Affordable Ways Women Can Address Their Wellness Needs

Hitting the gym and eating healthy are two essentials in the wellness equation. But for women, the formula isn’t quite that simple. Men often lose weight faster — and keep it off longer — than women, which means ladies need a unique approach to meeting their health goals. Stacy Reuille dishes out affordable advice to help you start living a healthier life.

Photo Credit: Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

Guest Post by: Shelia Johnson at Well Sheila

Women Versus Men: The Differences

A matchup between men and women is always interesting, but it’s not physical strength or intelligence we want to talk about. The truth is that women have more risk factors than men when it comes to health problems like heart disease, says Cleveland Clinic.

Women’s bodies also react differently to stress than men’s — a woman’s heart pumps more blood when she’s stressed, while men’s blood pressures rise. Different symptoms of heart disease can also confuse things. Fortunately, exercise and healthy habits can help women lower their risk.

But it’s not just physical differences that set men and women apart. Women experience depression — and receive a diagnosis for it — more often than men. Postpartum depression is another issue that’s unique to women, and hitting the gym isn’t a cure-all for baby blues.

The fact is that ladies need a unique approach to wellness — both physical and mental — to stay healthy and empowered. Fortunately, there are inexpensive ways to ensure your health and feel your best. Staying focused, motivated, and on track with your weight loss and wellness goals can be challenging. Try these tips to stick with it:

1. Look the Part

Embarking on a weight loss journey can be intimidating, but overhauling your mindset can help. Look at working out as a new adventure — and one that requires a new wardrobe. You can purchase workout gear to support your goals without breaking the bank with Nordstrom Rack coupons and promo codes.

Without overspending, you’ll be looking the part in no time — whether you’re walking, riding an exercise bike, or doing yoga. Plus, studies suggest that donning appropriate workout attire can change your attitude and confidence. In short, you can’t go wrong with yoga pants.

2. Care for All of You

Looking at physical fitness under a microscope means you’re missing the bigger picture when it comes to wellness. Physiology is only part of your path to better health. Psychology can also help you meet your goals and make more significant progress. In short, your mindset matters, so an overall healthy lifestyle needs to include self-care and mental health support as necessary.

On the plus side, this step doesn’t need to cost you much — most insurance plans are required to cover mental health support, for one thing, says the National Alliance on Mental Illness. But routine self-care can also be as simple as taking time to relax, indulging in hobbies you enjoy, and spending time with friends.

3. Know Yourself

Knowing that you hate running or that meditation helps you relax is a good start. But knowing yourself also comes down to understanding your physiology and why losing weight may be more difficult for you than men and even other women.

Women tend to have slower metabolism than men, but you may not see the same results by following your BFF’s meal plan or fitness regimen, either. Customizing a routine that works for your needs is essential for weight loss success. That’s one reason expensive fad diets don’t work — they don’t consider how different each person’s physical makeup is, whether man or woman. Save your money and invest in lifestyle changes rather than weight loss gimmicks.

Caring for your body and mind involves far more than counting calories and hitting the gym. To really reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, you need to understand why your body does what it does — and how to keep the entire system in alignment. If you’re ready to combine physiology with psychology for a well-rounded approach to fitness and health, reach out to Stacy Reuille for expert advice today.

Saturday’s Weekend Warrior Workout

To plan your workouts think about doing something focused 3-6 times a week and taking 1-3 days of what’s called active rest (clean house, walk the golf course, go for a hike, take the dog for a long walk, do squats throughout the day – link it to every time you go to the bathroom for example.

This movement is important for recovery and allows your body to do something active for fun, wellness, blood flow to the sore spots from your focused workout, etc. This keeps the body oriented toward energy flow and movement.

Making sure to get a weekend workout in is a great way to make sure your active rest days are not consecutive. Consecutive days off can make it harder to return to your focused workouts on Monday.

Make sure to warm up. Spend 5-10minutes doing easy movement, stretching, and allow the muscles you are going to work to “wake up”. Work to include all the big joints and major muscle groups. It’s a great time to get your music right, your shoes tightened or loosened, or make sure you hair is out of your way. By fixing these things now, you are more likely to stay focused on the work.

When you complete the round, give yourself a pat on the back, a fist pump, something that celebrates your accomplishment. This is a big deal for helping habits stick, and helps you be realistic about all the hard work you are doing.

10’s For Strength

Do 10 reps of each exercise below. Make sure you have good form before you make any movement harder. Form before function or you won’t have function (you’ll hurt yourself instead).

Round 1

  • Backward lunges
  • Elbows Wide Push ups
  • Side Lunges
  • Elbow-In Low Row (to make weighted use dumbbell, bands, canned goods, full/semi full milk jug, your kid – be creative & make sure it feels good to lift, some items do not)
  • Forward lunges. (if you have problems keeping your knee over your ankle here, do another set of backward lunges)
  • Elbow-Out High Row (see above for weight)

Round 2

  • Narrow Squats (put a block, small ball, or towel between your inner thighs for this one to help focus on those muscle groups)
  • Supine Overhead Lat Row (lay on your back on the floor or a bench, feet flat on the floor, knees bent, with 1 weighted item in hands. Move that item from chest level over your head and return pulling down toward the stomach area. Do not move lower than the floor/top of the head, and keep the arms straight throughout the movement. If low back lifts shorten the range of the movement. And make sure you do not drop the weight on yourself)
  • Pile Squats
  • Elbows in Push Ups

Round 3

  • Single Leg Squats – 10 to each side
  • Shoulder Lateral Raises
  • Cherry Pickers
  • Bicep Curls
  • Curtsy Squats
  • Tricep Overhead Press

YOU DID IT!! Now that you have finished the “work” portion, it is time for flexibility training. Spend some time stretching all the muscles you worked – in this workout, it’s full body so give all your major muscles a good stretch. Then grab a good post workout snack. Together these get your muscles ready for tomorrow’s movement and make sure you are ready to meet your goals.

