Women’s Health and Exercise

Have you ever been online shopping and seen something you really like, to find out its “one size fits all”? Your stomach drops and the devastation kicks in because you know there’s no chance of it actually fitting everyone, so you immediately leave the site and continue the search.  Without a thought we chuck aside this notion of “one size fits all” because we know it isn’t true.   Well, that’s what I think about when people use the term “Women’s Health”.  

Women’s health is one of the broadest umbrella terms I have ever come across and as a female in the allied health and fitness industry, I think I can speak for most when I say it’s so much more complicated than a simple term. We’ve taken half the population, placed it into the “one size fits all” box and not looked any further when really, women’s health is as complex and diverse as ever, with new research coming out all the time! From puberty to pregnancy to the ageing process, conditions ranging from breast cancer to female sexual dysfunction and menopause, plague women everywhere. So, what is something we can do to help during every stage? Glad you asked. The answer is exercise! Are you shocked? I know I was when I learnt this.  

So how exactly does exercise help? Well, just to list a few things, it can reduce mood disturbances, improve pain perceptions, prevent muscle weakening and stabilise mental health… pretty much a generalised list of symptoms experienced throughout women’s health. Now, exercise is not solely the solution to “women’s health” but for the small portion of your day spent exercising, the benefits are beyond worth it. 

 You may be wondering, now that we know this, what now? WE EXERCISE! So here are some tips to get started!  

#1. Meet with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) to skip out on the “one size fits all” and get a program that is suited to you and your health! An AEP will be able to assess your health and get down to the nitty gritty of what you need vs the generalised advice.  

#2. Take baby steps! Don’t expect yourself to just dive in and expect superb consistency! It’s okay to take your time and ease into exercise. If that means walking twice a week, then go for it! Even the smallest amount of progress is still progress, so give yourself some grace.  

#3. Try setting some goals. Goal setting can be hard sometimes so have a think about what you want to achieve and the best way to get there for you. Trial some short-term goals and long-term goals, and don’t forget to review them regularly! 

#4. Buddy up! Exercising with friends can not only keep us accountable but gives us a chance to talk to individuals who have similar goals, paths and medical journeys. By helping us feel like we aren’t alone under the umbrella of women’s health, we broaden the understanding of the one size fits all phenomena. 

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