Female Athletes

Female Athletes

  • Eating disorders
  • Iron deficiency
  • Bone density
  • Pregnancy

Eating Disorders

  • Irregular patterns of eating are observed in an individual.
  • Two common characterizations include:
    • Anorexia – avoiding food due to anxiety related with weight gain/losing fitness.
    • Bulimia – binge eating followed by purging in repeat.
  • Commonly seen in sports where low body fat and an ideal physique gives the athlete an edge – gymnastics, diving, ballet.

Iron Deficiency

  • Iron is crucial for oxygen transport.
  • Females lose iron during menstruation, therefore they need to intake more iron than men.
  • Iron levels should be monitored closely in athletes as a deficit could restrict them from participating aerobic-based sports.
  • To avoid deficiency, diet supplements can include meat, legumes, green leafy vegetables.

Bone Density

  • Dependent on the levels of calcium.
  • Females are at more risk of developing osteoporosis as compared to men.
  • If calcium levels decrease, bone density decreases as well, making the bones fragile.
  • Diet supplements should include calcium sources to prevent osteoporosis and increase bone strength.
  • Bone density can also be increased by light weight training and regular exercise. Contact sports are better to avoid.


  • Fitness routines are safe for pregnant athletes, however, they should not include vigorous and intense exercises.
  • During pregnancy, exercises help in maintaining cardiovascular health and overall wellbeing.
  • The intensity should further be decreased towards the 3rd trimester.
  • The athlete should stay hydrated as much as possible, avoid contact sports, and keep check on thermoregulation.