Exercise Secrets for Women Over 40
Exercise is important at any stage of life. It is commonly known that it can help with weight control, release feel-good endorphins, lower risk of diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions, and can give you energy for a happier, more productive life. As you get older, your metabolism slows, your muscle tone diminishes, and your risk for disease goes up. All of these changes make regular exercise—especially a full body workout—even more important to good health. And with the right tips, you can make your post-40 workout the best workout of your life.
Here are some of the most important tips for the best workout post-40:
Don’t Push yourself Too Hard – How much exercise should you do per week?
The latest research1 on extreme endurance exercises, such as marathons and triathlons, show they can actually cause more risks than benefits. Long bouts of cardio can lead to inflammation, stiffening of your arteries and heart, and increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. For maximum health benefits, aim for about 150 minutes (2 hours, 30 minutes) of moderate intensity exercise per week. That equals about five 30-minute Curves Circuit sessions.
Get Moving with a Group – Group Workout > Solo Workout
What better way to foster support and camaraderie than to engage in a gym workout alongside friends your own age? Research2 shows people who exercise in a group feel better physically and mentally than those who exercise alone. Plus, working out with friends in Curves classes or the Curves Circuit will keep you accountable and motivated, and it will help challenge your body in new ways.
Fight the Pooch with Planks – Core strengthening exercises are one of the fastest ways to lose belly fat
As we get older, we become more susceptible to unwanted belly fat3. Some of it is due to our slowing metabolism, and lower levels of the hormone estrogen can also contribute. It’s important to target abdominal fat as part of a whole body workout because abdominal fat4 raises your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol. A great way to fight belly fat and strengthen your core: planks.
How to do plank exercises
To do a plank, hold your body (the trunk portion) off the ground as if you’re going to do a pushup, making sure to hold it in a straight line, with your hands directly under your shoulders. Try to hold it for at least 20 seconds to start, then move to holding as long as you can as you get stronger.
Train with a Pro – Specialized fitness training helps you learn quicker
As you get older, you need to challenge your muscles more to get results. A personal trainer can recommend the best workout to target specific areas on your body. At the same time, he or she can suggest moves that are easiest on your joints. As part of your membership at Curves, you get one-on-one time with a Curves Coach who can offer suggestions for your workout plan, as well as what to eat to lose weight.**
Make Exercise a Priority – Fitting exercise into your life
As your age goes up, your metabolism goes down, which can lead to unwanted pounds. One of the best ways to fight back against age-related weight gain is to step up your whole body workout, both in frequency and intensity. If you haven’t been exercising, start slowly to avoid injury. If you normally work out at Curves three times a week, try adding a fourth workout or try a new Curves class.
Strength Train – It improves physical and mental health
This cannot be stressed enough. As you get older, strength training equipment like the machines in the Curves Circuit will become the most important tools in your exercise routine. According to Dr. Kravitz of University of Mexico, strength training may actually help slow the aging process, helping with age-related issues such as balance and memory loss5.
You naturally lose muscle with every birthday (in fact, the average 80-year-old has half the muscle strength6 of that of a young adult), and the only way to get it back is to build it. The earlier in life you start incorporating strength training into your workout, the stronger and more toned you will look and feel.
Say Bye to Bingo Arms – Tone flabby arms
As some women age and lose muscle tone, the backs of their arms become softer and more flabby, creating an area that jiggles when they raise their arms or wave. To help tone this area, exercise on Curves equipment that targets the bicep and (especially) tricep muscles in your arms. When you’re at home, you can supplement with tricep dips, pushups, and dumbbell rows.
Stretch It Out – Prevent injuries with stretching exercises
A study published in the American Journal of Physiology7 found that people who cannot touch their toes while sitting on the floor with their legs stretched out in front of them may have stiff arteries, meaning they are at an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Plus, the more flexible you are, the less vulnerable you are to injuries that can sideline you from your fitness goal. Still not convinced? The American Council on Exercise says stretching helps improve blood flow, decrease stress, and improve your health and quality of life overall.
Remember, if you’re fit at 40 or 50, you’re much more likely to be healthy into your 70s, 80s, and 90s. It’s never too late to start exercising—now is a better time than ever to get moving for the first time or to step up your workout plan.
- Mayo Clinic
- Mayo Clinic
- Centre for Diseases Control & Prevention
- Canadian Institute of Health Research
- Clinics in Geriatric Medicine
- American Journal of Psychology