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Nutrition & Fitness Newsletter

Women and Exercise

image hand weight This is the month of mother's day and a good time to consider the historical significance of women and exercise.  In the past, women were considered too delicate to exercise and how it was unladylike to sweat.  Listening to a recent NPR article, exposed how women were discouraged from running for fear that their uterus would fall out.  Additionally, women were banned from the Boston marathon and allowed to participate only as recent as 1972.  In the late 1960's the Jazzercise exercise program started for women under the false pretense, to shape their bodies like dancers.  Then in the 1980's came Jane Fonda's workout videos, facilitating the convenience of exercise at home and aspirations for the Jane Fonda body.  We've come a long way baby!  But have we?!  In the perfect world, fitness should be all inclusive and accessible to all women.  Women should feel comfortable enough to exercise outside or in a gym/studio without feeling subject to ridicule, harassment or danger.  Unfortunately that is the reality of exercise for many women.  This article is not meant to fix all the barriers to exercise but to hopefully provide a bridge to improve access to the experience and set appropriate expectations.

  • Honesty and Reality — Think about your goals for exercise or starting fitness program.  For many women this begins with dissatisfaction of body image.  Take into account the many benefits to exercise besides reaching a specific weight or reshaping the body.  Having a narrow goal that may difficult or impossible to reach can lead to feeling like a failure and quitting.  In the long-run this is not conducive to sustaining a program.  But don't let this discourage you, start small, set realistic expectations and celebrate the successes, however small they may seem.  This all adds up to greater gains in fitness.

  • All the Amazing Benefits — Besides improved cardiovascular endurance, reduction of fat and increased muscle, exercise improves other physical capabilities including balance, strength and mobility.  Moreover, improving risk factors for chronic disease such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia, to name a few.  Additionally, the non-physical are the mental health benefits - a sense of accomplishment, improved mood, confidence and self-esteem.  Focus on these functional benefits and take notice of them as you progress in your program.

  • Safe & Supportive Environment — While planning a program consider what are the barriers.   Will it be a safe and supportive environment?  If going to a gym feels intimidating, most likely you won't go regularly.  A small studio with group classes may be more comfortable or finding one-on-one support may be an alternative.  When searching for a facility, ask for a tour or take time to observe a class.  Would you feel comfortable exercising with these participants or in this environment?  If your preference is outdoor exercise consider a hiking or walking program, find a safe park or walking trail that is well traveled or enlist in a walking/hiking partner.  Decide what type of exercise(s) or class you'd like to participate in.  Now consider the "when", schedule an appointment for the days and times to exercise.  That way there's less of an excuse for a missing a day.  Remember that it takes time and experimentation to find the right program for you.  The best one is the one that you can stick with.

  • Find Balance — Find a variety of activities to in order to prevent overtraining or boredom.  Mix up cardiovascular exercise with at least 2 days per week of strength training to support healthy bones.  Consider that a leisurely walk, meditative yoga session and rest days are an important part of a fitness program.  A few signs of excessive training are inability to perform at the same level, fatigue, injury, mood swings or increases in resting heart rate.  Give yourself time to recover, this is an important part of an exercise program.

  • Seek Professional Help — Reasons to hire a certified personal trainer: 1) You're struggling with starting and sustaining a program, 2) You're recovering from an injury or re-injuring yourself, 3) Stagnating in your current program or not seeing results or improvements.  Other considerations if exercising to excess - struggling with body image issues and/or finding it difficult to moderate your program, professional counseling may be needed.  Consider working with a nutritionist, if underweight, having rapid weight loss or inability to improve performance.  They can help you reach a healthy weight and properly fuel an exercise program.  Exercise and nutrition support is the optimal combination for success in reaching health and fitness goals.  


Genetically Modified now Bioengineered

Starting in January 2022, GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) food will not longer be labeled as "genetically engineered", "GE" or "GMO".  Instead this type food will be labeled "bioengineered", have a phone number to call or QR code to link in order to determine it's origins.  Unfortunately, it seems to take more time and effort to make informed food choices these days.

Sheri is a Certified Nutritionist with a master's degree in nutrition, with over 20 years of clinical counseling experience, an ACE-certified Personal Trainer with advanced certifications in medical exercise, functional fitness, senior fitness and health coaching.  All nutrition consultations include exercise guidance, dietary analysis and meal plans to meet your individual lifestyle, calorie and nutritional needs.

Free introductory 15-minute appointments are also available.

To schedule an appointment with Sheri Mar, email:  or call:  206.789.6440

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