What Women Actually Need in Physiotherapy with respect to Body Type & Diet

What Women Actually Need in Physiotherapy with respect to Body Type & Diet

By: Dr. Swathi (PT), Senior Consultant Physiotherapist & Certified Diet Counsellor, Motherhood Corporate | Friday, 22 April 2022

Dr. Swathi has been associated with Motherhood Corporate for over three years now, prior to which she has worked with healthcare institutions such as Cloudnine Healthcare Facility, Geeta Physiotherapy Clinic and Columbia Asia Hospitals.

I believe in one thing `Guided exercises and healthy balanced diet together can make miracles'. Women's life journey is like a roller coaster, influenced with hormones at every stage, starting from the time of puberty to reproductive age and till the menopause. With this hormonal imbalance and unhealthy lifestyle, women end-up with enormous health related issues. This can be prevented by following age appropriate diet and physical activity. Having a nutritious diet and incorporating required amount of physical activity on a daily basis can improve women's physical, emotional and mental health. This in-turn can improve the health of the family and people around her.

Women being multitaskers, managing household, profession and family life, trying to maintain balance between both, gives very less time and importance to their own self. A recent study shows that requirement for nutrition in women is more than that in men, and it has direct impact on the mood. Women who consume food which provides more energy in the form of calories, but lack in vital nutrients that are required for brain health, are known to have anxiety and depression issues.

It may be overweight or underweight issue or it can be even any underlying health condition, or time of pregnancy/lactation, women need to focus on their diet and physical health. Physiotherapist helps women with PCOS, urinary incontinence, pelvic pains, pelvic floor dysfunction, painful intercourse, antenatal & post-natal issues, and organ prolapse. Nutritious and balanced diet helps women who face health issues like PCOS, hyper or hypothyroid, blood pressure issues, osteoporosis, anaemia, and diabetic. These are known to be more common in women than in men. Diet helps women to steer to achieve prosperity in their health.

Being a physiotherapist, I know how important it is to be fit, but there was a time when I realized that exercise and diet both together will lead you to have healthy and strong life a head. Let me tell you how it works. A proper guidance with regards to what kind of exercises and what nutrients to be taken depends on several factors. One of them is body type, which I am going to spill down over here in this article.

Body Types: There are three different body types based on the body composition and bone structure and density (skeletal frame).

· Endomorphs: People with this body type gain weight easily. They have lots of muscle and body fat.

· Ectomorphs: People have little muscle and less body fat. Ectomorphs need not be overweight all the time.

· Mesomorphs: They are strong and have athletic body. Without any effort, they gain or lose weight easily.

You might have heard about pear shaped and apple shaped body. In pear shaped body, fat storage usually happens in hip and thigh area. In apple shaped bodies, fat storage will be usually in mid-section area. Lot of exercises, equipment and diet plans which are commercially sold are misleading everyone.

Diet & Exercises To Be Focused Based On Body Type

Endomorphs: With this body type, diet should be focused more on high protein and fibrous rich diet. It is recommended to consume frequent and small meals. Fibre has good satiety value and keeps you full for long-time. Consume good amount of water. Gap between two meals should not exceed more than four hours. Include unsaturated fats in your diet to fuel up your body. When it comes to physical activity part, people with this body type should focus on cardio workouts ­ be it aerobics, jogging or running. Once you feel the difference in your weight, start working-out to tone your muscle and make them strong. This can help you to shed more amount of fat from your body.

Ectomorphs: Having lean body and with less muscle mass, women need to aim at having three meals and two snacks minimum. They need to focus on calorie and nutrient rich foods like dry fruits including sunflower and pumpkin seeds, making sure not to lack on fats, where 30 percent of daily requirements of calories should come from fats. Exercises need to be focused on weight training, initially starting with less weights focusing on increasing muscle bulk. Cardio workout must be kept minimal.

Mesomorphs: Women with this body type need not focus on specific activity or diet. But they need to have healthy nutritious and balanced diet with minimum physical exercises every day or five days a week to keep diabetes, obesity and heart disease far away.

Women Nutritional Requirements Change With Age

· During childbearing age and when planning for pregnancy, folic acid plays an important role to prevent neural tube defects in growing foetus. Food sources include fortified cereals, pumpkin seeds, green leafy veggies, wheat and rice.

· During menstrual cycle and at the time of pregnancy, intake of foods rich in iron is important. Iron helps to transport oxygen to different tissues of our body. Iron-rich foods must be consumed on a daily basis. Food sources include apple, pomegranate, beetroot, meat, nuts, lentils, and green leafy vegetables.

· Iodine is important to regulate thyroid hormone, which is a major concern for women of all ages.

· Intake of calcium rich foods to maintain bone strength and muscle function should be consumed by women at all ages. Food sources include milk & milk products, green leafy veggies, ragi and chia seeds. Vitamin D is required to increase the absorption of calcium.

· Omega three fatty acids for brain health and protein to maintain muscle strength is very important as women age to hold onto their health, as they have world around them to take care.

· Exercises of 30 minutes per day five days a week will be effective. Aerobics for losing fat, weight training to increase muscle mass and high intensity workouts to tone your body should be focused.

Women's health is the health of society. So being a woman, I wish all women to be fit, healthy and happy for themselves and for people around them. Be the change and enjoy it.