Exercises For Women

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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The best exercise is that which you enjoy. Chances are, if you enjoy something, you'll keep at it. And keeping at it is the most important feature of all when it comes to health and fitness--especially if you're at the beginning stages of a lifestyle change.

Group classes can offer support and encouragement. A class of like-minded--and sometimes like-bodied--women can provide a healthy boost of confidence. One of the most common reasons women cite for walking away from an exercise program is lack of training, guidance, and encouragement. Group classes led by a supportive, well-trained leader gives women that sense of "Hey! I can do this!" which keeps us coming back day after day, week after week.

If you're concerned you won't be able to "keep up" with an intense aerobics class, or are looking for something with major health benefits without vigorous energy outputs, you might consider yoga or tai-chi. Both of these practices, though very different from one another, strengthen the body, increase flexibility, and have a calming effect on the mind. Both yoga and tai-chi focus on the process, not the result, so many people find it an excellent introduction to physical fitness.

Realizable Goals Build Confidence

If you're new to exercise and wonder how much you should be doing, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends gradually working up to 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise, four or five days a week. Whether you want to try circuit training, aerobic salsa classes, introductory yoga, boxing, weight training, cycling, running, or old-fashioned walking--30 minutes a day, most days of the week, is an excellent goal. All major change begins with one small step, followed by the next. Be gentle on yourself, maintain realizable goals, and soon you'll be so far down your path of choice, you won't be able to see where you started.

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