- 40 Tips For Women Who Want to Lose Weight After 40
- Start Weight Training
- Keep a Journal
- Take a Daily Walk
- Up Your Omega-3s
- Turn Up the Fiber
- Skip the Sweeteners
- Add in a Leg Day
- Take a Swim
- Stick to a Schedule
- Sip Some Green Tea
- Close the Kitchen
- Boost Your Calcium Intake
- Opt For Organic Foods
- Make Whole Grains a Priority
- Drink More Water
- Snack on Some Almonds
- Pile on the Protein
- Opt For Red Wine
- Cut the Cocktails
- Add Some Flax to Your Meals
- Increase the Intensity of Your Workouts
- Snack on Some Citrus
- Get Eight Hours a Night
- Calculate Your Metabolic Rate
- Switch Up Your Fragrance
- Buddy Up
- Keep Your Hands Busy
- Skip the Salty Snacks
- Turn Off the TV
- Get Some Sun
- Add Yoga to Your Routine
- Get a Thyroid Check
- Manage Your Mental Health
- Don’t Eat Like a Kid
- Cool Off
- Get Some Digital Support
- Indulge Those Carb Cravings
- Feed Your Gut
- Spice Up Your Sex Life
- Adjust Your Expectations
- Exercises to Avoid if You’re Over 40
- 1. Crunches
- 2. Intense cardio
- 3. Squats
- 4. Leg extensions
- 5. Deadlifts
- 6. Triceps dips
- 7. Behind the neck lat pulldowns
- Exercise after age 70
- Next Avenue Editors Also Recommend:
- Staying Fit as You Age
- Best Exercises for Women Over 50
- Benefits of Exercise for Women Over 50
- Types of Exercises
- How Much Exercise to Get
- Getting the All-Clear to Exercise
- Strength Training for 50-Year-Old Women
- 3 Strength Training Exercises You Can Try at Home
- Yoga for Women Over 50
- Yoga Options
- Beginner Exercise Programs for 50-Year-Old Women
- Get out and Explore While You Exercise
- Swimming for Women Over 50
- Looking for Exercise Programs for Women Over 50? Your Local Y Is a Great Resource
- Senior Insurance Blog
- Losing Weight After 60 Is Hard – Here Are 9 Ways to Drop the Pounds
- Why Is It So Hard to Lose Weight After 60?
- 9 Realistic Ways to Lose the Weight After 60
- 1. Strength Training
- 2. Keep Carbs and Sugars Low
- 3. Drink Half Your Body Weight In Ounces of Water
- 4. Consider Adding Magnesium to Your Diet
- 5. Get Some Sun
- 6. Manage Stress With Yoga
- 7. Get Quality Sleep
- 8. Consider Meal Prepping
- 9. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
- Can exercise age you?
40 Tips For Women Who Want to Lose Weight After 40
When we’re in our teens and twenties, losing weight is often as simple as turning down that extra scoop of ice cream or adding some occasional exercise to our routines. However, as our age increases, our metabolic rate has a tendency to plummet, turning what used to be an effective diet and exercise plan into a recipe for serious weight gain.
For women, in particular, hormonal changes after age 40, including menopause, can make it harder to lose weight and keep it off. However, just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to buying a bigger wardrobe every year. Weight loss after 40—and weight loss for women over 40, especially—is possible. Better yet, it doesn’t have to be a struggle.
So when it comes to losing weight at 40, follow our tips to get the body you’ve always wanted, no matter what your age, and reading up on the best supplements for people over 40 can even expedite the process.
Start Weight Training
A little muscle goes a long way when it comes to your weight and health. Women generally have less natural muscle mass than their male counterparts, and aging can spur the depletion of what little muscle tissue you have, sometimes by as much as 5 percent in a 10-year period after age 30. Fortunately, building some muscle with a light weight-training routine can kill two birds with one stone: you’ll burn some calories doing the exercises, and research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology reveals that, even though weight loss is often associated with a slower metabolism, women who added resistance training to their routine actually maintained their resting metabolic rate.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal is great for preserving more than just memories; it’s an amazing tool for maintaining your weight loss, too. As we get older, our memories tend to become a bit less sharp than they were in our younger years, making it easy to forget those little bites of dessert we took, and making it even easier for them to show up as unwanted pounds on the scale. Fortunately, a study from Kaiser Permanente’s Center For Health Research reveals that individuals who consistently tracked their eating habits enjoyed a nearly 50 percent greater weight loss than those who skipped the journaling.
