Coffee with Candi 3/29/2019
Any woman over the age of 50 understands what I mean when I say that our bodies just “ain’t what they used to be”. Mind you, I’m not complaining. Every day is a gift and I’m grateful for all that I’ve been given.
Even so, when I look in the mirror, faithfully workout, get dressed, go about my day…I know that my body is changing.Strength training after 50 - what every woman needs to know now! Click To Tweet
What’s Fruit Got To Do With It?
First, a quick overview of why we’re even talking about this:
As we age, our metabolism slows down and in general, fat increases while muscle mass, or lean tissue, as well as bone density, decrease. Some researchers say that we lose one percent of our muscle mass, per year, after the age of 30. Do a quick calculation based on your current age and the result can be startling.
Plus, in women, a drop in estrogen levels with menopause coincides with a shift of fat from the lower portion of the body (a “pear” shape), toward the midsection (an “apple” shape). So the belly fat that we are ‘given’ makes us look more like apples. Swell.
Since muscle burns more calories than fat, if you have less muscle on your body it has implications for your overall weight and health, as well as a loss of overall strength.
Strength Training After 50
Bottom line for women over 50? We need to include strength training in our exercise routines! Even if we are limited in what we’re able to do physically, there is almost always something that will work to help maintain muscle strength.
Of course, please consult with your physician to make sure that you are able to safely perform any type of exercise routine, including working out with weights.
I started working out with weights over 20 years ago when I married my soul mate, Randy. He was into total physical fitness, and I learned from him that I wasn’t pushing myself nearly enough when working out.
He taught me how to push myself harder, that it was okay to sweat, and that there was so much more to a workout than hopping on the treadmill.
The love of my life is gone now, it’s been over three years since he passed away. But I always remember how he looked at me and said “that’s not a workout, you’re not even breaking a sweat!”. And he was right.
Now, almost 25 years later, I have modified what I do and how I do it when it comes to strength training. But I incorporate this mindset into my workouts, and don’t mind sweating. 🙂
3 Essential Tips to Remember
In general, aim for two to three workouts a week, on non-consecutive days, one set of each exercise you are doing to start and work up to two to three sets when time allows.
These tips are from Linda Melone, who is an incredible, experienced and knowledgeable expert in the area of physical fitness for women over 50.
If you’re searching for the best exercises for women over 50, visit Linda’s link above and she will set you on the right path.
PROPER RESISTANCE: Work out with a weight that makes you really work out. The goal is to work the muscle to a point where it has a reason to change. You do this by challenging it beyond it’s normal everyday exertion.
What that means is, if you are using a weight that is too light, you’ll never really build up your muscle strength.
How do you know if it is the correct weight for you? If you are on repetition 12 out of 15 and you’re working hard to complete the set, you’ve probably got the right amount of weight in your hand.
TOTAL BODY WORKOUT: Don’t just workout your ‘favorite’ muscles and ignore the rest. Be sure to include exercises for legs, glutes, core, chest, back, biceps, triceps and shoulders. Ignoring any muscle group sets you up for imbalances and possible injury.
I find that the best way to ensure a total and safe workout is to follow along with an expert, at least until I have the routine down and know it by heart.
Here is one example of a workout specifically for women over 50:
This particular strength training routine is a keeper for me; it really tested my core as I progressed through the workout!
There is a link below each exercise that will take you to a page with step by step instructions plus a video, which is very helpful to make sure your form is correct.
ENGAGE YOUR CORE in every exercise: It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you’re doing; engage your core first.
This does not mean ‘sucking in’ your stomach. Think of it this way: try to draw your bellybutton in towards your spine without holding your breath.
Keeping these muscles engaged not only works your core throughout your workout, but it also protects your spine.
These essential tips for a workout that benefits your entire body are not difficult to comprehend, but they do require commitment and determination to follow through on.
But you know what? You only have one body, and let’s face it girls, it’s getting older every day. So let’s take care of what we have, give it our best effort, and it will pay off!
What I learned about strength training for women in midlife is that I need to focus on all of my muscle groups, not just a few.
While I am diligent about my workout routine, I need to be smarter and spend time now that will benefit me going forward. After I finish my coffee…