Is Walking Enough Fitness for Women?
By Western Berks on February 9th, 2016
Walking is good exercise. It is inexpensive, requires only a good pair of athletic shoes and can be done almost anywhere. No one will argue about that. But even a brisk daily walk does not meet the goal of total fitness for women. A comprehensive woman’s fitness program should include moderate to vigorous aerobic exercises, strength training and stretching exercises.
Aerobic exercises are activities that strengthen the cardiovascular system and get the heart beating fast. Walking usually is not vigorous enough to do this, but power walking or walking uphill make good aerobic workouts. Other aerobic activities include jogging, jumping rope, stair climbing, dancing, swimming or playing tennis. Most health clubs have aerobic exercise classes that combine elements of dance and calisthenics for those who do not enjoy exercising alone.
Strength training, also called resistance training, increases muscle strength and builds and maintains bone mineral density of the hip and spine. This is of particular concern to women after menopause when the body does not produce enough hormones to maintain bone density. Resistance training can address this condition. Using tension, these exercises also strengthen the muscles of the arms, legs, chest, abdomen and back. Some classes, such as Pilates, incorporate strength training because they work the stomach and back muscles. Strength training can be done using free weights, weight machines or elastic bands.
Stretching exercises keep muscles limber and improve agility. Stretching
is an important part of warm-up and cool-down after aerobic exercise. The combination of stretching exercises and strength training particularly benefits older women because it helps improve balance and reduces the likelihood of falls.
Every woman—old or young, pregnant, disabled or with a chronic health problem—can benefit from a well-rounded exercise program. If you have a condition you think may be aggravated by exercise, talk with us at Western Berks Physical Therapy. As a leading provider of Physical Therapy in Reading PA and the surrounding areas, we can design a total fitness program that will take into consideration your special needs. Not only will your total fitness program provide more health benefits than a daily walk but its variety will help stave off boredom.