Take a Daily Walk
Adding a daily walk to your routine means you’ve taken the first step toward achieving a healthier weight. Middle-aged and senior women have an increased risk of hip fracture, but staying active can help you burn more calories and lower your chances of suffering an injury. Research suggests that regular exercise can reduce a person’s risk of osteoporosis, and shaving off those extra pounds means you’re putting less strain on your joints, making it easier to prevent a fall that can keep you sidelined.
Up Your Omega-3s
Want to see those numbers on the scale get smaller? Try adding some fish to your meal plan. Research published in Obesity Reviews reveals that adding some omega-3s to subjects’ diet helped them lose more weight, keep it off longer, and limit those nagging hunger pangs. For women over 40, omega-3-rich fish, like salmon and tuna, are a particularly good choice; a study published in the journal Menopause suggests that adding them to your diet may reduce your risk of hot flashes, too.
Turn Up the Fiber
Hormonal changes in middle age can wreak havoc on our weight and our waistlines, but boosting the amount of fiber in your diet can help. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reveals that increasing fiber intake helped participants shave off 4.6 pounds over an 8-week period and maintain that weight loss over the course of a year. Even better, dialing up the fiber in your meals can help combat the bloated belly and sluggish digestion that often accompany hormonal changes, like menopause. Don’t know where to find the fiber you seek? Start with the best high-fiber foods!
Skip the Sweeteners
Kick off your weight loss today by skipping the artificial sweeteners. Researchers at Yale University have found a link between artificial sweetener consumption and an increased risk of obesity and excess belly fat, but nixing them from your diet could help you get rid of those unwanted pounds. Skipping the sweeteners may have another benefit for women of a certain age, too: many women find that artificial sweeteners can trigger hot flashes, so cutting them from your diet can help you keep your cool.
Add in a Leg Day
Adding a leg day to your workouts can help you tone up your lower half and make it easier to shave off unwanted weight. Not only will increasing your muscle tone help you burn more calories, research conducted at Chungnam National University suggests that individuals with more muscle tone in their lower bodies have a lower risk of falls and fractures that may keep them from getting adequate exercise for months, if not years. A study published in Gerontology also suggests that strong legs are a good indicator of the strength of another important muscle: your brain.
Take a Swim
Hitting the pool is a great way to get your body into the best shape of your life, no matter what your age. A 155-pound woman can expect to burn nearly 500 calories an hour swimming at a relatively leisurely pace, adding another 200 calories to that number by doing some faster laps. For women over 40, low-impact exercises, like swimming, are particularly beneficial, thanks to the limited wear-and-tear they cause on joints, making it less likely an overuse injury will keep you benched.
Stick to a Schedule
Keeping a regular eating schedule could be the key to ditching those extra pounds after 40. Researchers at Hebrew University found that feeding mice high-fat foods on a regular schedule kept them leaner than when they were fed the same foods on a sporadic basis. Sticking to a consistent eating schedule can also help you fend off the hunger pangs that can prompt cravings for high-fat or sugary foods, which often get worse around menopause.
Sip Some Green Tea
A little green tea in your cup could yield a lot of weight loss. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition reveals that adding green tea to subjects’ meal plans increased their fat-burning ability by a whopping 12 percent over the course of 12 months. Even better, green tea’s combination of antioxidants and caffeine can give you the boost you need to fend off those energy lulls that often accompany middle age.
Close the Kitchen
Closing up the kitchen for the night makes it easier to shed those unwanted pounds, no matter what your age. Research published in Cell Metabolism reveals that mice who spent 16 hours a day fasting and the other eight hours eating high-fat food remained relatively lean, while those who ate the same number of calories and the same amount of fat over the course of the day significantly increased their risk of obesity.
Boost Your Calcium Intake
Want to maximize your fat-burning potential after 40? Start by making sure you’re getting plenty of calcium in your diet. The results of a study conducted at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville reveal that obese women who consumed more calcium (via three servings of yogurt) lost 11 pounds of body fat in over a 12-month period. Even better, increasing your calcium intake can help increase the strength of your bones, reducing your risk of a fall or fracture.
