A new life begins at 40 - Exercise for women over 40
If you’ve never exercised in your life, you might think it’s not for you but the old saying ‘life begins at 40’ contains a lot of truth - your body has the ability to learn and evolve permanently.
Among the benefits of engaging with a more active lifestyle, regardless of your age, is that you’ll gain energy, feel healthier and reduce the risk of many health conditions related to a sedentary lifestyle.
It’s completely normal for women in their 40s to experience hormonal fluctuations - including a decrease in oestrogen production, leading to a decrease in muscle mass and in bone density and a slowing of the metabolism. So if you don’t adjust your diet or start exercising, it can lead to weight gain.
It’s estimated that the Basic Metabolic Rate decreases by 5% each decade. This means that at 40, the amount of calories you’ll need per day will be reduced by about 100 or more. If you don’t compensate or adjust for this, it could mean a weight increase of four or five kilos by the end of the year.
But weight doesn’t have to be the only motivation...
Whatever motivates you to start a more active everyday life, you’ll see the benefits in your youthfulness, energy, beauty and wellbeing. If you’re feeling sluggish, lacking energy and constantly tired, getting active could be all you need to feel better in a completely natural and healthy way.
How to begin an active lifestyle:
1. Find something you like
If you think you don’t really like to exercise, avoid performance-focussed activities such as outdoor obstacle courses or a Warrior class. Instead, look for the fun in a Zumba class or relax in a Pilates session.
Learn what’s on offer at your club and you should find something that takes your fancy. Try lots of different activities, work out what you’d like to do on a regular basis and make your exercise time a more pleasurable experience.
2. Reward yourself
If you have pushed yourself to run for 30 minutes on the treadmill, or you’ve finished a demanding class, it’s time to allow your body and mind some well-deserved relaxation.
Indulge in the sauna or Turkish bath for a few minutes before getting in the shower. After a workout, your body will naturally self-reward with the release of dopamine, an organic chemical that facilitates feelings of pleasure and happiness.
3. Bring a friend
Exercising with someone guarantees more motivation and ensures you’re having a good time, sharing a meaningful experience with someone you like to be with.
So schedule your training or class with a girlfriend, your partner, or both. Another great way to keep motivation and goals on track is to find a personal trainer to guide and support you in your training.
If you’re already active...
Keeping up your routine is a great way to make sure you stay healthy and keep
your energy and balance on track.
Certain exercises can be beneficial if you can add them to your gym circuit or classes. Water and pool activities, having lower injury risk, offer adjustable intensity and resistance, so they’re a great addition to your training.
Muscle mass tends to diminish with age, so strength training becomes more relevant. A balance between cardio and strength three times a week should prove to be just what you need to be 20 years young (+20 years of experience).