What is the basic standard for women’s fitness? Which is considered healthier, being fat or being thin? Neither being fat nor being thin can be the standard for good health. Being fat doesn’t give you the assurance of good health and fitness; often they are more at risks at different disease such as heart failure, diabetes and others. Being thin is also the same, such they are more prone to osteoporosis, depression and others.
So how does it take you to be fit? The body mass index (BMI) determines the optimum normal weight of the body in relation to their height. It can be calculated as your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters. Women are considered fit and healthy if their BMI falls on the range of 18.5-24.9. Typical woman which are considered overweight falls on the range of 25.0-29.9. BMI of 30.0 and beyond are considered obese and with BMI 18.4 and below are considered underweight. According to the Center for Disease and Control Prevention, the average acquired BMI of women in US is 28.1 for women 20 years old and above which is considered overweight. There are some consideration specially for those who are very physically active like female elite runners, professional ballerinas, marathoners, competitive body builders, gymnasts, elite cyclist and others who has BMI below the normal range. As such, having BMI within 18-22 is still normal.
After 1980, majority of the US population starts to fall beyond the normal BMI and become overweight. This is according to the result on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. This can be accounted to the ease brought by technological development that reduces physical activities and leads to sedentary lifestyles.
To achieve women’s fitness proper nutrition and exercise should work in balance to sustain the body. We cannot simply generalized fitness for both sexes such that men and women are very different physically, mentally and emotionally such that the approach towards fitness should be different as well.
The basic consideration is the hormones that are activated when they exercise. Men use the abundance of their testosterone to continue their fitness level while women have to work with their estrogen. Muscle building for men is to add muscle and build their bodies while women used these to tone down and shape those muscles, add firmness and get tons of energy in return. Muscle building makes the heart healthier with tougher connective tissues and helps fight against osteoporosis.
Women’s metabolism is slow as compared to men. Men tend to lose weight with just minimum exercise. Women on the other hand are more flexible such that stretching exercises such as yoga and Pilates works well for them. This can be accounted for the fact that women have more body fat that enables them to move with flexibility. Men often work on their upper body while women work on their legs and buttocks that lead to having less muscle mass.
Women’s fitness goes beyond even to pregnant women. Exercise is good as it keeps the mother fit, it brings forth fit and healthy baby. Strong body can lead to easier pregnancy, better recovery and the best of all, a vibrant and healthy baby. Before, women are prevented to do extraneous activity that can complicate their birth giving, but according to recent research, women are created in such a way to be able to adapt to physiological changes while pregnant. Yoga are now promoted as exercise for pregnant women. I used to know an elite runner who is still able to run 21km while having a 5 month old baby in her tummy. As long as you maintain that proper diet and proper hydration, there is nothing bad that exercises can do for you and your baby.
It is not really about losing weight, it is about becoming fit. To achieve women’s fitness is to work on a proper diet with sufficient exercise. Being fit doesn’t really have to be fasting or eating very little. A little revision of your diet will do. Consider some facts about the food you eat. Reduce your sugar or your carbohydrates intake. Keep in mind that pasta, brown rice and whole grain breads are still carbohydrates though they are digested slower, they are still source of carbohydrates. Fruits are still sugars they are rich in fructose which are known as the sweetest sugar. So you can’t totally avoid carbohydrates and sugar. What you can do is to reduce their intake. Reducing 25-30% of that in your diet might do the trick.
If you are really aiming for leaner and well- toned down muscles, what you need is increase protein in your diet and don’t fear fat. Protein maintains lean mass which you already have. Having at least 40% of protein in your diet will provide enough nutrients in toning up muscle tissues.
It may be a bit off the topic but remember it’s always efficient to take a rest. Rest allows restoration of broken muscle tissue and promotes growth. As the saying goes, “All work and no play makes a man a dull boy” but when there is no rest, all your effort will be worthless. Don’t overdo yourself. Allow at least a day off to pamper yourself and keep you going. It will also serve as something to look forward to when you’re about to give up on a workout.
Take full responsibility of what goes in your mouth. To achieve women’s fitness you should have the ability or the discipline to balance what you do and what you eat. If you’re getting tired or would want to stop, focus on your goal: to be fit. Achieve a fit lifestyle. Consider the benefits such as good health, sexier body, and stronger personality. Fitness shows its benefits in long term basis and with it comes good health. It gives us the strength to do what we want and enjoy our life with the desirability in terms of physical, metal as well as emotional in the way that we deserve it.