Hitting the gym isn't just for the guys. Being fit has numerous benefits for you as a woman, reports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health. Maintaining a good level of fitness lifts your mood, helps you enjoy life with a lower risk of injuries, and protects you from various diseases and problems. If you're looking to get fit and fab go over a quick checklist to ensure you're off to a good start.
Talk to Your Doctor First
Before changing your diet or starting a new exercise program, always talk to a physician first to make sure your new program is safe for you and your current lifestyle. This is especially important if you live an almost completely inactive life right now, or have existing medical problems.
Hit Up the Mall
Buying the right clothes for your next workout is essential to keep you comfortable and also safe while you work out. Find a loose-fitting bottom and top that's made of any type of breathable, synthetic fabric, that helps to wick sweat away from your skin to keep you cool and dry when you're working out. If you're planning to exercise outside in the cold, look for clothing that's easily layered so you can dress up or dress down as needed.
Choose an Exercise Program
Try to fit in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio per week. Don't forget to also do a couple days of weight-bearing strength training, which helps with preventing health problems like osteoporosis. You have countless workout options, ranging from machines in a gym to group workout classes to simply following a DVD in the privacy of your own home. The most important thing is experimenting with different exercise programs and choosing one that you find fun and enjoyable. When you enjoy your exercise, you are more likely to stick with your new fitness schedule.
No matter how much you workout, you can't out-exercise a poor diet. So clean up your kitchen cupboards to help clean up your body! Several dietary basics can help anyone improve her fitness. When choosing foods, try to stay away from empty carbohydrates like sugar and white flour. Instead, opt for fiber-rich, nutrient-rich carbohydrates, such as whole grains. Additionally, limit unhealthy fat like trans fats and instead get your fat from healthy sources like fish, olive oil and nuts. Finally, add color to your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, which are high in antioxidants.
Drink More Water
Water is the basic element of a healthy, fit life. It keeps you hydrated so you can perform better when exercising, and also helps flush toxins from your body. Unfortunately, two-thirds of Americans don't drink enough water, reports Boston College. Women need approximately nine cups of water per day. If you don't like plain water, try a no- or low-calorie alternative, such as herbal teas or water with a squeeze of lemon.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health: Fitness
- Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Exercise for Preventing and Treating Osteporosis
- Vanderbilt University: 12 Week Do-it-Yourself Fitness Program
- University of Portland: Choosing the Right Workout Clothes
- Wexner Medical Center: Exercising in Hot or Cold Weather
- Mayo Clinic: Fitness Programs
- University of Illinois: Choosing Exercise That You Enjoy
- Harvard School of Public Health: What Should I Eat?
- Boston College: Two-Thirds of Americans Don't Drink Enough
Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.