Today, it is estimated that more than 40 million American women are in the life-changing phase known as perimenopause. All of these women are likely to experience some symptoms associated with this shift (Saunders 2002).
In 2009 ACOG reaffirmed its 2002 Committee Opinion on exercise during pregnancy. These guidelines remain current as
of this writing. The position paper can be found on the ACOG website (www.acog.org) and should be read in full by any fitness professional who works with expectant clients. Here is a paraphrased summary of its key points.
According to the National Stroke Association, 425,000 women in the United States suffer a stroke each year. To ward off potential stroke risk, many experts encourage women to exercise regularly. But how much exercise is enough to minimize the possibility of experiencing a stroke? The answer may surprise you.
According to researchers from the Beckman Research Institute at the City of Hope in Duarte, California, moderate-intensity exercise—such as a brisk walk— can cut stroke risk by 20%.
A woman’s body will change more in 9 months of pregnancy than a man’s will in his lifetime—and she needs an exercise program to match the transformation. So says maternal exercise expert Farel Hruska, national fitness director of FIT4MOM® (formerly Stroller Strides®) in San Diego. “The biomechanics of motherhood are unique and specific,” Hruska explains. “A mom-to-be will need to master strength, agility, balance, speed, acceleration, deceleration, directional change and rotation . . . all with load that increases every day.”
Here’s more motivation to get your female clients interested in lifting weights: Strength training can help to ward off diabetes.
The researchers, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and the University of Southern Denmark, analyzed data from 99,316 female participants in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Nurses’ Health Study II. The women, aged 36–81, did not present with diabetes, cancer or cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the 8-year study.
Periodization offers a specific strategy for helping women get stronger with resistance training.
It has been well documented that appropriate resistance training can help people across a broad range of ages, fitness levels and health statuses. Resistance training improves muscular strength, muscular endurance and body composition while assisting the body to manage chronic ailments such as diabetes mellitus, obesity, hypertension, bone and joint diseases (osteoporosis and osteoarthritis), and depression (Warburton, Nicol & Bredin 2006).
The percentage of women aged 50 and over who are satisfied with their bodies is quite low, accord- ing to research from the Journal of Women & Aging (2013; 25 , 287–304).
The report was based on information from 1,789 women, who reported body-size satisfaction on a figure-rating scale. Only 12.2% of respondents were satisfied with their bodies.
“Satisfied women had a lower body mass index and reported fewer eating disorder symptoms, dieting behaviors, and weight and appearance dis- satisfaction,” the authors reported.