Medical need to know

GP Juliet McGrattan answers more of your health questions

Medical need to know

Don’t stress a fracture
I’m trying to get back into running after suffering a stress fracture. How can I return safely after two months out?

Within two months most stress fractures will have healed. If you don’t have any pain at all when walking around day to day then you can start to be more active. Don’t dash out the door for a long run – you need to build up very gradually starting with walk and run sessions. I would advise a soft, flat running surface like grass initially to lessen the impact. Patience is required, if you do too much too soon you risk another fracture and you’ll have to start another two month rest period. Consider a gait analysis, new trainers and make sure your diet is top notch too. Good luck.

Zap middle-aged spread
I exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet, but as a middle-aged woman I still can’t shift some fat around my tummy – that’s just where I store it. Am I more at risk of heart problems than other people?

As women age fat does tend to get deposited around the middle, particularly after the menopause due to falling oestrogen levels. ‘Belly fat’ is a sign that there’s fat around the internal organs too, this is called ‘visceral fat’. This fat distribution increases the risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. A waist circumference of more than 80cm equates to increased risk and more than 88cm is high risk. Asian ladies will be high risk if they have a 80cm waist. Persevere with your exercise and healthy eating because it does make a difference.

Fight your fat levels
I’ve just been diagnosed with high cholesterol. Will running more help to lower it?

It sounds like you’re already a runner so you’ll be getting some cholesterol lowering benefits already. Adding in some higher intensity work might improve your cholesterol a bit further, particularly if you’re overweight. However, genetics play a large part in determining our cholesterol levels and we can’t often change these. Have a look at your diet; aim to reduce cholesterol rich food and eat plenty of oats, nuts and oily fish.

Toenails take 12 to 18 months to re- grow completely. They grow faster in the summer – perfect for those blackened post marathon nails.

Insomnia (poor sleep) troubles twice as many women as it does men. While a good run can help you have a good night’s sleep it’s best to avoid exercise late in the evening if you suffer from insomnia. Run early and opt for a relaxing bath instead.

Written by Women's Running Magazine | 1461 articles | View profile

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