Opt For Organic Foods
Eager to shave off a few pounds after your 40th birthday? Start by opting for organic produce instead of the conventionally-grown stuff. A review in Interdisciplinary Toxicology summarized that organochlorine pesticides can alter the levels of thyroid hormone in the human bloodstream, potentially increasing weight gain and causing thyroid health issues. Considering that older women are already at an increased risk for thyroid problems, like hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, it’s a good idea to go organic ASAP.
Make Whole Grains a Priority
There’s no time like the present to ditch those refined carbs and opt for whole grains instead. Whole grains are higher in fiber than their refined counterparts, which will not only help you stay full for longer, but can also be an effective means of battling the belly-bloating effects of menopause.
Drink More Water
What you drink is just as important as what you’re eating when it comes to weight loss. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics reveals that well-hydrated people ate up to 206 fewer calories each day than those who skimped on the H2O. And by “well-hydrated,” we mean increasing water intake by just 3 cups a day! For middle-aged women, staying hydrated can have particularly profound effects; drinking ice water is a recommended solution for battling the hot flashes that often accompany menopause. For more ways to hydrate and shed those unwanted pounds, add the best teas for weight loss to your lineup.
Snack on Some Almonds
Trading in your usual snack for some almonds can help you shed weight and improve your health. Loaded with fiber and protein, almonds can help keep you feeling full for longer, and may even help you slash the stress that can lead to weight gain. Research published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine also reveals that adding magnesium-rich foods, like almonds, to your diet can help reduce anxiety, lowering cortisol levels and decreasing your body’s tendency to store belly fat.
Pile on the Protein
Want to slim down over 40? Try increasing your protein intake. Research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association suggests that low-protein diets prompted greater lean muscle loss in postmenopausal women, potentially slowing their metabolisms along the way. If you’re not a big fan of meat, try adding some extra beans, nuts, or whole grains, like quinoa, to your menu.
Opt For Red Wine
If you drink, try opting for red wine instead of white and you might just find yourself a few pounds —and inches— smaller in no time. Red wine is a good source of resveratrol, which has been deemed effective at reducing belly fat and improving memory retention in the aging brain. Even better, a 2014 study published in the Journal of Translational Medicine reveals that resveratrol supplementation was effective at improving hormonal issues in overweight postmenopausal women, potentially bolstering your weight loss efforts.
Cut the Cocktails
Say so long to those sugary happy hour drinks. A single flavored martini or blended drink can pack upwards of 600 calories per 8-ounce pour, and many menopausal women find that the blood vessel dilation that occurs with alcohol consumption can make hot flashes worse. If you do choose to drink, make sure you check out the tips for choosing healthy alcoholic drinks first.
Add Some Flax to Your Meals
Boost your fiber intake and slim down by mixing some flaxseed into your favorite food. Flax is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation and promote weight loss, and they may even help you fend off another sign of aging, too: the dreaded wrinkle. Flaxseed is loaded with alpha-linolenic acid, which researchers at Winnipeg St. Boniface General Hospital and Cuba’s VI Lenin University Hospital have linked to improvements in weight and cardiovascular status among study subjects. The omega-3s in flax have also been shown to trigger improvements in the texture and hydration of skin, fighting wrinkles in the process.
Increase the Intensity of Your Workouts
Losing weight as you age isn’t always about how much time you’re spending at the gym, but what you’re doing while you’re there. If you’re frustrated with your rate of weight loss, try adding some high-intensity interval training to your routine; a review of research published in the Journal of Obesity reveals that it’s a more effective means of improving overall fitness, increasing lean muscle, and improving insulin sensitivity than traditional aerobic exercise.
Snack on Some Citrus
Easier weight loss over 40 could be as easy as peeling an orange. The results of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry & Nutrition reveal that citrus polyphenols can help undo some of the damage caused by a high-fat diet, helping you ditch those extra pounds in no time. Better yet, research published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science reveals that the vitamin C found in citrus fruit can help boost your collagen production, helping you fight wrinkles, too.
Get Eight Hours a Night
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and also a surprisingly effective means of slimming down. The results of the Nurses’ Health Study reveal that, among a group of 60,000 women studied for 16 years, those who got 5 hours of sleep or less at night increased their risk of becoming obese by 15 percent. Getting adequate rest can also reduce your risk of dementia, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Luckily, you’ll be heading off to the Land of Nod in no time once you learn the ways to improve your sleep quality!
Calculate Your Metabolic Rate
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, the best way to figure out how much you should be eating or scaling back is to calculate your metabolic rate. Fortunately, using the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation, it’s easy to figure out how many calories you’re actually burning, and even better, it’s adjustable for your age, so, unlike cookie-cutter diet plans, you can use it year after year and continue enjoying results.
