range from busy work schedules and family obligations to vanity. In an interview with the New York Times last year, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin noted that because they don’t want to mess up their hair, some women avoid physical activity altogether.

“Anyone who doesn’t want to work out will always find a convenient excuse,” Solomon-Miles says. “But the bottom line is this: Hair – or any other reason – should not stand in the way of your health.”

Numerous studies have shown that women who exercise at moderate to vigorous levels for three or more hours per week reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by 30 to 40 percent.

But according to a 2011 report by Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, fewer than two in 10 Americans get the recommended levels activity, and more than a quarter of U.S. adults of both genders don’t exercise at all.

If a busy schedule is the reason someone doesn’t exercise, Solomon-Miles suggests planning early morning sessions, and one won’t have to worry about fitting in a workout later when things get too hectic.

She also recommends focusing on time-saving but highly effective exercises such interval training, which typically lasts 15 to 20 minutes per session, and asking a trainer to create intervals that are best suited to one’s needs.

For more information contact Solomon-Miles at or 305-785-2458.

Photo: Regina M. Benjamin