Exercise and Fitness for Women: Tailoring Workouts to Health Goals

Exercise and Fitness for Women: Tailoring Workouts to Health Goals

Though being physically active and regular exercising are the pillars of good health, most females don’t do enough physical activity. Clinical statistics reveal that one in five females does no physical activity in a typical week, which makes them prone to various diseases and medical conditions leading to chronic clinical adversities.

Physical activity plays a fundamental role in maintaining overall well-being and has numerous benefits for physical and mental health. Whether it's through structured exercise routines, recreational activities, or simply staying active throughout the day, prioritizing physical activity can have far-reaching benefits for both body and mind.

 

Regular exercising helps to:

  • strengthen muscles and bones
  • improve cardiovascular health
  • enhance flexibility and mobility
  • maintain your vitals, such as cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure
  • manage your body weight by burning calories and increasing your metabolism
  • reduce the risk of chronic diseases

 

Not only in men, exercise and fitness play crucial roles in promoting health and well-being for women of all ages. It helps manage stress, anxiety, and depression levels, thus enhancing psychological well-being. This holds significant relevance for women, who exhibit a higher incidence of depression compared to men across developed and developing nations. Additionally, engaging in physical activity fosters self-esteem, confidence, and social integration, offering women a platform for equality in society.

Though clinical research has proven that women can achieve similar health benefits as men in a shorter span of time, still physical inactivity is more prevalent among women compared to men. The reason lies in the fact that women encounter various barriers to engaging in physical exercise, including family responsibilities, cultural beliefs, and the necessity of permission from household authorities to participate. Other common exercise barriers for women include:


  • Lack of time and motivation
  • Financial constraints
  • Parenting demands
  • Education and awareness level
  • Lack of Resources
  • Gender stereotyping
  • Health conditions

 

Starting Fitness for Women:

A fitness journey begins with setting realistic goals, identifying personal preferences, and creating a structured plan. Women can start by assessing their current fitness level, establishing specific goals, and determining the type of exercise they enjoy. Starting gradually and progressing slowly is essential to avoid injury and burnout. Incorporating activities that fit into daily life, such as taking the stairs, walking or biking to work, or doing household chores, can help increase overall activity levels. Additionally, seeking support from friends, family, or a certified fitness professional can provide accountability and motivation.

 Women's Workout Guidelines

According to CDC Guidelines, women should adhere to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity weekly, supplemented with two days of muscle-strengthening exercises. Consistently repeating the same routine can plateau progress, so it's essential to diversify workouts with age-appropriate aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises.

  • Moderate activities encompass brisk walking, cycling, dancing, hiking, rollerblading, and water aerobics.
  • Vigorous exercises induce heavy breathing and minimal talking, including swimming, running, cycling uphill, stair climbing, skipping, and aerobics.
  • Muscle-strengthening routines should target major muscle groups — arms, legs, hips, shoulders, back, chest, and abdomen.

 

Aims for Workouts for Women:

Depending on the current fitness level and age, the workout plans for women must tailored to achieve:

  • In your 20s, prioritize building strong bones through weight-bearing activities like weight-lifting, hiking, tennis, stair climbing, and high-impact sports.
  • In your 30s, focus on cardiovascular health to maintain ideal body weight and heart and lung health.
  • In your 40s, combat age-related muscle loss with regular resistance training exercises targeting all muscle groups at least two to three times a week.
  • In your 50s, stay active to manage menopausal changes and maintain overall health.
  • In your 60s, prioritize activities that enhance balance, coordination, muscular strength, and gait to support independent living and prevent falls.
  • During Pregnancy and the postpartum period, aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. It helps prevent excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes risk, and postpartum depression.

 

Best Workout Routine for Women:

 The optimal workout routine for women integrates cardiovascular exercise, strength training, flexibility exercises, and functional movements.

 

  • Cardio activities like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming enhance heart health, calorie burn, and endurance.
  • Strength training, whether with weights or bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, and push-ups, boosts muscle strength, metabolism, and bone density.
  • Flexibility exercises like yoga or Pilates enhance flexibility, mobility, and posture, reducing injury risks.
  • Balancing activities like walking backward, using a wobbleboard, and standing on one leg help strengthen the muscles of your back, abdomen, and legs, thus enhancing your body's ability to resist falling when moving or at rest.