Switch Up Your Fragrance
It’s time to sniff your way slim. Switching up your fragrance can do more than make you smell delicious, it can also help you shed those extra pounds as you age. The results of a study published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgery reveal that sniffing scents like apple and mint increased weight loss among study subjects, so seek out fragranced products, like tea tree shampoo or apple-inflected perfume, for maximum effect.
Hitting the gym with a pal will not only keep you accountable, it may help you lose weight faster, too. Researchers at the Society of Behavioral Medicine have found that bringing a buddy along when you hit the gym boosts calorie burn and can help you increase the duration of your workouts.
Keep Your Hands Busy
They say that idle hands are the devil’s playthings, and that’s certainly true when it comes to weight loss. Keeping your hands busy with activities like knitting, origami, or even those dreaded fidget spinners, can help you from reaching for the closest fatty or sugary snack. Research also suggests that using your hands to fidget throughout the day can burn upwards of 800 calories, making it easier to slim down in an expeditious manner.
Skip the Salty Snacks
Skipping those salty snacks will put you on track for more weight loss in a hurry, no matter what your age. Research conducted at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine reveals that, contrary to popular belief, salt tends to make people hungry, not thirsty. Two groups on simulated missions to Mars were examined over the course of 105 and 205 days, respectively, with one group receiving saltier foods during the final weeks of their mock voyage. Researchers discovered that those given saltier foods actually drank less water than those on a low-salt diet, but complained of hunger more often. However, as expected, the saltier food did increase study participants’ water retention, meaning it can exacerbate the water retention and bloating issues associated with menopause, too. Salt isn’t the only habit making you heavy; the worst breakfast habits for weight loss could have you packing on the pounds with every passing year.
Turn Off the TV
Sure, we’re in the golden age of television, but one of the easiest ways to increase your over-40 weight loss is by turning off the TV (as much as it may break your heart to miss the latest GoT). A review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that people who snacked while watching TV ate 10 percent more per sitting than those who focused on their food. Even more depressing, research published in the Journal of Consumer Research indicates that seeing beauty advertisements can trigger feelings of inadequacy in women, which can often lead to emotional eating.
Get Some Sun
While sun-worshipping can have you looking more leather bag than human, a little-controlled exposure to UV rays can yield some serious benefits for your weight. According to research conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, overweight women between 50 and 75 who had adequate vitamin D levels shed more weight and more body fat than those whose levels remained low. A study in Psychopharmacology also reveals that subjects with depression who popped a vitamin D supplement experienced improvements in their mood in just five days, so don’t be afraid to let the sunshine in.
Add Yoga to Your Routine
Tired of your usual workout? Try adding some yoga to your lineup and you might just find those pounds melting off easier than you ever thought possible. A 160-pound woman can expect to burn approximately 477 calories per hour of hot yoga; if you’re up for power yoga, that number jumps to 594. Fortunately, yoga is also low-impact and great for improving muscle tone, reducing stress on your joints and providing support for your bones that may reduce your risk of osteoporosis-related fractures.
Get a Thyroid Check
If you’re having trouble losing weight after your 40th, it’s time to ask your doctor about a thyroid screening. Women are more likely to develop thyroid health issues than their male counterparts, which can lead to symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, and depression. Fortunately, for many people, the problem can be fixed with medication and dietary modification, getting you back on track to the body you want in no time.
Manage Your Mental Health
Not everyone relishes the idea of getting older, but if you’re experiencing serious blues you just can’t shake, you could be putting yourself at risk for pounds you can’t shake, either. Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine reveals a link between depression and severe obesity, particularly among women, but found that weight loss improved mental health outcomes, potentially breaking you out of this vicious cycle for good. Start on the path toward a happier you today by kicking the foods that put you in a bad mood off your menu.
Don’t Eat Like a Kid
Spending time with your children or grandkids can be fun and may even lower your risk of dementia. However, all that time spent in the land of chicken nuggets and pizza might have you packing on the pounds before you know it. Many busy caregivers find themselves mindlessly eating the leftovers from their little ones, adding hundreds of calories to their daily total. Just because you’re 40 doesn’t mean you should feel old, but it also means you can’t eat like a kid anymore.