Words of Caution …

Please make sure to follow your body. Do not push through pain. Discomfort/Challenge are different than pain. We want to challenge ourselves we do not want to hurt ourselves. Find the level that is right for you and move at that level. Make sure to choose weight and stances that support your body style – if you have to use the wall to do your push ups do that, if you need a chair or a bench use those. Make sure you are doing what you need to do for your body type and current personal level of fitness.

As always have a fun living in your body today!

The Evolution of Fitness – Where we are now and how we got here.

What will become of us?  Obesity is rising- it is a national epidemic.  We are poised for a major health care crisis because we do not want to take care of ourselves. What will happen to us? Sounds desperate doesn’t it?

If history is right we will prevail, and we must look to history to understand the future.  I find it fascinating to look back and see how we came to this point.  When put in historical perspective it makes sense; right or wrong we can see how we got here and where to go next. We can see that we are beginning to come full circle on ideas surrounding fitness and diet.

My grandparents’ generation saw enormous change. During this time of change their lifestyles were uprooted and people were glad for the breaks technology gave them. They were more than happy to go to the bathroom inside, however this eliminated some movement since they did not have to travel as far. T.V became a source of entertainment, and as a Robert Earl Keen song claims, “…I don’t think she’s seen the sky since we got the satellite dish.” We have truly changed our way of life. Looking back to post World War II, we created many time saving gadgets, we also had a culture of new and bigger equals better Keeping up with the Jones was a very real concept and advertising was new and glamorous. We had to learn what old school ideas were worth keeping, how to be media savvy, and how to find ourselves amidst the bombardment of ideas about “ good and better” thrown at us each day. Marketers did a wonderful job of selling us prepackaged food because is was easier to make than the “’old way of cooking”. People began to need white bread because it said something about your place in society. All this change led to more expense, which led to more work, which led to more sitting and less moving, which led to more technology advances, which led to less movement and the weight came on.

Along the way we made attempts at change. We created programs and grants. We said we needed to change, but the idea was intangible. Fitness became about money. Those who had it also had free time to lounge at the club. A former client refused to sweat. She said it was un-lady like even though she had been at the club for sixty years…what was she doing? The former idea of exercise was very different than today’s idea. As fitness evolved the fitness industry began a revolution and people from many walks of life began to understand its place, however research was just beginning to report the benefits and many still felt fitness was not a necessity.

Our ideas surrounding food continued to keep us out of touch with the foods we ate, and we figured out how to make corn syrup! This little ingredient hit the grocery shelves like a tornado. Suddenly we had refills at the fast food restaurants, we could get our hands on huge servings of chips, crackers, candies, and all sorts of yummy things – cheap. We’d also figured out how to make food last longer. We created trans fats. We could eat whatever we wanted whenever we wanted and could afford it. Many I speak with reminisce about soda as a reward and candy a once a week, hard earned treat, but those days are no longer and we must begin to react to the realities of today.

Junk food is readily available and cheap. We never learned the hand-me-down lessons our grandparents were taught surrounding foods, and we have moved further away from an agricultural society so many of us never see how our food comes to be. I was twenty-eight before I learned cheesecake could be made in my kitchen! Exercise has become a necessity, but only in the last decade and many have yet to buy into its effectiveness, but we are getting there. Recently, pop was taken out of schools. For many this was a first exposure with the branding, youth, and food movement, but for others this fight has been raging for years, and finally a battle was won. Chalk one up for education, persistence, research, and passion. Fast food places now have exercise happy meals for adults! The organic food industry has seen a 20% increase in sales and continues to predict growth. Cooking classes have come full circle teaching us the tricks we forgot to learn from grandma, and fitness club memberships have grown exponentially; statistics back up club membership as a top factor in reaching fitness goals. We are doing it! We are succeeding. We will win back our health…but we have to choose wisely.

Workout While You Walk!

Ok, now that we’ve covered basics of walking over the last few blog posts – lets look at adding adventure to our jaunt because lets face it, walking is, well, sometimes it can be boring. You can also add this workout to running, which can be great fun! First,

Take very large steps. Try keeping your speed as you begin taking extra long strides. Do this for ten steps and begin walking as fast asyou can for thirty steps. Repeat 3 times.

· During the third round change the extra long strides into lunges. Keep the knee over the ankle as you move forward, as it will want to shoot out over your toe, which can be too much stress on the joint. Center your weight as you come into the lunge and lower the body over the hips. Do ten lunges on each leg, and begin walking as fast as possible again. Repeat this sequencence.

· Next, add knee raises. As you move forward raise the knee to waist height with each step, do ten then walk as fast as possible for thirty steps. Follow this sequence with an extended kick as you raise the knee. Raise the knee to waist height and then extend the leg from the knee out front. Feel the quadriceps as you extend placing the foot down as far in front as you can. Repeat for ten steps and recover for thirty.

· The next set works the hamstrings. As you walk bring your heels up to the glutes. Knees stay close together as stride decreases working the back of the thigh to raise the feet. Repeat for ten steps recover for thirty.

· Finally, as you walk forward raise the leg out to the side and place the foot down across the mid-line of your body, working the outer and inner thigh respectively. Imagine your body has been cut in half, right vs left, and you need to place your step in the opposite half. So each step will involve bringing the leg out to the side (outer thigh work) and then stepping across the mid-line (inner thigh work).

· Repeat the entire sequence throughout your walk and make sure you are moving fast enough to keep the heart rate up if this counts as your cardio workout.

Sure you’ll look funky, but it will put some spark in your daily walk and add spice to your routine, plus will help add emphasis to the lower body as you move.