Forget pumping iron to look like Mr. Universe, or working out to flex macho muscles; most women want to exercise to be healthier, happier and more active in their already busy lives. Many women have personal fitness goals too, such as losing weight, toning up and making sure they are flexible for their everyday activities. Men might want the perfect abs and a solid six-pack, but for women there are many other reasons why fitness is really a feminine issue.
Balancing work, social life and family can be a real juggling act. That’s not to say that men don’t have pressures too, but often women feel pulled in a million directions by social obligations and relationships – perhaps more so than men. What’s really great is that exercise has lots of benefits that appeal to women, making getting in shape something not only to look forward to, but also an activity to really relish too:
Reduced risk of osteoporosis
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the rate of osteoporosis fractures in people over 50 is twice as high in women than men; and of the millions at risk, nearly 70% are women. Exercise really helps slow down the loss of bone density and especially effective are load-bearing exercises which really benefit bone health.
Although the modern man might have a cabinet of moisturizers, lotions and potions, women really do come out on top when it comes to looking after their skin. Let’s face it, wrinkles and fine lines, not to mention dull, sallow skin can really age you. Exercise gives you a post-workout glow, as the bloodflow to your skin is given a boost and bad-skin hormones are reduced. Exercise gets your circulation moving and this has a detoxifying effect on the skin.
Sagging muscles that have lost definition and are losing mass can give women a stringy look that is also aging. Certain types of exercises really target toning the muscles, and resistance and strength training exercises can really help keep some volume without adding any bulk. It’s important for women to realize that there is a lot of guidance on how to tone rather than add muscle mass. Sometimes the idea of looking hefty puts women off certain types of training, which in fact could be really beneficial for them.
During your menstrual cycle, ovulation, pregnancy and post-pregnancy, as well as during the perimenopause and menopause, your hormones might seem to rule. You might feel them in the background or they could be really raging and wreaking havoc on your life. Exercise can balance out hormones – which can be life-changing to some and life-enhancing to others. From sleep, relaxation, mood swings and fertility, as well as weight, hormones have a huge impact on a woman’s daily life.
Reducing cancer risk
Research over the years suggests that women who are overweight and don’t exercise have an increased risk of bowel cancer, which can be twice as much as fitter, leaner women. The link between certain cancers and fitness is evidenced in a multitude of studies and research. For example, there is strong evidence that the stress hormone cortisol can have a negative impact on breast cancer risk, too.
Working out is not just about looking good, but feeling good both in your body and your mind. A fitness regimen is not just a way for women to look younger and keep excess baggage at bay; it’s also a way to really absorb and make exercise a part of every aspect of life for better overall health.