The world is trending away from the ideal body being a skinny one or that a woman should starve herself in order to be beautiful. The fitness magazine ‘Women’s Health’ recently joined in this "real-body" movement by banning the phrases “bikini body” and “drop two sizes” from its publication. Having the perfect figure is no longer as important as being healthy. Of course, being healthy does still require some effort to maintain.
While the health and wellness world moves away from the ideal figure of a woman being one with a flat stomach, it has caused some confusion just as to what women should and shouldn’t be doing when it comes to diet and exercise. Having a bikini body might not be the end all be all when it comes to women’s health and fitness these days, but that isn’t a license to eat whatever you want and embrace a sedentary lifestyle. With that in mind, here are some tips to make sure you don’t end up too out of shape.
Calories in, equal calories out
The body-positive movement continues to gain steam and dangerous diet fads and outright starvation are recognized as being just as unhealthy as being overweight. However, just because you don’t need to fit into a pair of size two jeans to be happy with your body doesn’t mean it’s okay to neglect your diet altogether. Eating whatever you want, whenever you want could lead to huge health problems like obesity or diabetes.
One of the simplest diets is to match the calories you consume with the calories you burn each day. How much and how many depends on several factors including age and weight, but a woman living a sedentary lifestyle burns around 1650 calories per day. Those ladies who go to the gym regularly or have more hectic lifestyles burn closer to 2,000 calories each day. By keeping your daily caloric intake around roughly the same amount of calories you burn each day, you are less likely to suffer any dramatic weight gains.
Walk more, drive less
The benefits of walking are numerous and it is one of the only exercises that just about anyone can do regardless their current physical condition. While it isn’t a complete substitute for working out, on days when you are too busy to get to the gym, walking to the store from your home or taking a stroll during your lunch break can be enough to get your heart rate up and body stimulated.
Focus on what you do, not how long you do it
One of the biggest problems with women’s fitness is that ladies have felt obligated to do certain workout routines even if they find them to be boring. If you don’t like spending 60 minutes on a treadmill five times a week then you shouldn’t force yourself to do it. Instead, find new classes that you're interested in trying. And don’t limit yourself to just traditional forms of exercise like step classes or yoga.
Feel free to think outside of the box when it comes to your fitness. Try a team sport, sign-up for dance lessons or maybe take the kids for a bike ride. It’s not how you exercise that’s important, it’s just the fact that you stay active. Set a realistic fitness target for yourself that makes sure you are getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity three or four times a week. This makes it easy to keep your schedule flexible and enjoy all kinds of new activities.
It is important to understand that being happy with your body and being healthy are two different things. Falling into a sedentary lifestyle almost always leads to short and long term health problems. Instead of focusing on how much you weigh, focus on how healthy you feel. We can help you reach your health goals, whatever they may be.