‘Women of the Workforce’ discuss fitness

By Rachel Hill - ReminderNews
Glastonbury - posted Wed., Jan. 9, 2013
Healthtrax Fitness Center Director Barbara Traverso discusses the benefits of exercise in a ‘Women of the Workforce’ meeting held Jan. 9. Photo by Rachel Hill.
Healthtrax Fitness Center Director Barbara Traverso discusses the benefits of exercise in a ‘Women of the Workforce’ meeting held Jan. 9. Photo by Rachel Hill.

The Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce’s “Women of the Workforce” began in 2007 with the goal of bringing balance to the professional woman’s life. WOW meetings are held on a monthly basis, with topics ranging from networking and nutrition to public speaking, blogging and women’s health. This month’s meeting, held on Jan. 9, featured a presentation from Healthtrax Fitness Center Director Barbara Traverso, called “Foundations of Fitness to Stay Strong.”

Most people have an understanding of the benefits of exercise, such as improving appearance, reducing stress and feeling better all around, but it’s often finding the time to incorporate fitness into busy lives that gets people talking. How do you strike a balance?

Traverso, a speaker with almost 35 years in the fitness industry, began the WOW meeting with a look at those benefits to exercise and also the components of fitness - muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, body composition and nutrition. WOW members were asked to rank the components in terms of personal importance, and many were surprised to see that the scale was tipped in favor of muscular strength. Lots of women were interested in gaining more strength, as well as endurance.

Muscular strength was described as moving an object one time, while muscular endurance is a repeated motion, explained Traverso. “There’s no magic bullet,” she said. “The real formula is to choose the single best exercise that you enjoy.” That way, you know you’re going to stick with it. A synergy of strength training, cardio and nutrition is the way to go, said Traverso.

Traverso also asked some interesting questions of the group - what is it that gets in the way of working out? Answers came back in a rush, with work, kids, errands and fatigue topping the list. Also, simply not making it a priority was a problem that Traverso and WOW members discussed.

One member shared a story of how she took up running and was able to involve her son in this fitness ritual, thereby making it a routine they could do together. “This was a wonderful bonus,” she said.

Traverso acknowledged that making even small changes to incorporate fitness into the lives of women can be a struggle, but encouraged members, saying, “You don’t have to attempt to make too many changes all at once. Identify your single worst eating habit and try to commit to 15 minutes of exercise a few times a week. Make a small change, then another. It’s all about choices and healthy options. You need to make it work in your lives, and it’s never too late to start.”

Women of the Workforce member Li Meng Summers said that there is a lot of truth to Traverso’s presentation. Work demands you to sit at a desk a lot of the time and you don’t take time to exercise. “I’ve been walking the dog and finding that I’ve seen improvement even with this small activity,” Summers said.

In terms of the WOW group, Summers added, “This is a good opportunity for self-development. You get to know people at the meetings. We all have something in common. There are a lot of talented women here who have great aspirations, and they are an inspiration.”

Next month’s Women of the Workforce topic is “Escaping the Busy Trap.”

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