If hot flashes are causing you to heat up, lower your thermostat and you may lower your weight, too. Research suggests that sleeping in a 66-degree room can increase the amount of healthy, brown fat on your body, boosting your metabolism and helping you shave off those unwanted pounds.
Get Some Digital Support
Our obligations to our families, jobs, and community tend to increase along with our age, making it harder to find time to attend in-person weight loss groups. Luckily, research published in the International Journal of Medical Informatics suggests that online social support can encourage weight loss every bit as much as in-person meetings, making it easier to shed the pounds, even if factors like your schedule or mobility issues are making it hard to leave the house.
Indulge Those Carb Cravings
If you’re cutting carbs or limiting your whole grain intake to a single slice of toast in the morning, you could be doing yourself a disservice when it comes to weight loss. Research conducted on members of the Israeli police force found that eating carbs in the evening actually increased weight loss and body fat loss, and consuming whole grains throughout the day can help you fight the bloating and sluggish digestion that often become an issue around menopause. Make healthy carbs a staple in your home by adding the best overnight oats recipes to your routine.
Feed Your Gut
Getting your gut health in order is a good idea no matter what your age, but after 40, it’s essential. Improving your digestive regularity with prebiotic fiber-rich foods, like asparagus and leafy greens, may help reduce your risk of colon cancer, and can even help regulate the hormonal challenges that come along with menopause. Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine have also found fiber effective at reducing estrogen concentrations in the bloodstream, helping you avoid the hot flashes and mood swings that can hit around mid-life.
Spice Up Your Sex Life
A little action between the sheets can mean a lot less weight on the scale. Not only is sex a great stress reliever, helping to lower the amount of belly fat-storage hormone cortisol in your bloodstream, but the results of a study published in Breast Cancer Research suggest that even moderate weight loss can help postmenopausal woman achieve a more favorable hormonal balance, making it easier to get in the mood. Fortunately, kicking the foods that kill your sex drive off your menu will have your libido soaring in no time.
Adjust Your Expectations
While weight loss after 40 is absolutely possible, keeping your expectations about how fast you’ll shed those pounds in check can help you stay on track in the long run. Managing your expectations about your weight loss can help keep you from getting discouraged if you’re not slimming down as fast as you had hoped, making it easier to stick to your plan and recover from those little hiccups that could otherwise send you face-first into the next brownie sundae you see.
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Exercises to Avoid if You’re Over 40
- Posted on August 4, 2017
- by Staff
- in Health Tips & News
- Comments Off on Exercises to Avoid if You’re Over 40
Originally published on multibriefs.com
We’re not saying avoid exercise altogether, in fact, you should absolutely exercise as you get older. It’s just important to respect your body and understand that it’s not the same as it was 20 years ago.
Even if you’ve been active and a frequent exerciser most of your adult life, your workout should reflect your age as well as your experience. If you’re in your 40s, you shouldn’t be doing the exact same routines you did in your 20s.
Nagging injuries can prevent you from executing proper form, and your body is more susceptible to problems associated with age. Here is a look at seven exercises people over 40 should avoid.
Ab-targeted exercises alone won’t shave off belly fat. A well-rounded workout combined with a healthy diet will help you lose weight overall. Even if you do 1,000 crunches a day, you can’t get rid of that spare tire without working your entire body. Ab exercises are good for toning muscles that are already trim and lacking fat.
When you’re middle aged, crunches, situps and other ab exercises can cause spinal problems. In extreme cases, you can sustain a spinal fracture. Crunches can also strain your neck and cause poor posture. Unless you keep your back 100 percent straight when doing crunches, you can injure yourself.
As a substitute, try planks instead.
2. Intense cardio
Women in particular love cardio, but it can be strenuous on a middle-aged person who is not used to extreme exercise. If your body is working too hard under stress, it produces the hormone cortisol, which will actually make you gain weight. That’s the exact opposite of what you want to achieve!
Cardio includes jumping jacks. While they are an excellent full-body exercise, they can also be tough on your ligaments. High knees are also strenuous for the joints, tendons and ligaments. They can hurt the knees and hip flexors.
In moderation, cardio is great for your cardiovascular system. But if you’re over 40 and frequently engage in intense cardio routines, it can be difficult on your muscles.
So, skip the 60-minute boot camp class and opt for a shorter, high-intensity workout instead.
Squats are one of the most basic and effective exercises for the legs and glutes. However, older bodies are more susceptible to injury, particularly if weights are involved. If done incorrectly, squats can cause lower back and knee injuries due to muscle strains, tears and pulls.
