Exercise on the Homefront
For women everywhere, it may seem like the world has turned upside down. It feels impossible to be at our physical best every day. Even so, every woman benefits from exercise, especially if it improves the health of her body.
Although our bodies are unique, these scary facts about women’s exercise habits are true:
-More than half of women with cardiovascular disease do not do enough physical activity, and this number has grown in the last decade.
-Lack of physical activity is linked to higher risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes.
-After high school, young women tend to exercise less than their male counterparts
-By race, black and Hispanic women are less likely to have high rates of physical activity. For black women, sweating out straightened or relaxed hair is a reason to skip a trip to the gym or avoid working out.
On the positive side, exercising has many positive effects on a woman’s health:
-Exercise helps counteract hormonally-driven mood swings
-Exercise prevents Osteoporosis and Bone Loss later in life
-It helps keep weight in check
-Exercise helps you sleep better
-Reduces the risk you will catch Dementia in your old age
-Helps reduce the risk you will catch cancer (including breast cancer)
-Improves the health of your skin
Since women are spending so much time at home, below are a few exercises that can be tried at home, on all body types.
How to: Start lying back with arms extended over chest, legs raised and bent at 90 degrees (knees above hips and shins parallel to floor). Keep low back pressed to the floor, brace core, then slowly and simultaneously extend and lower right leg and to hover just above mat. Pause, then return to start and repeat on the opposite side. That’s one rep. Complete as many reps as possible, with control, in 30 seconds.
How to: Start lying on back with a dumbbell lifted over chest, arms straight, and legs raised toward ceiling, knees and ankles stacked over hips. Lower left leg down as low as you can go without lower back arching up off the mat. Return to start, and repeat on the other side. That's one rep. Complete as many reps as possible, with control, in 30 seconds. (Weight is optional).
How to: Start kneeling at back of mat with toes tucked and butt resting on heels. Walk hands forward to an all fours position with knees under hips and wrists under shoulders. Lift knees to form one straight line from heels to head. Keep hips high and abs engaged. Hold for 30 seconds then return to start.
How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, arms by sides. With control, step left foot back and lower down until both legs form 90-degree angles and back knee is hovering 2–3 inches off the ground. Reverse the movement to return to start. That's one rep. Complete three sets of 10 reps per side without alternating.