Today is International Women’s Day, thus we are dedicating this article to all ladies out there. Of course, guys, you are more than welcome to read on to learn more about us!
The female body is physiologically very different from the male body. Here are some facts that you may or may not already know about yourself!
- Running during the time of the month, aka during our periods, can actually help to alleviate cramps. To prevent any messy leakage, use a tampon, menstrual cup, or invest in a ‘leakproof’ menstrual underwear.
- We have a higher body fat percentage than men, which makes us quite ideally suited for endurance running. While men have more strength to help them push through the distance, we are more likely to be able to finish a marathon ‘comfortably’.
- Women are found to be better at maintaining a constant pace in a long-distance race.
- Osteoporosis is most prevalent in most-menopausal women, but let not age deter us from running! Running moderately helps to maintain our bone density and thus is a good exercise that help keep this disease at bay.
- This is probably the most interesting one: pregnancy and motherhood actually improves running! Pregnancy increases blood volume, which is extremely beneficial for running. A pregnant woman’s heart is also stronger, from pumping all that extra blood.
- Lastly, this is more of a health precaution to look out for. It is estimated that at least half of female athletes have secondary amenorrhea, that is, losing our periods for six months or more consecutively. This usually happens when we do not eat enough calories to recover from our training. This energy deficit causes our body to suppress our reproductive system. Although it might seem like a blessing to stop menstruating (nobody likes periods, right?), especially for active women, but amenorrhea can lead to many health problems, such as osteopenia, stress fractures, lowered immunity, lowered thyroid function, increased ‘bad’ cholesterol, and the list goes on.
After knowing more about ourselves, here are some tips to run the best we can:
- Safety first – Try not to run alone at night. Although Singapore is generally quite safe, we should not take our safety for granted. Try to find a running group to run with (like Running Department of course!) or run with a friend. If you have to run on your own at night, stay within brightly lit areas like the park connectors, or run indoors at the gym. Also, have your mobile phones with you in case of emergencies.
- When running during that time of the month, increase your calcium and iron intake to aid in the recovery of your bones and tissues.
- Women have different running strides due to our wider hips, better flexibility, narrower feet and other differences in our bodies. Hence, it is worth investing in women-specific running shoes. Other women-specific gear worth investing in are: sports sunglasses (UV protection is important) and running apparel which suit our shape more.
- Join races which are specially organized for women. Trust me, the entire vibe and atmosphere is so different, and it is also less intimidating for beginner runners.
I hope you have learnt something from this article, and Happy International Women’s Day to all the female warriors out there!