making exercise a top priority. Women commonly forfeit budgeting
in time for regular exercise and/or they do not exercise enough.
Adult females should do a minimum of two days of full body
weight training per week as well as incorporating three 20-minute
aerobic workouts every week.
2. Doing excessive aerobic exercise. Too much aerobic exercise
releases the fat producing hormone cortisol that actually
increases body fat and reduces lean mass. Extreme aerobics
also limits the release of growth hormone so necessary in
preventing bone loss and for protecting muscle.
3. Neglect to include weight lifting as a key part of overall
training. Lean mass (muscle, ligaments, tendons, and bone)
begins to wane in women over 35 and affects a person's metabolic
rate. Weight training is essential to maintain and build lean
mass. A woman who has more lean mass burns more calories.
4. For women who do include weight lifting, the intensity
is often too low. For fear of getting too "bulky"
or masculine in appearance, women do not lift at the level
of intensity that will provide optimal results: a well-defined
lean muscular body, covered with a thin layer of body fat.
5. Disregarding the need for a full body assessment prior
to beginning a workout program. Each individual has specific
and unique abilities and limitations that must be factored
in to design the ideal and most effective workout plan.
6. Workouts limited to machines alone. Since the brain does
not work in terms of isolating muscles for movement, machines
alone cannot achieve maximum health benefits. The body does
better with free weights, stability balls, medicine balls
and cables since these allow the joints to move more naturally
and do not put undo arthritic stress that long-term machine
use can sometimes precipitate.
7. Does not factor in the importance of eating properly before/after
training. To achieve the fullest and most positive results
from a workout, women should consume 16 ounces of water and
a small portion of protein one hour prior to working out.
After, women should then eat a piece of fruit within one half
hour of working out and another portion of protein within
one hour post-exercising.
8. Forgetting to stretch. Regular stretching restores flexibility
and makes a woman less prone to injury. Stretching also promotes
increased circulation to legs, arms, hips and back.
9. Exercising to spot reduce. There is no such animal as "spot
reducing" no matter what the magazines say.
10. Doing crunches on the floor. To exercise the abdominal
muscles to their fullest (and for greatest results), fewer
repetitions with greater resistance (higher intensity) are
key. Floor crunches put undo stress on the spinal cord and
only trains the upper abdominal muscles. This group of muscles
requires a number of exercises to improve both function and
Howe is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly, FaithfulReader.com,
Aspiring Retail and has published over 900 articles/reviews.
She works as a manuscript critique editor for the Christian
Communicator and writes on women's health issues for the Toledo
Free Press, Monroe Journal, CBN.com, SingleMom.com, ParentSuperSite.com,
CatholicMom.com, and Radiant among other publications. Howe
has also published eight books for women including: Going
It Alone: Meeting the Challenges of Being a Single Mom,
for Homeschool Moms,
for New and Expecting Moms,
of Comfort and Strength,
to Nourish a Woman's Heart,
Prayers for Single Mothers.