The best type of exercise for anyone is one that you enjoy and will continue to do. That’s because exercise not only provides innumerable benefits to our physical health, but can also help with our mental health.
While both men and women can reap these benefits, there are some types of exercise that women may benefit most from. If you’re looking to get more active or try something new, this type of information can help you decide among all the different ways out there to get fit.
Certain exercises and exercises can also help with pregnancy and childbirth, as well as make life a little easier after the baby is born. In addition, certain types of exercise can be better suited to different phases of the menstrual cycle.
We spoke to experts with experience in women’s training to find out the best exercises for women and the best time to do them.
This is the big thing for women. Incorporating weights into your workout is important for a number of reasons. According to Sarah Lindsey (Opens in a new tab)Increasing metabolism, improving posture, increasing muscle, and boosting physical confidence are just a few of the benefits of weight training.
“But for me, being strong and physically able beats them all,” says Lindsey. “Gradually overloading the muscles is the only way to keep getting stronger and this is done by increasing the weight, the time the muscles are under tension, the repetitions, the sets, or the total volume of the exercise.
“Be sure to increase the number of reps at the current weight you are lifting, with the long-term goal of achieving the same number of repetitions with a heavier weight. The stronger you are, the easier every physical demand in life will be. Being physically strong and capable gives you confidence in other areas of life.”
Women may also like to train a little differently than men, too. Jess Rossart, gym director at WIT Fitness, explains that women have more slow-twitch muscle fibers than men. “We have to train these types of muscle fibers even more to reach our full potential,” Rossart says.
Slow-twitch muscle fibers can withstand their use much longer than fast-twitch muscle fibers, which tire more quickly. According to Rosart, since women have more slow-twitch muscle fibers, more repetitions per set can be beneficial for women. Plus, she says, “women tend to take less rest between sets but don’t need more rest days than men.”
Another great benefit of strength training for women is that it helps increase bone density. During and after menopause, hormonal changes can cause women’s bones to weaken, putting them at risk of developing osteoporosis. However, resistance exercises can help negate this.
So how often should a woman strength train? As with most things, the amount will vary from person to person. “Weight training three to four times a week is generally optimal, but some people need more recovery,” says Lindsey. “If you are struggling to recover from training, you need more rest, food and sleep.”
“Although exercise is key, rest is just as important,” Rossart says. “Rest days allow your muscles to recover and rebuild, plus they help you avoid mental fatigue and reduce the risk of injury. If you want to see results from your training, rest days are essential.”
heart (in time)
Running, cycling, swimming, and rowing are some of the most popular cardio exercises. Although there is no cardio exercise more suitable for women, choosing to do cardio or endurance-based exercises at certain times of your cycle can be beneficial.
For women, cardio is best suited for the week following the cycle as well as around ovulation (mid-cycle), when energy levels are highest.
In the week leading up to your period and during the cycle itself, hormonal fluctuations can lead to fatigue, making cardio and endurance workouts more difficult.
Personal Trainer Amy Victoria Long (Opens in a new tab) The big advantage of the heart, he adds, is that it makes your heart and lungs work harder, which helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Cardio exercises help increase calorie burn.
“If you’re looking to lose weight, the more calories you burn the better,” Long says. “If you’re aiming to be in a calorie deficit, performing cardio allows you to create a larger deficit as long as you don’t eat in more calories than you burn.”
She adds that HIIT training can be a great way to get a good workout when time is against you. Intermittent training involves working at a higher intensity for short periods.
Yoga instructor Molly Robinson says yoga is an ideal activity to do during your period and the week leading up to it, when energy levels are low and a calmer exercise may be welcome.
“Yoga connects the mind and body, helps us focus on our breathing, to reduce stress and encourage relaxation,” Robinson explains, adding that flexibility is also improved through regular yoga practice.
Flexibility is essential to reduce the possibility of injuries as well as to help us with everyday tasks.
Yoga during pregnancy can be beneficial because it can help reduce lower back pain – a common problem for pregnant women – while also increasing strength. Additionally, because it is soothing and allows the body to relax, it can also help relieve headaches and nausea.