Looking back through books, I have to say the ladies I loved the most were the ones I could best relate to. Empowered women, or those who work for a living, those who love their pets were some of my favourites. And I certainly like a heroine who exercises.
Expecting the main lady in a historical to exercise is just simply silly. Back then, not only did women not exercise, they didn’t even study math or science–just in case it turned them into men. I even wonder if men worked out. Certainly not the way we do today, with a focus on fitness. They might have enjoyed riding or walking but not with the sole purpose of developing muscles.
But when I read a contemporary or a paranormal, I hope the lady of the book does more than waltz. I hope she can stand up for herself and not just in a literal way. I don’t want her to be ridiculously built or be a menace to people but if she can hold her own, all the better to like her.
Personally, I exercise when the mood strikes. I love my elliptical and I weight train but I don’t do it every day. Still, I like it enough that when I find a heroine that jogs, or one that lifts weights (I have never, ever read about a woman who lifted weights in a romance story but…here’s hoping), I can relate. In fact, I like her better for taking care of herself.
Strong, healthy women are truly beautiful.