By Lucy Gornall
Fitness for women doesn’t have to mean hours of walking or lacing up your best running shoes to pound a treadmill. In fact, staying active can be enjoyable and so much fun that you don’t even realise it’s a workout.
We asked woman&home's fitness guru Annie Deadman to share her top workout tips that will not only boost your workout motivation, but get you excited to workout even more.
Get ready to up your fitness game with Annie's motivational tips!
Why is fitness so important for women?
Firstly it's important to look at our understanding of fitness for women and why it's so important. It's not just about looking good, feeling great and helping to maintain a healthy weight, but it's actually an essential way to protect your body as you get older.
“As we age, our muscle mass naturally decreases, so staying active – particularly by including resistance training in your workout – is a great way to counteract this,” reveals Ben Jackson, owner of gym F45 South Wimbledon.
One study even found that we lose 3-8% of our muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 30, and this is accelerated after the age of 60.
“There’s also the bone-boosting benefit of exercise,” says Ben. “Women, particularly, are at a higher risk of symptoms of osteoporosis due to hormonal changes during the menopause. Exercise can help slow down this bone loss.”
Plus, there are the mental health benefits that staying fit can bring. Shifts in the levels of hormones for a woman going through menopause can lead to low moods. “The endorphins released during exercise can help trigger positive feelings,” says Ben.
How to boost your fitness
1. Be inspired by the best fitness channels on YouTube
If you're bored of walking for weight loss or sick of hitting the treadmill, then find inspiration online.
“If you’re working out at home, go on YouTube and find nine workouts which interest you,” says Annie. “Then, email the links to yourself. If you do three of these a week, that’s three weeks’ worth of workouts. Then do them again (only better) in the following three weeks.”
Not sure where to start? Head to YouTube and simply search the type of workout you want and the length. For example, "20 minute beginner dumbbell workout".
You could even head to Annie's follow-along workouts on the woman&home Facebook page.
2. Keeping a workout journal is important
Keeping a workout journal allows you to see progression each week, which is good news if you want to quit as your progress feels too slow.
“Whether it be your step count, number of runs or the length of your yoga for weight loss class. Whatever it is, writing it down makes it all the more real and allows you to see how far you’ve come,” says Annie.
In saying this, don’t worry if you aren’t always improving. We’re not machines and everyone will have quieter weeks than others.
Motivation will have its peaks and troughs and it’s important to also be kind to ourselves. Realising this will help motivation in the long term.
3. Working out with friends is better – even virtually
Start a WhatsApp group with friends to keep each other accountable.
“Add friends and family members who are also on a mission to keep fit, and tell each other what you plan to do, or what you’ve done,” says Annie.
“If your friend says she’s off for a 5km walk in the morning, you might be more inclined to ensure you do the same. Equally, if you tell the group that you plan on lifting some weights this evening, you’ll be disappointing more than just yourself if you don’t do it.”
Research suggests that we are influenced by the exercise behaviours of those around us. A 2016 study found that overweight people lose more weight if they spend time with their fitter friends. So, it makes sense to call up your pals and get fit together!
4. New workout buys can boost your motivation
It’s time to treat yourself to a new item of fitness clothing. There’s nothing quite like new accessories to keep you motivated.
“When opting for new kit, make sure it’s comfortable and fits well. As, if doesn’t quite fit right, you’ll be less motivated to work out in it,” says Annie. “The worst thing you can do is head out on a walk or a run with leggings that slip down. Equally, it’s incredibly infuriating wearing a sports bra that doesn’t hold your breasts in place.”
Wearing the right footwear is also key. “No one wants to head on a walk or run in uncomfortable shoes,” says Annie. “You’re destined to suffer from blisters and cuts, which will only delay your progress. Plus, it will give you an excuse to ditch the workout.”
This doesn’t mean spending a fortune, mind. Plenty of supermarkets and high street stores do good quality, affordable kit. Or you could bag yourself a pair of a more premium pick in a running shoes sale.
5. Book a fitness challenge to complete
Book an event or a challenge in the future and work towards it. “Knowing you have a goal – and an end in sight – is often enough motivation to get people moving,” says Annie. “Doing this with a friend is also a good idea as you can spur each other on.”
Not feeling confident enough to sign up now? Then you could always plan your own. How about setting a date in a few months time where you’ll all agree to complete a challenge. This could be a 10km run (or further!), or a 12-hour overnight walk to raise money for charity. Or, if you have the right equipment, a virtual bike ride in your front room.
Give it a try!
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