A lot of changes happen to women (and men) after 40. Staying fit becomes much harder. Maintaining muscle mass, flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular health isn’t easy as we age, but the consequences of NOT keeping our fitness are pretty awful in comparison.
Women who don’t work out as they age put themselves at risk for growing frail and getting injured more easily. After 40, the priority shouldn’t be about dropping weight or getting a beach body ready for summer. It’s about maintaining your health for as long as you can.
And if you haven’t been so great about staying fit so far, even a little effort can create a massive improvement in your health. Nature gave us bodies meant to be used to explore the world, and there are wonderful features built in that increase health if we just get out there and move more.
What Changes Can Women Expect as they Age?
Putting aside the big one, menopause, women after 40 can expect their metabolism to slow down. This means you’re burning less energy to stay alive, so even extra bits of healthy food can start pushing the scale up.
Women also face a higher risk of developing bone issues and heart problems once they cross the 40 threshold. Osteoporosis is a genuine worry because it’s a silent disease. You won’t know your bones have gotten weaker until they break, unless you get tested.
Menopause has its own barrel of fun things, among them sleep disturbances which could reduce your health and increase the risk of illness. Mood swings are also common, but thankfully, regular exercise counters both problems!
What Should I Focus on First?
Younger women work out to look good, feel great, and perhaps perform better in some sport or physical activity. As women age, a fourth thing needs to be added: maintaining the health you have and fighting the degeneration of age.
The habits of your youth get paid when you get older, both good and bad. There are three things we think women need to focus on with their exercise routines: posture, cellulite, and joint health.
Modern life often has us hunched over a desk, sitting a long time staring at phones, and spending long hours behind the wheel. These all cause poor posture. If posture doesn’t become a priority, you’ll start getting that hunched back look you see in many older women.
What’s happening is that the muscles atrophy and your body stops supporting itself. This causes neck and back pain, and sets up a vicious cycle where the pain makes you want to stay still, so you don’t exercise, which causes more pain and so on.
Correcting your posture by strengthening your upper back muscles can keep this from happening and even relieve any neck or back pain you currently have. Also, good posture makes you look younger and more confident!
The wrinkly appearance of cellulite isn’t just from fat under your skin. It’s also a sign of the health of your skin. Some of the big changes after 40 for women are changes in estrogen, collagen, elastin, and blood vessel health. All of these contribute to the appearance of cellulite.
Cellulite can be tackled with exercise that targets the muscles underneath it through strength training. Improving your muscle tone will tighten things up, but it’s not a cure-all. A good skin care routine and changing your nutrition to meet your body’s new metabolic needs are also vital for improving the appearance of cellulite on your body.
If you’re an older woman who hasn’t exercised much, beware of trying fitness routines targeted to younger women. The reason is joint health. Your joints can’t handle as much shock as a younger woman’s can, which can lead to injury if you try to push through a very active exercise routine.
The routines and exercises you choose should prevent shock to your joints but still work to strengthen the muscles around the knee and keep the joint mobile. You don’t need to bounce around like crazy to keep your fitness levels up. Just a little education from a personal trainer that focuses on older women.
Preserving joint health is one reason why swimming is so popular with older crowds. Swimming provides plenty of resistance to your muscles and has excellent cardiovascular benefits, but it has far less impact on your joints.
Weight Training is Best
If you think exercise is all about running on a boring treadmill, rejoice! After you’re 40, you don’t need that kind of stress in your life. Instead, it’s time to turn to weight lifting. That’s right! 3-5 workouts a week for 30-45 minutes with a focus on weights is the perfect routine for older women.
If you have not picked up weight training since gym classes in high school, we strongly recommend working with a trainer that understands the needs of older women and can design a program for you. They should also have a way they assess your progress, like how much more weight you can lift or the size and proportions of your body.
By sticking with a trainer, you’ll have a guide who can help you progress safely until you reach your goals. They should also have nutrition and cardio advice. Great cardio exercises for older women are walking, biking, or swimming because they’re less stressful for the joints.
Support Your Exercise with Essential Oils
If you haven’t exercised in a while, it’s natural to feel a little sore after your workout. Our Zero In Blend roller was made with this in mind, and it’s perfect for joint pain. For muscle pain, we recommend our CBD Sports Cream. Just a little dab of either will bring targeted relief to sore muscles.
We also have a cleaning spray made for gym equipment. We originally made our Namaste At Home Sanitizing Spray to clean yoga mats, but it can also clean dumbbells and gym bags to keep them sanitized and smelling great workout after workout.
Ladies, if you want to keep your health throughout your best years, now is the time to start exercising. Even if you’re already in your 60s, 70s, or even older, you can find an exercise routine for you to preserve your health.