Health goes way beyond the proverbial weight loss for women. Here is what you can do…
A common misconception about fitness among women is weight loss. Talk to any lady hitting a gym or yoga class or taking a swim, you will invariably find that she is trying to reduce weight or at least is worried about putting on more weight. The result is women are stuck to the routine they choose without taking any real pleasure in it.
Weight loss is not as weighty an issue as we assume it to be. Yes, it is indeed a necessity to maintain weight for general health but it is no more important than health and thereby mental peace itself. Let us look at various dimensions and options of fitness for women.
Physiology of women
Let us get to the root of the issue. We all know the story of human evolution. We also know that while men provided for and protected the tribe, women have forever been the sole owners of reproducing and taking the species ahead. Today, women have both career and families, creating a greater probability of health risks for them. In order to keep the woman healthy and strong through her reproductive phase, nature provided for extra storage of energy or fat, as we call it. No wonder, women have more fat than men in spite of being smaller than them! Unless we somehow shift our reproductive capability, we will be plump!
No two women can be alike. Our ethnicity, geography and race run way too deep to turn it around. Hence, the health requirements of two women can not also be the same. Also, the fertile period and fertility of women itself differs depending on a number of factors such as age, climate, heredity and physiology. It is a fact of nautre that cannot be changed.
A lot of things around reproduction mark our physiology. From getting ready for the process from a young age, through periodic cycles and hormonal roller coasters, to pre and post stages of child-birth and the termination in the form of menopause, and all the problems related to each phase; we swim through each stage not looking or feeling alike.
As ironic as it may seem, psychology and emotions play a major role. Women are more sensitive and emotional; hence our bodies get attuned to the way we think. Ever noticed how things get done when at peace with yourself? And how you actually put on weight, the more you think of losing it? Also, our bodies react to the external influences like stress, lifestyle and habits.
The key is to accept and address all the factors to remain healthy and happy.
Fitness- a process
Before starting on any fitness routine, it is important to note that you cannot get results overnight. First of all, be clear about the purpose – whether as a remedy for a health problem or as a means to shed weight or to generally feel healthy and good. Next is motivation. The first step is often the most difficult and yet when you take that step, rest falls into place. Internal motivation is of prime importance but being motivated externally can keep you going forever and women need it the most. Find a good place where you can work out with like -minded people. Make it a habit, and you will be surprised how it changes you and your outlook towards life. Be reasonable and considerate with your expectations. Set a goal slightly higher than you can achieve. The more you expect unreasonably, the more you tend to get disappointed. Know yourself well enough so that you do not go to the extremes and hurt yourself irreparably. Have patience to actually see the results, be consistent and tolerant with yourself. All of this takes time, so give yourself some time.
There are many options for fitness today. They are tailored to different kinds of people. Special programmes are particularly offered for women. Choose the one which fits you and your preferences.
Yoga needs no introduction. Apart from the physical benefits it offers, it is an ideal way to work through mental aspects too. It is proven to reduce stress and increase calmness among people. It can be therapeutic for many physical and mental health related issues and works its way inside out. Though a slow and static form of fitness originally, dynamic yoga practice is catching up with the urbane.
Takeaway tip- Surya Namaskar ticks all the boxes of cardio, strength and flexibility. At least 20 reps daily can keep you glowing with health.
Group classes are often dominated by women. They work on the collective motivation and energy of working out in groups. Aerobics, swimming, spinning, sports and every form of fitness there is, are all popular among women. It encourages reaching a goal as a collective effort over the stress of getting results all alone. It promotes team spirit and friendship.
Takeaway tip – Try football. The beautiful game of football is favoured by the beautiful souls. You can see young women in small teams kicking the ball through the night at football clubs.
Dance based fitness has the highest takers among women. Zumba, Salsa, Belly dance, Bollywood, Contemporary dance and many more options are available if you enjoy dancing. The best part of it is, it doesn’t feel like you are working out but you would rather enjoy the routine of matching steps with the music. An added benefit would be rise in your creativity and happiness.
Takeaway tip – Some dance routines include movements from the traditional dance forms of ballet, bharatanatyam and kalaripayattu. Worth giving a try
Power workouts are fit for all the Sakshi Maliks, Mary Koms, Geeta Phogats and the tomboy tribes. Too bored with conventional workouts, they like pumping iron and lifting weights. Combat routines and martial arts classes are specially designed for these ladies. Kickboxing is a huge draw among women now.
Takeaway tip – Body Combat by Les Mills lets you punch and kick your way to fitness. Find a class and enroll by all means.
Offbeat workouts are gaining a steady and ever growing fanfare.
For every major fitness option available, there’s an equally interesting, effective, modern, offbeat workout emerging out of it. From rope yoga to suspension workouts, aqua aerobics to wall climbing, boot camps to capoeira, fitness has it all! Crowded outdoor events like marathons, trekking, rappelling etc, prove their popularity.
Takeaway tip – TRX workout is offered at almost all the gyms. It feels effortless as you would only be working with your body weight and mostly suspending the body with the use of TRX ropes.
With these many options available, fitness becomes a fun and learning experience. Choose the right one and enjoy the journey. Do not punish yourself and make it counterproductive. Celebrate the spirit of womanhood.