Exercise Tips: Know Your Body Fat Percentage
Your weight in pounds is pretty much meaningless except as a tool for monitoring significant changes. A goal based on weight is not the same way to go but leaves out something crucial to your health: muscle. You probably know muscle ways more than fat so being slightly heavier than someone around your height may not be a bad thing. In fact, having some muscle helps to prevent problems such as thin bones, poor posture and lack of functionality.
So what's a good goal? Women are usually healthy with a body fat range between 20 and 30 percent. However, athletes with very low body fat and good muscle tone can be healthy with as low as 14 percent body fat.
Buy Yourself Some Kettlebells
Speaking of building muscle, weight training is not just for men. Women should perform strength training as well. But that does not mean you have to find a spotter and try to bench press your bodyweight. Kettlebells are a smart exercise tool for women because a kettlebell workout gives you strength training and cardio benefits, according to the American Council on Exercise. This means that you tone up and burn up calories at the same time.
You might wonder who much to lift. Women tend to do well starting out with 12 to 26 pound kettlebells. If you have some strength training experience already, opt for the higher weights. Do not use very light weight kettlebells, unless your doctor tells you too, because they usually won't do anything for you.
Get a Workout Buddy, Not a Buddy Buddy
Most women love to be social and you can use that to your advantage when it comes to getting in shape. Having someone to hold you accountable to a workout schedule and to suffer through the sessions with you is motivational, but some women take this too far. Have you ever found yourself chatting with your best girl friend when you were supposed to cycling or speed walking? Often times gabbing with your pal distracts you from your workout and causes you to go too slowly or take too long of breaks, which sabotages your efforts.
The solution: find a friend who is committed to exercise. Someone who takes her workouts seriously is not going to let you get off course. Save your non-workout time for your friends who like to relax and talk.
If all else fails, look into getting a personal trainer. Personal trainers keep you on schedule, will talk to you but not too much, and can measure your body fat percentage.
Photo credit: Amareta Kelly