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Exercise Solutions For Women

Aug 09, 2013

A woman’s job never ends, and therefore, it is no wonder that women have unique reasons that can interfere with exercise. Things like the birth of a child, marriage, single parenthood, a new job, divorce, overworking, job stress and returning to school turn time into a big consideration! After a day of work and childcare, most women prefer to spend their leisure time socializing with family and friends, or reading and watching television, rather than rushing to the treadmill.

However, the benefits of exercise are significant, especially for women. Regular exercise lowers estrogen levels, reduces body fat, and produces a healthier body mass index. All these factors significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer. Also, women who have more energy, fewer emotional problems, less pain, fewer social problems and less feelings of nervousness and depression often are those who exercise.

When starting an exercise program, it is important to remember a few basic principles:

Get the Right Exercise Routine

Ideally, you want a routine you can print out, take to the gym or use at home. It should include step-by-step diagrams along with descriptions of the exercise techniques. Such exercise charts are available in health clubs and can be found on various websites. Always obtain a routine from a reliable source and ask questions if you don’t understand anything. Perform all exercises in a controlled manner and never sacrifice control for speed. Breathing is also important. Never hold your breath while exercising. Remember to inhale as you lower a weight or relax and exhale as you raise a weight or exert. In an abdominal crunch, for example, you inhale when coming down and exhale while raising the head and shoulders off the mat.

Engage in Moderate Exercise

Don’t do too much, and don’t do too little either. Every individual is different. This means that walking up the stairs may be easy for one individual, but strenuous for someone else. Moderate- intensity activity is going to make you breathe harder, make your heart beat faster and likely make you sweat a little more than light activity. There is a simple way to understand what’s moderate for you. Light exercise does not result in any noticeable effort. Reading the newspaper is a good example. Light exercise results in noticeable exertion and normal to slightly increased breathing. Walking a dog can be considered light exercise for many individuals. Moderate exercise is slightly vigorous. Gardening, for example, may be associated with deeper breathing to panting and sweating. Finally, hard exercise involves vigorous exertion, gasping and heavy sweating. Think of that aerobics class that’s hard to get through!

How Much Exercise Is Needed?

Three to four days a week of moderate exercise for 30 to 45 minutes each time is ideal. Researchers have found that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week can reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and colon cancer. It lessens feelings of depression and anxiety, helps build bones and muscles, keeps joints functioning well, and in older women, minimizes the risk of falling.
 

How Do You Find the Time?

You don't have to fit your exercise all into one session or limit yourself to only one exercise. For example, take a brisk 15-minute walk during your coffee break and another post-dinner. Use a bicycle for 15 to 20 minutes. It all adds up. You may find that you can reach an hour a day of moderate-intensity activity more easily than you thought.

If you have not done much exercise lately, start adding physical activity to your life in simple ways. Park your car further from your destination and walk. Find a group of friends to walk with on weekend mornings. Garden or help in home repairs. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Use hand weights while walking. Every little bit helps!

Nitin Chhoda, a certified clinical exercise, strength and conditioning specialist, holds a doctorate in exercise physiology and a master’s in sports performance enhancement. He teaches fitness at Millersville University, owns a personal training business and is in the process of completing his book Total Activation
– Activation of the Mind, Body and Soul.

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