Sports and Fitness: A Guide to Staying in Shape

Staying in Shape

As a woman, keeping your body healthy and in shape is something you need to pay attention to, not only so you look good, but so you feel good too. Your metabolism changes as you get older, and you may find that staying in shape requires more effort this year than it did the year before. There are plenty of sports and fitness activities you can participate in to stay in shape, and perhaps the most important thing to do is to find one or more activities you enjoy. Doing enjoyable activities is great motivation to exercise on a regular basis, so build some of the activities that appeal to you into your schedule.

How much exercise should you get?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that women get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise should be done in increments of at least 10 minutes to get the health benefits. In addition, the CDC recommends that women participate in strength activities at least twice per week. Exercising more than these guidelines will lead to even more health benefits, and especially if you’re looking to lose weight, you should do twice as much aerobic exercise as the baseline recommendations.

What types of sports and fitness activities should you consider?

Women enjoy a wide range of activities, and for many women, exercising is just as much about the social aspect as it is about the physical side. If you can’t find the motivation to exercise on your own, choose an activity that you can do with other women, which not only provides accountability, but also gives you someone to chat with as you exercise. Don’t be afraid to try a wide range of activities to find the ones that you really enjoy. Joining a gym can be a great way to have access to the equipment and instruction you need for some of these activities.

  • Yoga is a very popular fitness activity for women, who especially enjoy that it engages their minds and promotes relaxation. Because yoga mostly involves holding specific poses, it actually falls more into the strength category than the aerobic category.
  • Swimming is an aerobic exercise that many women enjoy if they have access to a pool or lake during moderate seasons. Lap swimming works out the whole body, toning the arms and the core, and providing aerobic exercise. Other water activities, like aqua jogging and water aerobics, are easier to do in social settings, which appeals to many women.
  • At-home workouts that use free weights, resistance bands, balance balls, and similar equipment appeal to women who want to fit workouts into free moments during the day.
  • Walking, jogging, and running are perfect for women who don’t want a gym membership and would prefer to exercise in the neighborhood. It’s easy to head out at any time of day for a brisk walk or a short run. One of the best ways to find motivation is to sign up for a race, like a 5K.
  • Gardening can provide strength training, especially if you’re carrying heavy items around or squatting with good form to pull weeds. Digging, shoveling, and raking also provide a great workout.
  • Cycling, either on the roads or on a stationary bike, is an easy way to get a quick cardio workout. Riding with a group can provide a nice getaway through scenic areas of your city.

Your major workouts may only happen every other day, but you should make an effort to be active in some form every day. Getting at least some physical activity each day improves your mood and energy level because exercise releases endorphins. You’ll probably find that although you may have some muscle aches, you’ll also feel more clearheaded and ready to tackle other projects after you exercise.

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