In addition, squats may add muscle to your hips, making them appear wider. Many people will mistake the added bulk for fat gain when it’s actually muscle gain. It’s one area that people usually want to slim down, not emphasize. And because your body’s metabolism slows down after age 40, this is one spot you probably want to keep trim.
Good alternatives to squats are lunges and step-ups.
4. Leg extensions
Leg extensions can be taxing on your knees, particularly as you age. And if heavy weights are involved, it can cause big problems.
Your knees are not built to fully extend while pushing out a heavy set of weights. Knee and ankle injuries are a common problem associated with the use of a leg extension machine. Even younger people should avoid the equipment because it could cause knee problems in the future.
Try dumbbell lunges instead.
If done improperly, deadlifts can be damaging to your back. At the very least, you’ll complain of lower back pain for a few days. At worst, you can suffer a spinal injury. In addition, if you drop the weights while doing a deadlift, you can severely injure your foot.
When you age, it becomes more difficult to maintain proper form because you may have other injuries and try to compensate for the problem.
Bent-over rows are a good substitute for deadlifts as long as you use proper form.
6. Triceps dips
One area that people often target is their triceps. Nobody likes their arms to jiggle. However, if you don’t position your arms properly when doing this floor exercise, it can be painful and cause injury. Your upper arms and rotator cuffs include tiny muscles that can be easily damaged.
As an alternative, try triceps push-ups or single-arm triceps kickbacks.
7. Behind the neck lat pulldowns
This is a slightly awkward exercise when just using a little amount of weight, so when you start piling on the pounds it puts increasing pressure on your shoulders and rotator cuffs. Some people who perform this exercise sustain shoulder strains and tears.
Close-grip pulldowns in front of the body are a good substitute.
Exercise after age 70
Updated: May 14, 2019Published: May, 2007
There are no official fitness guidelines for older adults, but the basic exercises for senior are the same at every age.
The average 65-year-old can expect to reach her 85th birthday, and the average 75-year-old will live to age 87. How we’ll celebrate those birthdays — as the life of the party or immobilized on the sidelines — has a lot to do with how we spend our time today. Although none of us can be certain that we’ll be spared debilitating disorders that could rob us of our mobility, there’s no doubt that regular exercise will help improve our ability to function at almost any age or level of fitness.
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(This story was originally published on Next Tribe.)
Sometime in my early 50s, I went from being an only slightly out-of-shape 10K runner to being a person I barely recognized in the mirror. My body was big and round and soft in places it had never been, and anything that could sag did. Even sitting in a chair or lying on the couch, two activities I was doing more than ever before, reminded me that I was tired, in a deep and abiding way. And yet, each night as I put my head on the pillow, insomnia stole every possibility of getting the rest my aging body seemed to need. I couldn’t decide what depressed me more — the idea that I’d gained 20 pounds or the sense that this physical decline was out of my control.
Everyone my age seemed to be experiencing the same changes, and our older female friends just shook their heads and quietly muttered the word “menopause.” All I could see was a future of getting larger and lazier and less healthy. Even in the face of that grim image, part of my lethargy was an apathy that urged me off the sofa only for ice cream or a second helping of pasta.
The Awakening In My Body
But then, very gradually, the literal and figurative weight of “the change” began to loosen its grip on me.
I was 60 by that time, and a tingly feeling I barely recognized returned: motivation. Part of it came from things beginning to normalize in my body, and partly from my quitting drinking. Although I wasn’t putting lampshades on my head at parties, I’d let my wine drinking in the evenings go unchecked. Moderation seemed useless. It turned out that although I’d vowed to drink no more than two glasses of wine in one sitting, two was the exact number it took for me not to care how many I drank.
Following through on something I meant to do for a long time, I began my seventh decade by giving up drinking completely. Surprisingly, it was much easier than the crazy negotiating — “If I don’t drink during the week, I can drink whatever I want on the weekends” — I’d been doing for the last five years, and it added to an awakening in my body and my brain in a way I hadn’t experienced in years. When I added that feeling to the growing sense of my own mortality, which was following me like a feral dog, I got it that I had to get this machine running in a slightly higher gear.
