by Julie Morris Although physical fitness improves general well-being, historically, women exercise less than men. This may be due to increased schedule demands on women, with women still providing primary childcare. Or it may have to do with income inequality, which can effectively make gym memberships and equipment more expensive for women. Whatever the hurdle, Women Who Thrive believes it’s important for women to persevere and take steps to prioritize their health.
Although physical fitness improves general well-being, historically, women exercise less than men. This may be due to increased schedule demands on women, with women still providing primary childcare. Or it may have to do with income inequality, which can effectively make gym memberships and equipment more expensive for women. Whatever the hurdle, Women Who Thrive believes it’s important for women to persevere and take steps to prioritize their health.
Physical fitness for health, not just appearances In our appearance-obsessed society, women may feel pressure to lose weight not for health, but so they conform to a beauty ideal. While body positivity is important for emotional well-being, and reaching fitness goals can result in self-confidence, women can best empower themselves by putting their health first. Exercise, healthy diets, and overall well-being results in increased longevity and lowers the risk of disease. This improved overall wellness is the prize that all women should be aiming for.
Add scheduling to your life An organized life helps you overcome your daily grind. There are 24 hours in each day, which is plenty of time to accomplish everything you need to in life and have time to spare for taking care of your health. All of us lose time to idle moments, minutes wasted on social media, meaningless arguments, and inefficiencies caused by being unprepared. Beat this through daily planning. Map out your day and set aside time for exercise and self-care, and you will be taking a huge step toward being healthy. The key is to not use scheduling as a method to directly improve your work life, although you may well experience increased efficiencies across all aspects of your life. Resist turning your organizational skills into an excuse for adding more to your plate—unless it is more exercise.
Make sustainable activity a part of your daily routine It’s easy to exercise for a short time period. While hitting the gym for a month may rid you of those five pounds you want to shed before vacation, you’ll probably just gain it back because that weight loss wasn't part of a sustained plan. Imagine if the goal was longevity, and all you had to do was 2 ½ hours a week of moderate exercise, like fast walking or a light workout with a kettlebell. That’s less than 22 minutes a day doing activities that do not require expensive gym memberships. Becoming comfortable with these sorts of exercise and weight-loss plans is what sustainable life change is all about. Other ways to make exercise plans stick is to find enjoyable regimens. If you don’t like running long distances, maybe you prefer cycling or swimming. Experiment with different sports, activities, and classes until you find an exercise you love, and then make it a part of your life. You may enjoy working out at home, especially if you have a busy daily schedule. A good home gym can be had with just a few pieces of inexpensive equipment, such as some dumbbells, kettlebells, and a Bosu balance trainer.
Eat for life as well The same rules of sustainability apply to diets. Women often follow the latest fad diet with unreasonable short-term goals. Try finding healthy foods you enjoy and eating more of them. Teachers, for example, are often considered the healthiest workers in the nation because they have access to nutritious school lunches during the day. Focus on vegetables and protein over carbs. Embrace healthy fats, such as avocados and olive oil, and eat pleasurable things now and then, just in moderation. When your diet goal is to work toward a healthy weight for the rest of your life, you have to envision a way of eating that works for the long term.
Through organization and a positive, sustainable approach toward attaining a healthy weight, balanced lives are possible for even the busiest women.
For more great ideas on practicing self-care with a purpose, visit Women Who Thrive online.