How Do Short Women Stay in Shape?

Every woman should strive to stay in shape, no matter her height. In general, shorter women will need to aim for a lower weight than taller women, which may mean that you need to exercise more or eat less than they do. However, being short may also mean that you have a petite frame, making it more difficult for you to put on muscle or maintain a lean physique. Commit to regular exercise to help you get in shape and reach your fitness goals.

A woman hiking on rocks near the water. (Image: fatchoi/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Determine what your goal weight should be. A woman's ideal body weight is 100 pounds for the first 5 feet of her height, plus 5 pounds for each inch over 5 feet. Subtract 10 percent from this number if you have a small frame, or add 10 percent if you have a large frame.

Step 2

Perform moderately-intense cardio or aerobic for at least 150 to 300 minutes per week; or when you increase your fitness level, up that to vigorously exercising for 75 to 150 minutes a week. Aerobic exercises include activities like brisk walking, jogging, swimming and cycling among others. And women, no matter what their height, can benefit from upping the ante in the form of interval training. If you're a walker you can perform intervals by walking normally for five minutes to warm up and then break into a light jog for one minute before resuming your normal walking speed. For the next 20 to 30 minutes alternate between between walking and jogging.

Step 3

Perform two or three strength-training sessions each week. Use dumbbells, barbells or your own body weight to perform exercises for each muscle group. Do exercises to target your arms, shoulders and chest on one day. Perform lower-body strength-building exercises like squats and lunges on the next day you strength-train. If using weights start with the highest weight you can lift without struggling and perform eight to 10 reps of each exercise. Increase the amount of weight you lift and the number of reps and sets over time.

Step 4

Practice yoga. Short women will do well in Ashtanga yoga which requires you to move from pose to pose in the space of one breath to the next. Your compact shape will enable you to move in and out of poses more quickly than taller women. If you are new to yoga, practice the basic moves of Hatha yoga under the guidance of a certified instructor first. Yoga will lengthen and strengthen your muscles.


To lose or gain weight, adjust your daily caloric intake according to your ideal body weight. You will need to balance the amount of calories you consume with how many your workouts burn off, and a nutritionist can help give you direction if you need it.

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