It seems that the battle of the bulge isn’t biased to just one gender. According to the Weight-Control Information Network, 64.1 percent of women are obese or overweight. Although more than half of the women in America carry excess body fat, the weight-loss industry is among the most profitable. While there is a new gimmick for weight loss introduced on a regular basis, nothing is as effective as a solid exercise routine for shedding body fat.
An effective exercise regimen must be one you can actually stick with. You could have a great plan, but if you cannot stay within its daily workout guidelines the planning will be in vain. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, women should perform cardiovascular exercise three to five days a week. The CDC suggests completing 300 minutes of moderately intense cardiovascular activity per week, or 150 minutes of vigorously intense exercise per week. Strength training should be performed two to three days per week. The following is an ideal weekly workout schedule: cardiovascular exercise on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with strength training exercise on Tuesday and Thursday.
An effective form of cardiovascular exercise is high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. According to the American Council on Exercise, HIIT significantly increases cardiovascular fitness while simultaneously eliminating fatty tissue within the abdominal region. HIIT routines are shorter than standard cardio sessions. The average HIIT session runs 22 minutes. The goal is to cycle between intense bursts of energy followed by less intense recovery periods. HIIT may be performed with a variety of cardiovascular exercises such as bicycling, jogging or on an elliptical machine. Intensity levels are rated from one, the lowest exertion level, to 10, the highest exertion level. After a five-minute warm-up period, cycle between 60-second bursts of energy followed by 120-second recovery periods. Each intense burst must rate between seven and nine out of 10, while each recovery period must have an intensity rating between five and six out of 10. After the initial warm-up period, cycle between seven 60-second energy bursts and 120-second recovery periods. After the seventh burst, cool down the body with a five-minute recovery period with an intensity rating of three to four out of 10.
Effective strength training routines are those that fatigue all of the major muscle groups, which include upper body, torso and legs. A common misconception among women is the fear of becoming “bulky” from strength training. Women are genetically predisposed to the amount of muscle they may naturally gain. The majority of women do not produce the necessary hormones, such as testosterone, to cultivate large muscles, according to Jessica Matthews, MS, E-RYT. Women should select a weight that fatigues each muscle group within 90 seconds of starting.
During cardiovascular workout days, incorporating core exercises can protect your back from injury as well as firm the abdominal region. According to MayoClinic.com, core exercises must be incorporated into any workout routine. Effective core exercises are those that isolate the entire abdominal region while simultaneously calling upon back muscles for stabilization. Examples of such exercises include the plank, the jack-knife situp and the stability ball crunch.
- Weight Control Information Network: Overweight and Obesity Statistics
- American College of Sports Medicine: Selecting and Effectively Using Free Weights
- ACE Fitness: High-Intensity Interval Training
- ACE Fitness: High Reps and Light Weights vs. Low Reps and Heavy Weight
- MayoClinic.com: Fitness Training: Elements of a Well-Rounded Routine
- Centers for Disease Control: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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