 

Women should choose enjoyable options for physical activities that fit their lifestyles. Besides gym workouts, activities like dancing, hiking, gardening, or sports offer effective and enjoyable ways to stay active. Group fitness classes like Zumba or aerobics provide social support and motivation. Outdoor activities such as hiking or cycling allow for exercise in natural settings.

 Essential Tips for Effective Exercising:

 

  • Allow at least two hours after eating before engaging in vigorous exercise.
  • Exercise when feeling well to ensure maximum performance.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids before and after your workout.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing for ease of movement and invest in supportive footwear.
  • Set realistic and safe fitness goals to avoid overexertion.
  • Avoid outdoor exercise during extreme weather conditions.
  • Stop exercising immediately if you experience chest pain, dizziness, palpitations, or excessive shortness of breath.
  • Exercise with a friend for added motivation and safety.
  • Choose an exercise regimen, instructor, or program that you enjoy to make workouts more enjoyable.
  • Older individuals, particularly those with a sedentary lifestyle, should consult their doctors before starting a vigorous exercise routine. Additional testing, like a stress test, may be necessary.
  • Regardless of exercise duration or intensity, always incorporate a warm-up and cool-down period to minimize the risk of injury.

·        Consultation with a healthcare professional or certified fitness trainer can provide personalized guidance and support on the journey to a healthier, fitter lifestyle.

Conclusion:

To maintain health and fitness, women should prioritize regular exercise, balanced nutrition, adequate sleep, stress management, and self-care. Consistency is key, so establishing a workout routine and sticking to it is essential for long-term success. Incorporating various physical activities, including cardio, strength training, flexibility exercises, and recreational activities, ensures a well-rounded fitness regimen. Additionally, listening to the body's cues, avoiding overtraining, and allowing for rest and recovery is vital for preventing burnout and injuries.

References:

WebMD. Workout Plans for Women: What to Know. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/workout-plans-for-women-what-to-know

Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Physical Activity for All Women. Available from: https://www.womenshealth.gov/getting-active/physical-activity-all-women

Physiopedia. Physical Activity and Women. Available from: https://www.physio-pedia.com/Physical_Activity_and_Women

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Women May Realize Health Benefits of Regular Exercise More Than Men. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/news/2024/women-may-realize-health-benefits-regular-exercise-more-men

Speaking of Women's Health. Exercise Guidelines for Women. Available from: https://speakingofwomenshealth.com/health-library/exercise-guidelines-for-women


user
Mrs. Mayuri Mathur

Mrs. Mayuri Mathur is a Senior Medical Writer (Patient education and digital) and seasoned content creator with a rich tapestry of expertise spanning over ten years. With a diverse background in content creation, she brings a wealth of experience to the table, from crafting insightful medical articles to developing comprehensive patient education materials, dynamic press releases, and captivating brochures and website content. Throughout her illustrious career, she has demonstrated an exceptional knack for distilling complex medical concepts into easily understandable content, making her a trusted resource for both professionals and lay audiences alike. Her meticulous attention to detail and innate creativity have enabled her to deliver content that not only informs but also engages and inspires. Whether elucidating intricate medical procedures or crafting compelling marketing materials, her versatility and dedication shine through in every project she undertakes. Her passion for writing, coupled with her profound understanding, makes her an invaluable asset to any team or project. In a constantly evolving digital landscape, where effective communication is paramount, Mrs. Mayuri Mathur stands out as a beacon of excellence, consistently delivering top-notch content that resonates with audiences across diverse platforms.

 More FAQs by Mrs. Mayuri Mathur

Logo

Medtalks is India's fastest growing Healthcare Learning and Patient Education Platform designed and developed to help doctors and other medical professionals to cater educational and training needs and to discover, discuss and learn the latest and best practices across 100+ medical specialties. Also find India Healthcare Latest Health News & Updates on the India Healthcare at Medtalks