Health & Fitness

Heads-up to exercise!
Sitting at your desk typing furiously away all day at an endless chain of emails, you long to get to your feet, pull on those running shoes,
feel the wind swoosh past your hair and the sweat cool off your body.

But when it comes time to knock off, there are groceries to buy, dinners to prepare for the family, laundry to pick up, and homework to supervise, among a whole host of other tasks. What should a modern woman do to kickstart a fitness program? Are there any tips to make achieving her fitness goals easier? We speak to the experts from Amore Fitness, Singapore’s leading ladies-only fitness centre and specialist, for some pointers.
Many women find it hard to get started on exercise, given their commitments and obligations at work and at home. What can they do to jumpstart a fitness regime?
The first step is always the most difficult, but one way to ease past that is to set realistic goals to begin with. Keep your objectives specific and achievable so that it is easier to stick to regular workouts. An example of a realistic goal is to lose 2kg in a month, by briskly walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes thrice a week. Most women are unable to sustain an exercise program because they aim to do too much in too short a time. Some set goals based on societal pressures, such as a desire to look model-thin. Others have no idea of what they want to achieve and are only interested in sports or activities that are currently in vogue, such as Pilates. It will always be difficult for women who are not sufficiently motivated by personal fitness goals to begin and maintain a fitness regime.
Why should women exercise when dieting requires less time and energy?
Actually, a combination of exercise and a sensible diet is the best way of losing weight as well as excess fat stored in the body. Sticking to a restrictive diet is harder than most people think, especially in the face of tempting treats like doughnuts and ice-cream. But having a regular exercise regime burns off a substantial amount of calories and helps to maintain a caloric deficit that is essential for weight loss, while reducing the necessity for unpleasantly strict dietary constraints.
For a more efficient and effective workout program, are there specific exercises for enhancing particular body types?
There are basically four body structures: Straight, pear (upright triangle), apple (inverted triangle, and hourglass.

Straight-figured individuals tend to be slim and it will do them good to do more weight trainings to build muscle and body mass. Both pear- and apple-shaped women have unevenly distributed fat stores and must do an intense combination of cardiovascular exercise to burn excess fat, and weight training to improve muscle tone and strength. Hourglass-figured women have an ideal figure and should engage in both cardiovascular and weight training to keep their fat percentage within recommended levels.
Are there any exercises suitable for women to engage in at the workplace, if they have no time to go to the gym on some days?
If there is an unused room in the office, try keeping a skipping rope on hand. Skipping develops cardiovascular fitness, agility and coordination, and also improves one’s sense of balance. As little as five minutes of skipping every day is enough for noticeable results.

Keep a set of hand weights or filled water bottles around for a strengthening and toning exercise. Some moves include basic front deltoid and lateral deltoid raises, simple bicep curls, and tricep kickbacks, among others. Two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions each may be performed at least thrice a week.

If you need a break from the computer, look no further than the stairwell. Begin by climbing up and down a few flights, say five, which should increase the heart rate to aerobic levels. Stick to this for a week and increase as cardiovascular endurance builds up. To add intensity, wear ankle-weights. Remember to step the entire foot on the step, as by doing so, you are sure to work the butt muscles as well!

Calisthenics exercises such as push-ups can also be done in the office. Try doing push-ups against a wall or a table, positioning your hands at the level of your chest and slightly wider than shoulder-width. For starters, do at least two sets of 10 repetitions each.
Having started a fitness program, what can derail a woman’s determination and how can she overcome this?
The stumbling block is more often than not psychological. Sometimes, women get distracted and start thinking that they have more important things to do that exercise. Then they start cutting back on their sessions. It really is an issue of mind over matter. Have confidence in yourself that your goal is within reach, plan your regime around activities you really enjoy, and then everything else will fall into place!



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