Women’s Health & Fitness
Physical activity is important for women. Women who are not physically active are missing out on some great health benefits. Women can build up bone mass up to the age of 30 years. It is important to build bones early in life to minimize the chance of Osteoperosis later. Osteoporosis in much more common in men than women, so women have to take extra precautions when it comes to their bone mass. Weight bearing exercises, which are activities in which your body works against gravity or resistance, such as jogging, walking, dancing, or playing soccer and a healthy diet that includes calcium rich food sources are particularly important for bone health.
Every individual has the right to experience life to the fullest. Being physically active and participating in sports is not just a pastime, it is a stepping stone for building character, confidence and courage in all aspects of life. Women have long been hindered from enjoying athletics, but now women have equal opportunities to participate in physical activities and athletic programs. Leagues that used to be dominated by male players are now becoming co-ed and there are many different women leagues also. Check in at your local YMCA or YWCA to join a women’s basketball, volleyball, or hockey team.
Physical activity is important for everybody, including all teenagers, but especially for girls who are generally less active than boys of the same age. The teen years can be busy – socially, at home, and at school, and they can be fun, but they are also demanding and sometimes demoralizing. There are issues such as body image and general feelings of insecurity about the changing body in these years. For girls it is really important to balance the demands made on them and to look after themselves physically and emotionally. This includes participating in physical activity.
Why physical activity is so important for teenage girls:
Health Girls can build up or ‘bank’ bone mass up to the age of 30 years. It is important to build bones early in life to minimize the chance of osteoporosis later. Weight bearing exercises (activities in which your body works against gravity or resistance, such as jogging, walking, dancing, or playing soccer) and a healthy diet (e.g., calcium rich food sources) are particularly important for bone health. With the trend towards children and youth becoming less active and eating “junk food” there has been an increase in the incidence of diabetes in younger people, in Canada as well as elsewhere. Body image Girls are very aware of changes to their bodies during the teenage years. If they are comfortable with their physical skills and abilities they will have a better self image and better morale. Social Exercise can be another way of meeting people and making friends. Many girls make friends playing tennis, at the swimming pool, playing volleyball at the beach.
Pregnancy & Exercise
Daily physical activity is always important, even during pregnancy. Research has shown that pregnant women without complications can and should do aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises. Physically active pregnant women do not increase risks for their babies. Nor does moderate physical activity when you’re breast feeding affect the quantity or quality of breast milk or affect your baby’s growth. Just be sure to ask your doctor to help you determine your readiness for physical activity.
Regular physical activity during pregnancy can:
- Strengthen the muscles you need for labour and delivery.
- Control mood swings.
- Improve circulation and posture.
- Reduce some of the discomforts of pregnancy (swelling, leg cramps, shortness of breath, backache, varicose veins and constipation).
- Help you feel less fatigued.
- Promote healthy weight gain .
- Decrease your risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy.
Suggested Types of Activity:
Continuing activities you have been doing is usually OK, but you should consult with your physician to be sure. If you want to start being physically active while pregnant, try these activities:
- Stationary cycling.
- Swimming and water aerobics.
- Low-impact aerobics.
- Pre-natal exercise classes.
Contact sports are not recommended for pregnant women. It’s important to avoid activities that could cause you to lose your balance or fall. Other activities to avoid during pregnancy include activities that:
- Involve bouncing/balancing/single-leg standing.
- May result in a loss of balance or falling.
- Involve excessive bouncing or jarring movement.
- Cause your body temperature to rise dramatically.
- Inline skating and water skiing.
Check out the programs or classes at local fitness and recreation centres. Being active with others can be more fun and motivate you to continue your routine even after your baby is born.