A multifaceted approach is needed for you to lose weight and sculpt your body. Eating a well-balanced diet and following a comprehensive fitness program that includes cardiovascular activity, strength training and flexibility exercises are essential for weight management and muscular development. Follow a plan that fits your lifestyle, and include activities that you enjoy.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, an average of 30 minutes a day for five days, for health maintenance. Increase this amount to reach your weight-loss goals. Include different methods of cardiovascular exercise such as running, walking, swimming or using an elliptical machine. Vary the intensity of your workouts to continually challenge your body. Include a longer-endurance day, speed intervals and hill training each week. Most cardiovascular machines in fitness centers have programs available that include various levels of intensity. If exercising outdoors, use a watch to monitor your speed and pre-measured courses to track your distance.
Strong Women Rock
You need at least two days each week of strength training for all of your major muscle groups. For a woman trying to lose weight, circuit training-style workouts that target every muscle group and keep your heart rate elevated are an efficient option. Focus on minimizing rest into between exercise sets. An example of an effective total-body strength-training circuit includes pushups, squats with shoulder presses, walking lunges, dead lifts, triceps extensions and abdominal crunches. Complete 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise. Allow minimal rest before moving to the next exercise. Repeat the circuit four to five times. Always allow at least 48 hours of recovery between working the same muscles.
You can work on flexibility every day without fear of developing overuse injuries. In fact, stretching after exercise helps your muscles rebuild and recover. Yoga is an effective method for enhancing total body flexibility. Yoga Sun Salutations allow you to move your body in multiple directions, enhancing blood flow while promoting supple muscles. An effective stretching sequence involves reaching for your toes to stretch your hamstrings, stepping each leg back into a lunge position to open hip flexors and extensors, and bending backward to extend your spine. Stretch all specific muscle groups after strength training. Do not stretch your muscles cold. Always perform a warm-up to heat your body and allow your muscles to become more receptive to stretching.
Core of the Matter
Core strengthening is important for maintaining correct posture during all of your activities. Strengthening your core will help you appear longer and leaner. It will also prevent muscular imbalances that develop when you compensate for weak muscles in other areas of your body. Core strengthening flattens and tones abdominal muscles, creating a streamlined waist. This is especially important for women who have had a baby. Weak abs can be a result of pregnancy and working on your core muscles to get them back up to snuff will be worth doing. Engage your core by activating the deepest layer of your abdominals during every exercise. The plank exercise is an example of an effective core strengthening exercise. The plank involves holding the pushup position with your wrists in line with your shoulders, your body in a straight line and your legs extended while you balance on the balls of your feet. Hold the plank position for 30 seconds to one minute. Increase the intensity of the exercise by lifting your opposite arm and leg while maintaining your balance. Perform core exercises at least four days each week.