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Ladies! All You Need To Know About Fitness And More!

fitness

Women and fitness is a topic that’s most talked about, yet maybe least properly understood. The core of the issue being a couple of 3-letter words – fat vs. fit.

Most women start a fitness routine with a short-sighted goal of only to ‘lose weight,’ little realising the long-term implications of the necessities of fitness is not just the physical aspects but also her mental well-being. Fitness – the type of routine, the when, the how – all need to vary at different times and age, which can be understood only if you understand the physiological and mental makeup of a woman at different points of her life.

Fitness is a habit that needs to be cultivated and inculcated into life right from an early age. Most women in the 20’s are still blessed with high basal metabolic rates, good muscle tone and DHEA – a hormone that helps recover rapidly from fatigue levels. However, increasingly sedentary lifestyle, jobs that require late nights or sitting for long periods of time and unhealthy eating, all take a toll on health, and women at a young age are affected with weight gain, lifestyle diseases, reproductive issues and much more.  The 30’s are a time of hormonal changes, childbirth and stress and fatigue due to work/life balancing issues. Premenopausal changes start 5-10 years before the actual event, causing the 40’s to be a time for drastic physiological changes in a woman. Every decade after the 20’s, the basal metabolic rate drops by around 15%; women lose bone mass and can be affected by lifestyle diseases, all of it leading to more and more sedentary lifestyles, so much so that most women around the age of 70 are only about 40% active as they should be, both mentally and physically.

But here’s the good news. No matter how poor the current level of fitness of a woman is, one can start an exercise routine and become fitter and healthier. Even 90-year-old women who use walkers have been shown in studies to benefit from light exercises. Outdoors and in nature is the best, else head to the club house if in a large residential complex. Some have up to 20 sporting facilities in them apart from jogging and cycling trails, and are set within a private urban park.

The 20’s and 30’s are a time for intense cardio – at least 30-40 minutes, 4-5 times a week, combined with weight bearing exercises. This will ensure that the metabolic rates are kept active and high, while strengthening and toning bone mass and muscle. So jog, hit the gym or just dance like nobody’s watching. Women post childbirth are advised to get back to fitness routines as soon as possible, not just to get back in shape, but increase brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, often called happy hormones, which not help decrease stress, but also increase energy levels.  In the 40’s – 50’s, cut back on cardio a bit and focus more on strengthening  using resistance training or light weights, core works-outs such as Pilates  or yoga and stretches to keep nimble and help with better posture. Lower back, knee and shoulders are often problem areas for women in this age group that require extra focus. Regular walks and yoga can be practiced well into the 80’s. Paradoxically, exercise actually increases energy levels, while keeping you fit and healthy. And if you are fit, active and healthy, the body takes care of the ‘fat’ issues by itself.

One way to make fitness part of your routine and lifestyle is to think of exercise as fun, and doing a lot more than keeping you fit and healthy.  Here are 5 extra reasons that will get women of all ages up and going. Exercise:

  • Improves skin – All that sweating opens up the pores and lets out toxins, giving skin a  natural glow
  • Boosts self-confidence – You look fitter and toned, you stand taller with better posture; all that happy hormones will give you a mental high
  • Increases productivity – You are more energetic and less fatigued by the end of the day, allowing you to pack in a lot more into the day
  • Delays aging – Magic words for any woman
  • More brain power – Give the men a run for their money; nothing can stop you now.

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