Thankfully we have smart, helpful girlfriends who know more than us in important topics like health and fitness. One such girlfriend is DANA ENSLEY, from the Clippard Family YMCA, and Wellness Task Team co-chair for the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati. She offered up some girlfriend advice on how to, and how not to, exercise. (Because, we all want our girlfriends to be around for a long time so we need to help each other stay healthy!) Thanks Dana for sharing:
We’ve all heard it – ‘No pain, no gain’. There are a lot of myths about exercise still floating out there. Here are some answers to some of the most common myths when it comes to women and exercise.
#1 Cardio workouts are all you need to lose weight.
If weight loss or weight management is your goal, then a combination of cardio and strength exercise is the magic recipe. Yes, exercise that increases your heart rate can burn more calories during the actual workout; however building strength will increase your metabolic rate. In the long run you can burn more calories at rest AND during your workouts if you do both cardio and strength exercise. So, do both, reach your goals faster and gain other helpful benefits by being stronger.
#2 I have to exercise 6 days a week for at least an hour or otherwise it’s not worth it.
All you need to do is challenge your body beyond what it is used to doing. That means if you have been a couch potato as of late, then a brisk walk even two times a week will jump start your exercise program. Start slow, but progressively increase your time and intensity, and challenge yourself with a variety of activities and schedule. Work with a qualified fitness staff person or certified person trainer to help you design a workout specifically for you built around your past exercise and healthy history, your goals and the time you have to devote to your program.
#3 I know I do the same thing each workout, but I’m in a routine and consistent. Isn’t that good enough?
Having a routine and being consistent is great and you should commend yourself for it, because making exercise a continuous habit is hard to do. However, the body will get use to doing the same thing over and over and it will stop benefiting from all your tireless efforts. Boredom may also set in. I recommend changing things up. For example, if you always take the same step class two times per week, switch to the Zumba class one week or for a few weeks in a row. You can always go back to the step class. If you normally do machines for your strength exercise, try one or two workouts with dumb bells/free weights or cabling to mix it up. Your body will thank you for it.
#4 I plan to do use abdominal crunches to help me lose the fat around my belly.
Abdominal crunches (and there a ton of different ones to choose from) are good to use to build the muscle in your abdominal area, however you cannot spot reduce the fat in this area, or any area of your body. Genetics determine where your body stores that fat. A consistent exercise routine and sound nutrition plan, is the best way to effectively lose weight and keep it off.
#5 If I lift weights it will make me look bulky.
This is such a common myth; however, the reality is women do not and can not naturally produce as much testosterone as men so it is impossible for a woman to naturally gain huge muscle mass simply by casual strength training workouts. Arnold Schwarzenegger we are not. Weight training will help us to make our bodies leaner, build stronger bones, and increase how many calories we burn – which ultimately will help with weight management and overall health.
Dana Ensley is associate executive director of the Clippard Family YMCA, and Wellness Task Team co-chair for the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati
THANKS DANA! I hope this helps dispel some exercise myths that may have been frustrating or have kept you from getting the best results from exercising.
What girlfriend advice can you offer on fitness and exercise? What has/hasn’t worked for you? Share your girlfriend advice!
More girlfriend advice on exercise and health:
Podcast with STEPFANIE ROMINE from Sparkpeople/dailySpark on how to stay motivated to exercise
Guest Blog by STEPFANIE ROMINE on how to keep your New Year’s Resolutions
Podcast with JOAN MARTIN FEE on getting kids to exercise