Rose George writes about women’s exercise plummeting (Pandemic knocked you off your stride? An active woman’s tips for getting fit again, 26 July). The NHS wants us to vigorously run and moderately mow the lawn,, and then also strength train twice a week. Those of us who do all the housework and all the career-aspiring thinking work and then all the childcare would like to know where this time could be retrieved from? Often, we are pointed to spin classes and 2kg dumbbells and told “you can fit in a run in the morning”.
Here’s another solution: three times a week, after you deal with the kids and before work, lift a barbell loaded with two 25kg plates (or whatever you can manage) for 30-45 minutes, and then down a protein shake. Do the same thing every week, just a wee bit heavier. Ignore the “fitfluencers” doing donkey kicks while jumping with 50kg dumbbells. It doesn’t need to be fancy. You don’t need to be bathed in sweat. You don’t need to spend an hour hating yourself on a treadmill. You don’t even need to get that tired.
I am sick to death of hearing how women should focus on cardio and leave the weight room to the men. We end up intimidated and elements of ourselves, sticking to the step class when our bones are crying out for heavy resistance. There is increasing evidence that women need resistance and strength training to stave off post-menopausal osteoporosis. It certainly doesn’t need to be an either/or situation, but if you’re short on time, consider the barbell and lift slightly heavier weights each week. Your joints, your children and your 80-year-old self will thank you.
Dr. Bernadine Jones