In her three decades of working with women, Marla Ahlgrimm, founder of Women’s Health America, has found that exercise makes a big difference in a woman’s health. But for many women, “exercise” is a bad word. How can women find an exercise program that they’ll want to stick with for life?
To begin, Marla Ahlgrimm, R.Ph. stresses the importance of asking oneself why you are interested in beginning a new exercise program. If you are hoping to stay healthy, you will likely have more success than if your only goal is to lose weight. Likewise, if your goal is to do something you enjoy doing, and exercise is one of those things, you’re more likely to stick with it for many years, Marla Ahlgrimm says.
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, co-founder of Madison Pharmacy Associates, the key is to focus on physical activities you enjoy doing. Many women give up when an exercise program doesn’t yield results immediately, Marla Ahlgrimm, R.Ph. points out. By choosing physical activities you enjoy doing, you’ll stick with it long enough to begin seeing and feeling overall improvements.
Marla Ahlgrimm advises several small changes you can make that will improve your overall health. For good health, Marla Ahlgrimm, co-founder of Madison Pharmacy Associates, states that you should incorporate 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity at your target heart rate at least three days a week. By spreading these activities over the day, Marla Ahlgrimm suggests, you can work in thirty minutes of moderate exercise without having to set thirty minutes aside to do a formal workout. This can be done by using stairs instead of elevators, as well as parking far away and walking to your destination at a brisk pace. You can also spread your thirty minutes out throughout the day by dancing, riding an exercise bike, or playing actively with your children for a few minutes throughout the day.
To be most effective, your exercise routine should utilize the large muscles of your lower body, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, founder of Women’s Health America. Activities that fit in that category include walking, jogging, cycling, cross-country skiing, stationary cycling, and aerobic dance classes, Marla Ahlgrimm states.
Additionally, Marla Ahlgrimm recommends weight-bearing exercises. This includes jogging and dancing, Marla Ahlgrimm points out, but not swimming. And pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm advises against working one part of the body in the hopes of losing inches there. Marla Ahlgrimm points out that by focusing on making all of your body’s muscles stronger, you’ll slightly increase your metabolism to maintain weight, decrease fluid retention and improve your lean muscle mass. Your body will become more efficient, Marla Ahlgrimm, R.Ph. says, and you’ll increase the strength of your body’s joints and bones and improve balance which is much more important as you get older.
You should begin any exercise program gradually, Marla Ahlgrimm advises, to avoid injury. While your cardiovascular system may be able to adapt, your body’s musculoskeletal systems may break down if pushed too hard, Marla Ahlgrimm, pharmacist, warns.
The benefits of an exercise program go well beyond stronger muscles and joints, Marla Ahlgrimm states. Both women and men report regular exercise helps them sleep better at night and gives them a greater feeling of energy throughout the day. Exercise also helps them better cope with stress, Marla Ahlgrimm adds, providing an outlet for that ‘fight or flight’ physical response brought on by stress.
Lastly, if your exercise program makes you feel overly tired, Marla Ahlgrimm suggests pulling back a little. Decrease the intensity or choose different exercises until your body adjusts.
For more information, visit Marla Ahlgrimm online at http://www.marlaahlgrimm.com