Exercise is good for everyone, generally speaking. However, not all forms of exercise are appropriate for each individual. Physiological differences between men and women suggest that each group needs customized workouts that address those specific needs. This article focuses on workouts for women.
Women have less relative strength than men. Women also have to work harder than men at building upper body strength. The female body contains more water and undergoes physical and hormonal changes frequently (starting at puberty through menopause and beyond). It is critical that women maintain adequate levels of hydration, especially during workouts. Anemia, calcium deficiency, and bone health are of special concern to women as well. Lastly, women simultaneously assume many roles including wife, mother, caregiver, and career woman. This kind of multi-tasking can cause higher levels of stress and personal neglect. Therefore, certain types of workouts for women are more effective and appropriate.
Adding weight training to a workout will increase bone density and strength. It also serves to boost the metabolism to better manage body weight. Resistance training can take many forms. Traditionally, lifting free-weights and using gym equipment is effective. But, using exercise bands and performing bodyweight exercises like push-ups and squats are just as effective for beginners. To incorporate some cardio into a resistance workout, add moves like jumping jacks and jumping rope which strengthen and tone the legs.
Walking or Running
Walking can be performed by most everyone. Women can walk before, during, and after pregnancy. Walking is excellent for relieving stress. It is also an easy and gradual way to transition into running. They can start by walking for 2 minutes and then run for 30-60 seconds alternating between the two for 20-30 minutes per day several days per week. Walking and running keep the cardiovascular system operating efficiently thus improving heart health.
Stress is a source of tension in the body which can lead to poor posture and make the body susceptible to imbalance and injury. Flexibility workouts for women should complement both resistance and cardiovascular workouts. In addition to a progressive stretching protocol, women should consider taking yoga and Pilates. These exercises increase flexibility, correct postural issues, build core and body strength, and help relieve stress.
One of the best workouts for women who are short on time is circuit training. This type of workout alternates between cardio and strength moves with no breaks in between each exercise. Circuit training is also highly effective in weight-loss efforts. Here is a workout that can be performed practically anywhere without using any equipment:
Start with a 3-5 minute warm-up of walking or jogging, and then some light stretching. Perform 15-20 jumping jacks. Immediately follow with 10-15 squats. Next, perform 10 push-ups (wall, incline, “girl push-ups” on the knees, or standard). Then, perform 10 crunches. Rest for 60 seconds and repeat the entire circuit at least three times. Finish the workout with a 3-5 minute cooldown of stretching.
These workouts for women address overall health, wellness, and fitness. The key is to choose enjoyable activities that are weight-bearing, challenge the cardiovascular system, increase flexibility, improve posture, relieve stress, and are efficient, yet time-saving.