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Four myths about workouts for women 

But there’s very little information about women and exercise, and that can sometimes be harmful, writes Shikha Sharma

brunch Updated: Dec 10, 2016 18:46 IST
Burpee - gym exercise
Burpee - gym exercise(Getty Images)

So much has been written about the benefits of exercise that you’d imagine that by now there would be nothing more to say. But there’s very little information, in fact, about women and exercise, and that can sometimes be harmful.

Here are four myths about exercises that women tend to believe and the reality you should know.

* Exercise will lead to rapid weight loss 

Unfortunately, this isn’t true. In fact, for women who are trying to lose weight, the apparent failure of exercise to help can be very demotivating. To keep the record straight, exercise without an accompanying diet management plan can only lead to a weight loss of about one kilo a month. 

* Exercises are the same for men and women 

Not true. But in India, since men tend to outnumber women at gyms, the focus is on male-centric exercise with male-centric equipment. This means that you are probably not getting the best out of your gym, because it pays little attention to the physiology of women.

* Workouts remain the same over the length of a woman’s life 

A woman’s body changes throughout her life, which means the exercise she requires must change too. For example, a teenage girl can be advised exercises for strength and better bone structure as well as for proper muscle and fat development to build a good foundation for the rest of her life. Post pregnancy, the kind of exercises prescribed will need to change, especially if you had spinal anaesthesia or a surgery that is only one year old or less: your trainer will have to take into account the fact that internal tissue repair and strengthening takes 18 months to two years. Menopausal women need to cope with water retention, bone loss, mood swings and sometimes depression, and their workouts need to be planned accordingly.

* The main aim of exercise is to burn calories

Exercise has several important goals. It helps to build strength and agility, create flexibility (to prevent tissue injury), better the coordination of mind and body, improve cardiovascular and lung functions, and oxygenation of the body organs.

From HT Brunch, December 11, 2016

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