Women are remarkable
Understanding and embracing the challenges and opportunities inherent in our unique biology ensures we develop healthier, more positive relationships with our bodies and build stronger, healthier, vital physical selves and minds as a consequence.
In May 2021 we celebrated women’s bodies to mark National Women’s Health Month. We explored women’s specific challenges with knee valgus, arthritis, bone density, and maintenance of lean tissue. Click here to read last year's article. Today, we wanted to bring a few extra thoughts to the table:
Exercise for your brain. Exercise improves memory and cognition. Exercise stimulates creativity and problem solving. Exercise improves balance and coordination. Exercise reduces anxiety, stress, and depression over the short AND long term. There is so much evidence now on how exercise changes the human brain on a neurophysiological level such that we are less susceptible to stress and depression and are better able to effectively cope when life throws us a curve ball or 10. Regular exercise reduces the risk and severity of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Finally, women who exercise for mental and emotional benefits are significantly more likely to remain fully committed to physical activity. We exercise more often, are more likely to enjoy our workouts, and be a satisfied with our bodies.
Exercise increases Human Growth Hormone (HGH). For women specifically, we see a decrease in natural levels of HGH around middle-age. The decline is typically accompanied by loss of lean tissue, increased adiposity especially through the midsection, trouble sleeping, low energy, and decreased sex drive. Exercise can effectively slow or even reverse these natural changes. My favourite benefit of increasing HGH? It improves memory and cognitive function – independent of improving sleep. You grow new brain cells. You build stronger, relevant synaptic connections. Your brain – and your body – become and feel more vital.
Be your best mentor. Can you remember a time when you had a wonderful mentor in your life? Someone who shone a light into corners of you to help you understand what you were capable of? And then pushed and inspired you to stretch out of your comfort zone and become a stronger, more fulfilled, more influential self? I bet their words were firm, positive, and supportive. I bet when you faltered – as we must – they picked you back up and helped you get back on track. As you seek to create positive change in your life and yourself, remember that change is tough. That it takes time. And become your own mentor. Self-defeating, berating talk inside your head will not facilitate positive outcomes. Be firm AND kind, compassionate and curious. Push, try, take some risks. Be ready to pivot and try try again. An internal cheering section ultimately drives great results. It makes the process more rewarding and fun as well.
Hire a Great Coach. On a very related note – did you know our trainers are exceptional teachers and mentors? You don’t need to hire an expert 3 times a week for a year to benefit from our transformative advice and support. We can work with you in small blocks to give you specific knowledge, coaching, and help you build the confidence you need to bring 100% to and get 100% out of your workouts. We put you on the right path for success and results. And then send you on your way. Please reach out to me to better understand how this customized support will work for you!
Strength Train. Women naturally, beautifully carry less muscle on our frames compared to men. Consequently, it can be tougher for us to build and maintain this vital lean tissue that keep us strong, lessens risk of falling and joint injury, improves posture, and keeps energy and metabolism high. So, strength train. Use enough resistance to challenge yourself without losing good form in the 6-12 rep range. Train at least twice a week if possible. Incorporate a mix of upper, lower, and full body exercises. The VERY best thing about strength training? It boosts physical self-esteem and confidence. Irrespective of whether it produces any noticeable change, it makes you feel better in your own skin.