Since 1998, women have continued to constitute the majority of members in fitness centers. Their slight 52-percent majority in 2001 doesn’t necessarily make women members more important than your male members, but their numbers are nothing to balk at; the number of women in fitness centers continues to rise ever so slightly year after year. What is important is that yourfemale members are ‘special’; in fact, they need to be catered to in a much different fashion than your male members.
Why, do you think, there are so many women who are fitness center members? For one thing, there is a great deal of pressure on women, even moresothan onmen, to look good. This is ironic, because it is often more difficult for women than men to look good, especially as we age. In many instances, we more easily gain weight, and we have more household pressures (oftentimes in addition to career pressures) that fill our time, such as raising children. There also seems, in many cases, to be a different standard for women than men. It seems to be OK for men as they age to have a bit of a paunch and to have grey hair; not so for women.
But I don’t believe it’s just about looking good; it’s about feeling good as we go through life’s experiences. One of those experiences is pregnancy. In this issue, Stephani Kolevar discusses the special needs of pregnant women (p.52), outlining the four goals that fitness professionals should keep in mind when working with this population, and making specific suggestions for program modifications. My how times have changed. As Kolevar points out, women were once thought to be in a ‘delicate’ stage during pregnancy.Now, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology offers its second set of exercise recommendations for pregnant women, which includes exercising normally up until the birth of the baby.
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