Young women benefit tremendously by lifting weights and engaging in high-impact aerobic exercises. High-impact exercises are those in which both of your feet leave the ground at the same time, as in jumping rope. Lifting moderately heavy weights will not bulk you up; rather, it will enhance your bone density and preserve your muscle mass so you have less risk of osteoporosis and muscle loss.
Food for Fuel
Consuming a small pre-workout meal such as an apple and natural peanut butter will provide you the energy you need for an invigorating, productive workout. Do not go to the gym starving or you are likely to pull a muscle or twist a joint. Young women need sustained energy from slow-digesting fruits and grains to reach the intensity of an aerobic or resistance training workout necessary to maintain bone and muscle health.
It is unnecessary to do aerobic exercise every single day. This leads to overtraining and overuse injuries. Instead, alternate one day of cardio with a day of resistance training. Participate in an aerobics class or use a cardio machine on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for 30 to 60 minutes. According to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, you should participate in 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobics.
Weight training is an activity all young women must do every week, preferably with free weights. Complete a weight training program on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You may pair your chest and back exercises on Mondays, legs, shoulders and abs on Wednesdays and biceps and triceps on Fridays. Or, do an upper-body circuit on Mondays, an abdominal circuit on Wednesdays and then a lower body circuit on Fridays, incorporating only resistance training exercises. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds between each set and complete four to six sets of six to 15 repetitions per exercise.
Change It Up
Your body will adapt to your training routines. Change your workouts every four to six weeks to continue to improve your fitness and your health. Swap out the exercises you perform for your weight training routines and try a different aerobic class or different program on the cardio machines. Take Sundays off as a rest day, giving your body a day to recuperate.
- Equal But Not The Same, Considerations for Training Females; C.H.E.K. Institute
- Exercise Physiology, Energy, Nutrition & Human Performance; William McArdle, et al.
- Personal Trainer Manual; American Council on Exercise
- President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans