Reaching Out to Women

by Peter Davis, CEO and Kathie Davis on Jun 01, 2003

Warm-Up

During IDEA’s 21-year history, we have seen the fitness industry evolve from a part-time hobby for many instructors into a full-fledged profession for fitness practitioners with college-level degrees and various professional certifications. Why? Partly because the people we work with have diverse yet specific needs, and fitness pros have sought the education and training to meet the needs of special populations.

One population group that is easy to overlook is women. After all, women are everywhere in fitness! Yet, women do have special physical needs, social preferences and responsibilities, like child care, that impact their participation in fitness.

At the recent IHRSA convention in San Francisco, some of these issues were addressed in a session we attended titled “WOMEN: Why They Should Exercise, Why They Don’t and What You Can Do to Motivate Them.” Amy Eyler, PhD, had a number of specific suggestions to encourage women to exercise: You can promote women’s confidence by focusing on past successes, starting with small goals and making sure women attend the equipment orientation. On a practical level, you can offer financially accessible child care and conveniently scheduled programs. Dr. Eyler also stressed the need to focus on family with strategies like mothers and daughters exercising together.

Franchise studios aimed at inactive women have integrated many of these concepts into their formats and have quickly leaped in growth over the past few years. In this issue, IDEA Health & Fitness Source editor Joy Keller interviews representatives from Curves, Slender Lady and Expressfit for Women to find out how they are successful at appealing to women. Borrow all these ideas!

Pregnancy is a special time in a woman’s life, and exercise can be an important part of the experience. In fact, many regular exercisers who are well-conditioned, trained athletes are confused by the recommendations for very mild exercise given to newly pregnant, previously inactive women.

This subject is tackled by Lisa Druxman, MA, who searched for guidelines that active women can use. It took a bit of work because highly trained pregnant exercisers have not been a research group. As always, common sense and experience, along with a sound knowledge of physiology, are needed when working with active pregnant women. Lisa’s article will help you identify the areas to think about. It’s worth the attention because—once again—exercise is a boon.

Recently, New York Times health writer Jane Brody quoted Raul Artal, MD, chairman of obstetrics, gynecology and women’s health at the St. Louis School of Medicine (and a past IDEA presenter), as saying, “Fit women do not necessarily have a faster labor and delivery, but they may be able to cope better with labor, and their recovery after birth may be faster and easier.” Dr. Artal also noted that exercise after childbirth has been linked to a reduced risk of postpartum depression.

Another evolution you may have noticed is the slow but steady new look of IDEA Health & Fitness Source. The editors and art director wanted to make the magazine easier for you to read around a typically hectic schedule. To that end, new columns have been added and the typography has been adjusted. The articles are a bit shorter (but the dedication to peer reviews and thorough editing remains the same). We are now almost at the end of the process, which will culminate in the July-August convention issue next month.

We are really looking forward to that issue, which will focus on current topics and directions for the industry. The issue dovetails with the IDEA World Fitness & Personal Trainer Convention®. One of this event’s highlights for us will be the presentation of the IDEA Health & Fitness Awards, sponsored by Propel® Fitness Water. These awards, which recognize leading figures in the fitness industry, are our way of thanking and acknowledging the important work that all of you are doing to Inspire the World to Fitness. It will be a great event and we hope to see you there.

Yours in good health,

Peter and Kathie Davis

IDEA Health Fitness Source, Volume 2004, Issue 6

© 2003 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Authors

Peter Davis, CEO

Peter Davis, CEO IDEA Author/Presenter

Peter Davis is the chief executive officer of IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

Kathie Davis

Kathie Davis IDEA Author/Presenter

Kathie Davis is executive director of IDEA Health & Fitness Association in San Diego. She frequently reports to the media on fitness industry trends.