Having been a Biomechanist, Exercise Analyst and Nutritional Consultant involved in one to one Exercise, Injury and Nutrition for 47 years now, I’ve seen first hand over and over again, just how much benefit women can derive from a regular exercise lifestyle, most especially older ladies.
Exercising from an early age is the obvious ideal, but even taken up in much later years, numerous health benefits are still significantly achieved and will undoubtedly improve female quality of life. I have three clients in their eighties who are simple walking proof of this, and didn’t exercise at all to any significant degree until their late 60s!
Moderate to reasonably vigorous exercise, definitely helps in preventing the onset of hypertension, obesity, heart disease, and osteoporosis and in older women in particular, the falls that lead to hip fractures. In fact, older women, who spend less than 4 hours a day on their feet, have almost double the risk of hip fractures than those who lead ‘constructively’ active lives.
Take your lung power for example. In the USA in 2011, ladies even in their 70s who began exercising regularly, regained on average, 23% of their lost lung capacity, which is lung function level they had in their 50s! That’s very impressive proof.
Another example was in Sweden where 75 year old women followed a basic weight training program for just 12 weeks and enjoyed an increase in physical strength levels of 19-22%, so that’s more proof!
It’s important that women realize that it’s specifically constructed exercise program structures, which allow them to enjoy their leisure activities more fully and rewardingly. Exercising sensibly via body specific and personally appropriate weight training, can considerably improve their golf, swimming, walking capacity. or any physical endeavour they involve themselves in.
Bear in mind, that your body is a holistic machine that requires maintenance in as balanced an overall fashion as possible, so if you power-walk regularly for example, be absolutely sure to realistically exercise your torso too, as it’s effort levels for contributing to your power walk is significantly inadequate to maintain it in properly healthy balance with your legs.
Be very much aware then, that power walking alone for full ‘head to toe’ health simply isn’t enough and that’s a clinical fact. You have a torso of muscles above your legs as well as your heart and cardio-vascular system, and your body is a holistic machine that requires you to maintain all of it in balance, not just the lower half!
Exercising for women is quite literally … physiologically different from men. Those numerous differences render it necessary for female exercise prescription to be carefully constructed accordingly, as the strengths and weaknesses of female to male are not by any means, all outwardly obvious.
Numerous exercise forms accredited as ‘safe’ when performed by a male physiology can very ‘quietly’ and subtly, immediately begin to cause damage to a female one from the very beginning, without the woman even being aware of it. This ‘under cover’ trauma continues over weeks or months or sometimes even years, gradually building up ‘unseen’ to the point where suddenly… bang!…she most certainly is aware of it!
Female Exercise Biomechanics need a distinctly different approach to ensure effective results and safe working practice. Therefore, if you belong to a health club or gymnasium, or use someone who is providing you with a personal training service; make absolutely sure your exercise prescription and the nutritional advice you receive reflects this very real gender specific need.
A personal trainer in particular, simply must have the in-depth qualifications, skills and knowledge to always provide you with a fully comprehensive, head to toe, biomechanical ROM (Range of Motion) Test at the very beginning, before even lifting a finger in any exercise format is even considered. If they can’t; find one that can, as soon as you can! The test takes a little over an hour and is totally non negotiable, if you are to have exercise formats that are safe and correct for your body’s individuality.
Female Exercise Biomechanics are a specialist area and specialists are certainly not created via training courses which last a few days, weeks or a couple of months! Plain common sense tells you this, so in order to guarantee safety and balance in your future progress always ask and solidly establish the precise level of your trainer’s qualifications and how long their training periods were. Make sure you’re being instructed and guided by an appropriate professional who is qualified at the requisite levels and then you can confidently relax; knowing you’re getting fitter safely.
To date, since March 2002 in the role of assessor, I’ve now been retained to privately assess over two and a half thousand personal trainers, so it’s fairly reasonable to assume that the nature of my advice is valid, when it comes to getting the appropriate levels of expertise, for you to be definitely receiving, exercise guidance that is both safe and reliably knowledgeable.