|Almost one out of nine women is expected to develop breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women.
So far, researchers haven’t found any fool-proof way to prevent breast cancer except voluntary mastectomy (surgical removal of the breasts) for women at extremely high risk. Short of taking this drastic step, the best way a woman can protect herself against breast cancer is by practicing early detection methods and by reducing known risk factors. If breast cancer is found and treated early—before it has spread beyond the breast—the five-year survival rate is greater than 95 percent.
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Category Archives: All about the women
There are more myths and misconceptions about strength training than any other area of fitness. While research continues to uncover more and more reasons why working out with weights is good for you, many women continue to avoid resistance training for fear of developing muscles of Herculean proportions.
Other women have tried it and been less than thrilled with the results. “Don’t worry,” people say. “Women can’t build muscle like men. They don’t have enough testosterone.” This is, in fact, only partly true.
Many women, believing they wouldn’t build muscle, hit the gym with a vengeance and then wondered why, after several weeks of resistance training, their clothes didn’t fit and they had gained muscle weight.
The truth is, not everyone responds to training in quite the same way. While testosterone plays an important role in muscle development, the answer to why some men and women increase in muscle size and others don’t lies within our DNA.
We are predisposed to respond to exercise in a particular way, in large part because of our genetics. Our genetic makeup determines what types of muscle fibers we have and where they are distributed. It determines our ratio of testosterone to estrogen and where we store body fat. And it also determines our body type.
A Question of Body Type
All women fall under one of three body classifications, or are a combination of types. Mesomorphs tend to be muscular, endomorphs are more rounded and voluptuous and ectomorphs are slim or linear in shape. Mesomorphs respond to strength training by building muscle mass much faster than their ectomorphic counterparts, even though they may be following identical training regimens.
Endomorphs generally need to lose body fat in order to see a change in size or shape as a result of strength training. Ectomorphs are less likely to build muscle mass but will become stronger as a result of resistance training.
Building Just Your Heart Muscle
One of the fundamental principles of strength training is that if you overload a muscle, you will increase its size. With aerobic training, the overload is typically your body weight. Activities such as step training or stair climbing result in changes in the size and shape of the muscles of the lower body. Increasing the height of the step or adding power movements increases the overload.
For those concerned about building muscle, it would be better to reduce the step height or lower the impact of the movements. While this may reduce the aerobic value of the workout, it also will decrease the amount of overload on the muscles, making it less likely that you will build more muscle.
Training by the Rules
When it comes to strength training, the old rule still applies: To get stronger, work with heavier weights and perform fewer repetitions. To promote endurance, use lighter weights and complete more repetitions.
It’s encouraging to note that just like men, most women will experience a 20 to 40% increase in muscular strength after several months of resistance training.
Understanding your body type and how you might respond to exercise can help you set realistic goals and expectations. Avoid comparisons to others you see, at the gym or elsewhere, and remember that no two people are alike.
Focus on how good exercise makes you feel rather than how you would like to look. Accepting our bodies for what they are is a great way to get rid of the guilt or pressure we often feel to look a certain way.
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|Friendships seem to be front and center throughout childhood and early adulthood, but once careers get into full swing and families start to grow, female friendships often take a back seat to other priorities. Nurturing good friendships is hugely important throughout your life. Friendships are said to increase your sense of belonging, boost your happiness and improve your self-worth. Experts say they’re also great for reducing stress—and can be important for support when you cope with tough life situations such as illness or divorce.
We all know the classic girls night out (think dinner, drinks and dancing). But sometimes that night out at a loud bar doesn’t make for the best conversation or bonding experience. Instead of burning the midnight oil, swap night for a full day of friendly fun. Friends can spur you to change or avoid unhealthy habits, experts say, and many of these ideas for a girls day out incorporate a health boost! Mix and match these ideas to plan a day of bonding and adventure with a girlfriend or your whole group of pals. What could be more fun than a day of fun, fashion, food, friendship, and fitness?
Host a moviethon. Whether it’s a Gossip Girl marathon session or watching all of the Twilight movies, pick a group favorite, whip up some popcorn and enjoy relaxation and chatting. With just the cost of a few rentals and snacks, this fun-filled day is super affordable at less than $30!
Shop the thrift stores. Hit up thrift stores and consignment shops for great clothing deals and one-of-a-kind items. Browsing and playing dress up is fun at any age! Plus, it’s free to look.
Splurge on a new workout outfit. If your workout wardrobe is getting stale, go shopping with your healthy pals for new fitness wear that flatters and motivates you to move.
Hit a wine tasting. Whether you make a day of going to a winery or simply head to an upscale liquor store for a wine tasting, trying various wines is a great way for you and your friends to find new favorites. Wine tastings can range from about $5 to $20 per person, but oftentimes a tasting fee is waived if you make a purchase.
Go for manis and pedis. Ah, the classic girlie endeavor: head to a salon and get your fingernails and toenails shaped up and painted by the pros! From a simple fingernail polish change on the cheap to a full out spa pedicure, prices for services can range from $10 to $50.
