A girl who appeared to be on the heavier side had approached me in the walking track at the Coimbatore-Race Course. She asked me for tips on health management, weight reduction and requested me to create a group for the same. This got me thinking and I decided to pour my thoughts in this blog.
Creating awareness among women about keeping themselves physically fit is the first step towards making India healthy. According to me, healthy women are the cornerstone of healthy societies. In real terms, health and fitness are two sides of the same coin. Both are necessary to live a healthy and happy life.
There are some things that women are better at than men. But, taking care of their health is not one of them. The fact is that women are more likely than men to put off preventive care of their health. My conversations with women tell me that women rank fitness as one of their top wellness challenges. Ever wondered why?
Following are the commonly cited reasons by women as barriers to exercise:
- Women are too busy taking care of others to take care of themselves. Their dedication to family presents substantial time and logistical barriers to being physically active. Several women juggle between home responsibilities and their jobs and hence seldom find time for their health or themselves.
- They may not have access to resources such as parks and gyms, and more often than not lack motivation and confidence.
- Reasons for weight gain may be attributed to the inheritance of genetic predisposition or caesarean sections undergone by them.
- Lack of energy is yet another factor as fatigue is a by-product of a tiring lifestyle and women are often tired.
- Women with low incomes are less likely to exercise regularly. They do not realize that not all exercises require expensive clothes or a gym membership. One of the most beneficial forms of exercise is free – brisk walking!
- Mindset is yet another factor, as women feel that going outside for a walk or to hit the gym is not necessary for them.
- Breaking the laziness barrier is the main hurdle for most people irrespective of gender.
- Women feel that they are constantly being looked at by others when walking in public. They are reluctant and shy to wear jogging suits and walk with their cellulite jiggling appearance, as they feel that they will be laughed at. This is true especially among South Indian women as cultural factors play a major role in this part of India. The fear of judgement is greater than the women’s self-confidence.
- Women who believe that child-rearing and domestic chores are ‘women’s work’ are less likely to take time to exercise – perhaps they feel guilty taking time out for themselves. Sexism proves to be one of the barriers.
- Some others think that to be useful, exercise must be painful, sweaty and gruelling, which of course is not true.
How Can Women Improve Their Health?
Women’s roles within families have positioned them to become health managers or promoters of overall family health. It is time women wake up and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
- Lose weight if you are overweight – just start with 15 minutes of walking a day.
- Eat a balanced diet. Cook healthy meals for yourself and your family instead of eating out or eating prepared foods.
- Eat the right food in correct proportions at the right time as women have the habit of delaying their meal timings owing to the pressure of work.
- Create time for walking as walking is considered the king of exercises. It contributes several benefits to the human body without risking injury or stressing it.
- Regular Brisk Walking can help you maintain a healthy weight. It prevents and/or manages various medical conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
- Find a walking partner if you are not motivated to walk alone. For instance, your husband, parents, friends, relatives or your children. You can even join a local walking group.
Trying to postpone this wonderful aerobic exercise eventually leads to obesity and several other health issues. Without proper awareness and guidance, women find themselves totally lost when it comes to exercise. Download the GOQii app and subscribe to their service. By their coaching methodology, GOQii Coaches will guide, support and make lasting improvements to your health and well-being.
Once women get past their initial reluctance, they will tend to have a balanced approach to fitness. Women’s traditional roles within families have positioned them to directly impact the overall health and well-being of their families. Women are the backbone of India. The health and well-being of mothers is crucial to the health of their children and families and by extension, the health of a nation.