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For Texans Exercise Can Have Gender Differences

Oct 16, 2007
While men and women may prefer different types of fitness and exercise regimens, each gender can learn from one other. Individuals living in Austin, Dallas, Houston and elsewhere in Texas, are among those who can benefit from shared ideas.

Men and women have distinctive motivations for exercising. Typically, men work out to build muscles and become physically bigger. They challenge themselves to achieve a specific physical goal and utilize numbers to measure their progress. Combine this with the competitive nature of a workout, and it's easy to see why men are motivated to exercise.

Women, on the other hand, often exercise through a desire to look better.

Both men and women tend to overlook the health benefits of exercise, although, once they get past their initial reluctance, women tend to have a balanced approach to fitness. Indeed, workouts by women are more likely to include a mix of cardio, strength training, and mind/-body practices such as yoga or tai chi. Women are also more inclined to seek advice, whether from a personal trainer or by enrolling in group classes.

The choice of exercise varies also, with men selecting sports and athletic-based activities not requiring dance or overt coordination. Women, on the other hand, more frequently enjoy dance-based activities with toning and flexibility.

Women may also participate in group activities due to the social atmosphere. They feel more comfortable in a gym when they're with other people. While men often participate in classes such as spinning or "boot camp" workouts, women dominate other classes, especially those that touch on mind/body techniques -- the idea being that women have a more holistic approach to fitness.

Regardless of the type of fitness routine, women generally work out less than men, possibly the result of putting the care of others ahead of themselves.

Physical differences between men and women are also relevant. A good example is the difference between pelvises. Because women can tilt their pelvises more, they may perform a slightly modified squat to protect their lower backs. This might involve turning the feet outward a bit, standing with the legs slightly wider apart, and not going down so low.

Women also have less muscle than men, and therefore often use lighter weights to avoid the injuries that come from "too much, too often."

Typically, men's bodies tend to be less flexible. And women tend to have better lower body strength, while men have better upper body strength.

Despite the differences between men and women in the fitness arena, the gaps are narrowing. Women, for example, are becoming less intimidated by weight training, perhaps discovering the connection
between lean muscle and weight loss.

Men and women can learn from each other in many ways. Men are teaching women that they need not be afraid of intense workouts, a counter to a perception that women are wary of building too much muscle mass. Often, women can handle more than they think they can, and a couple of sessions with a qualified personal trainer can help set an appropriate level of exercise.

Women are teaching men that fitness can be fun, through a variety of exercise routines --among them step classes, spin classes, Pilates, and yoga. Most fitness classes offer variety without sacrificing "manliness", and various movement patterns or dance classes can increase balance, core strength, and flexibility in a fun, challenging way.
About the Author
Pat Carpenter writes for Precedent Insurance Company. Precedent puts a new spin on health insurance. Learn more at Precedent.com
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