Attend a yoga class. Take a yoga class (up to $20/person although your first class is usually free). Stretch, destress and bond while downward-dogging with your gal pals. Whether you’re brand new to yoga or a self-proclaimed yogini, this ancient practice turned fitness trend is something that women of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels can enjoy.
There are so many exercises out there for each body part that it can be hard to figure out which ones will give you the best results. So, we asked IFBB figure pro Felicia Romero for the best excercises to help you get stronger, leaner, and fitter.
“Curls are one of the most popular arm exercises out there, yet they are also one of the least utilized by women. To get the best definition in your arms, do curls with 20–25 pounds. Then, immediately go into triceps extensions, making sure to keep your elbows close to your head. Do three sets of 15 reps.”
“Close-grip lat pulldowns are one of the most common back exercises but they’re frequently performed incorrectly. Using an underhand grip, slowly pull the bar down to your chest, making sure to keep your body and back straight with every rep.”
“Try plié squats. Make sure to keep your legs wide and your toes pointed outward. Lower into the squat until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, and as you press up, squeeze your glutes and inner and outer thighs. To make them harder, try holding a weight between your legs. Do three sets of 20.”
“When it comes to working your core, definitely go with a three-exercise circuit. Exercise 1: Ball Crunch; hold a Bosu ball as you crunch for 25 reps. Exercise 2: Hanging Leg Raise (15 reps), and Exercise 3: Bicycles on the ground. Perform this circuit three times, resting only between each circuit.”
“Nice shoulders make you look more toned. I like the single-arm cable side lateral. Start with light weights and stand with your right side facing the machine as you grip the cable with your left hand. Good form is key. Make sure your arm stays straight— raise the cable to your left side to about shoulder height.”
|Every active woman, regardless of her breast size, should have a sports bra as a part of her fitness wardrobe. Not only do these specially designed bras offer better support and more comfort than a regular bra, they also help minimize movement during your workout. Exercising in the wrong bra can lead to more than discomfort. A number of issues, including tension in the arms and shoulders and restricted breathing, can occur if the band is too tight.
A woman’s breasts are composed primarily of adipose (fatty) tissue, mammary glands, connective tissue, and the Cooper’s ligament, which keeps the breast firm and prevents sagging. Because the underlying chest muscles do not support breast tissue, exercising in anything other than a well-fitted sports bra can stretch the Cooper’s ligament, leading to greater sagging and even pain during exercise.
Finding the right sports bra for you can be a daunting task when there are hundreds of styles from which to choose! Don’t worry—we’ve done the homework for you.
Believe it or not, just any old sports bra won’t supply the support you need to prevent sagging, stretching or pain related to exercise. One size certainly doesn’t fit all.
Studies have shown that between 70% and 80% of women are wearing the wrong size sports bra, and therefore, they may not be getting the benefits of support and comfort from their fitness wardrobe. Many department stores, including Nordstrom or Macy’s, offer free fitting services for customers. But if modesty is a concern, you can take your own measurements before leaving home. Measuring can save you lots of time and aggravation when choosing the right bra.
Below are the steps to take your own measurements.
Now that you have your size, there are a few points to consider when choosing the right sports bra for you:
Next comes style. There are three basic sports bra construction styles:
Now you probably have a good idea about the construction style that is best for you. Now comes the fun part—considering the individual features (including colors, styles and design details) of your sports bra. While fit should always trump style, here are some construction details to look for:
Finding the Right FitIt is very important to try on a sports bra before you buy it. Most experts recommend that you take a minimum of three sports bras with you when heading to the fitting room. You should bring the size you measured, along with the next size up and the next size down. Because sizes can vary between manufacturers, it is important to try on many different brands and styles in order to find the optimal fit. You know you’ve got the right size, style and fit when:
Once you’ve tried on a bra that fits your requirements, test it out in the fitting room! Do some movement drills such as jumping jacks, running in place, and raising your arms overhead to make certain the bra provides the control, support, and comfort you are looking for without rubbing you the wrong way. But remember, a good sports bra will fit more snugly than a regular bra—just not so snug that you cannot get one finger under the band and slide it easily.
Taking Care of Your Investment A high-quality sports bra can easily set you back between $25 and $70, but for most women, it’s a well-made investment. Depending on the frequency of wear and the care you give to your garments, a single sports bra can last between 6 and 12 months—maybe longer. Therefore, you will want to use extreme care when it comes to laundering your undergarments. Most experts recommend hand washing a sports bra with a mild detergent after every wear. New sports detergents, such as Penguin Sport-Wash or Win High Performance Sport Detergent are good options, too. Not only do these specially designed detergents help to eliminate embedded odors, but they also help retain the wicking properties of your sports apparel. And while it may be tempting, never place your sports bras in the dryer since the heat can break down the elastic, thereby shortening the useful life of your bra.
We’ve come a very long way since the first sports bras, created by three women who each sewed together two jock straps to give them the support they needed, made its debut in 1977! Today, the sports bra is an integral part of every woman’s workout wardrobe. While finding the right sports bra can take time, once you find one that is perfect for you, you will be amazed how much better you will feel while exercising!