When it comes right down to it, womens fitness is not all that different from fitness for anyone - but there are some things about the women's experience that are unique. And there are some great resources that focus on women's needs.
Getting and Staying Fit
Yoga and walking are two ideal ways for anyone, especially the heart survivor, to increase or maintain fitness levels. Aquacise, swimming, cycling, gentle weight training, and exercise ball routines are all beneficial to the heart and also to maintaining healthy muscles and bone density.
The most important thing is to get and stay active.
Suggested Resources for Womens Fitness
Gentle but thorough workouts can be found in Keeping Fit in Your 50s 3-Pack (Aerobics/Strength/Flexibility), a DVD series developed by and for women. For example, the "strength" DVD offers a 40 minute work out plus lots of information to inspire you.
Weights for Weight Loss, The fast track to a slimmer, stronger, firmer body, by Sam Murphy (who is a female Sam). We know that weight training is good for your heart, reduces blood pressure, and protects your bones, but sometimes women don't know where to get started, or don't want to go to a gym full of body builders. This book is geared at women, has wonderful instruction, great photos, and I highly recommend it.
Women's Complete Guide to Walking by Jeff & Barbara Galloway. This book contains fat-burning and motivational tips, nutrition advice, inspirational stories from successful women, women specific information, and detailed training plans. A great resource if you are taking up walking.
Fit to Live: The 5-Point Plan to be Lean, Strong, and Fearless for Life, by Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP. This book has a 5-point plan to help you manage your weight, improve your fitness, and optimize your health. Not only is it full of helpful information, it has interesting (and sometimes humorous) snippets and sidebars throughout.
101 Ways to Work Out with Weights: Effective Exercises to Sculpt Your Body and Burn Fat! by Cindy Whitmarsh. Cindy's book provides a range of exercises - for the beginner, intermediate, and advanced workout. It's full of illustrative photographs showing the correct way to do the workouts. It would be useful for anyone but is geared for and will appeal to women.
Why Weights for Women?
Working out with weights will tone your body, increase your muscle mass, and speed up your metabolism. You will experience improvements in circulation, coordination, balance, and bone strength.
Osteoporosis is a concern for many women. Resistance exercises, such as with weights, can help prevent loss of bone density.
You don't need to invest in fancy equipment, just some free weights, which can be readily found in stores. You can often pick up weights second-hand. With a basic set you can do a variety of exercises. As you get stronger you can progress to heavier weights.
Combining cardiovascular exercise such as walking or cycling with a weight workout on a regular basis is a heart healthy approach to womens fitness, plus you will see visible results. See more about weight training including some simple free weight exercises you can get started with, and how to set up a home gym right here on smart-heart-living.