Women at the gymExercising regularly and eating healthy foods are the main ways that people take care of their bodies. Over and over again, studies have shown that a logical approach to health and wellness benefits almost every part of your body, from your immune system to your heart. But for women, new studies show that a healthy lifestyle may have one drawback. It’s been linked to early menopause.

Researchers aren’t sure about the cause of the correlation or how it will effect other health issues, but their numbers were pretty clear. They followed 3100 premenopausal women for a period of ten years. Those who exercised the most were 17% more likely to begin menopause during that decade. Also those who eat polyunsaturated fats found in fish and vegetable oils were 15% more likely to begin menopause.

So what does that matter? Well, early menopause is linked to heart conditions and early bone thinning. On the other end, it also leads to lower risks for breast cancer. So what’s a girl to do?

Definitely,  I think we know that healthy living will benefit us the most overall. The pros of exercising and eating right far outweigh the cons. For now, I’m sure that scientists and doctors will continue to look into the factors at work and how we can utilize this information to help women make healthy choices.

At the same time, I think there’s another lesson for moms in particular. Plenty of studies pop up telling us the dangers of “x” and the possible correlation to “y.” We hear about every food that enters our kitchen, every program our kids watch on TV and each development milestone that might be missed. Sometimes, we need to step back and look for the logical conclusion. Parents aren’t going to read this study and say, “Quick girls! Stop playing outdoors! Sit down!” It would be a huge over-reaction to a small study that needs more research. But so often, we hear about the terrible consequences of a lax bedtime or a fondness for ice cream and we jump to extremes. Instead, we should try to be realistic and look for all the information available, instead of a single study.

Exercise may lead to early menopause. It also helps you stay at a healthy weight, sleep better, feel more energized and keep strong, healthy bones. I’m pretty sure that we shouldn’t cancel our gym membership just yet. And next time we read the latest study, we might want to take a step back before we swear off vitamin supplements for the rest of our lives.

(Photo: CigaretteZoom)