The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
As part of a writing project I was working on, I actually looked into what happens to our bodies as we get older. Joe Baker, a professor and researcher in the School of Kinesiology at York University in Toronto, specializes in physical activity across the lifespan. He told me that his work with Masters athletes has shown him that, as we age, we disengage from physical activity because of the stereotypes associated with getting older. We simply feel like we can’t do it all anymore — mainly because we’re older. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy since this attitude, in turn, promotes a decline in our abilities and conditions. Baker’s work scared me and stimulated me at the same time. More than anything, it got me back to running regularly and to lifting weights three times a week at the gym.
Even jogging three miles was hard at first — my quads were killing me after lunges at the gym — and it was difficult to be patient with myself. I wanted to quit and just “enjoy my old age.” But, if Baker is right, it will be much less enjoyable if I become sedentary.
Little by little, I built up my strength and stamina and reduced the amount of sugar and fat I was eating, and within a matter of a few months I realized I was probably in the best shape of my life. This doesn’t mean it was easy, because it wasn’t. I hit a wall 20 minutes in on many, many morning runs. I’d try to keep going, but eventually I’d do my own version of the walk of shame, all the while muttering about letting myself get out of shape in the first place.
Healthier Than Ever
Once I started to rebuild my energy, my muscles and my interest, it got much easier and I definitely made progress. I’m 15 pounds lighter and I run more than 30 miles a week. The weight training has actually created definition in my muscles, and if I weren’t 65 with a 65-year-old’s aging skin, I’d say I look better than I ever have. I know I look healthier.
The important thing is that I don’t feel obsessed about this as I did when I was in my 30s and watching every morsel I ate. I still indulge in ice cream and tortilla chips, and I spend lots of time lying on the couch reading. But I get outside and move my body every day for most of an hour and it makes those snacks taste so much better. For me, though, the big win is simply feeling an improvement in my self-concept. It’s given me confidence to set a fitness goal and achieve it, and it makes me hopeful about what lies ahead.
5 Steps to Getting Back in Shape
If you want to feel better and look better, try these tips:
- Be realistic. If you haven’t been to an exercise class in 10 years, you may want to position yourself in the back row and move at your own pace. Don’t sign up for a marathon quite yet. The less realistic you are, the more you’re setting yourself up for failure.
- Make yourself accountable. Take a class, sign up for a personal trainer, meet a buddy at the gym, tell your family you’re making a change. If you keep it to yourself, it’s easier to let yourself off the hook.
- Stay in balance. As we age, we often struggle with balance issues, which can cause us to fall or fear a tumble. Practicing balance exercises every day can help.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating right and getting lots of rest. Both will help you feel better physically and emotionally.
- Find some like-minded friends. It’s much easier to get out and exercise if you’re doing it with a friend. It provides accountability (see No. 2) and it will definitely get you focused on something other than slogging through a run or walk or bike ride. You’ll be visiting with your friend and the time will pass much more quickly.
By Ginny McReynoldsGinny McReynolds is a longtime writer. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College, and writes about communication, retirement, reinvention, self-concept and creativity in The Washington Post, Curve magazine, and Together.guide. Please visit her blog called Finally Time for This: A Beginner’s Guide to the Second Act of Life.
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Staying Fit as You Age
Many difficulties of aging are linked to an inactive lifestyle. And while your chronological age may be 55, your biological age can be 35 — if you follow a consistent exercise program. Before you start, check with your doctor, especially if you have any of the risk factors for heart disease (smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or family history). Then, get moving.
A complete fitness program must include the following:
- Aerobic exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming, and dance exercise are good ones to try. Aerobic exercise works the large muscles in your body, benefitting your cardiovascular system — and your weight. Work up to getting 20 or more minutes per session, 3 or 4 days a week. Make sure you can pass the “talk test,” which means exercising at a pace that lets you carry on a conversation.
- Strength training. Lifting hand weights improves your strength and posture, maintains bone strength, reduces the risk of lower back injury, and also helps you tone. Start with a hand weight that you can comfortably handle for eight repetitions. Gradually add more reps until you can complete 12.
- Stretching. Stretching exercises help maintain flexibility and range of motion in joints. They also reduce the risk of injury and muscle soreness. Yoga and Pilates are good forms of stretching exercise; they build core body strength and increase stability.
Best Exercises for Women Over 50
Age really is just a number. You might be 55, but look 40 and feel 35. Or, you might be 50, but look and feel 65. It all has to do with how well you care for your body and what you do to stay active.
When it comes to exercise, many people assume if they weren’t active during their 20s, 30s or 40s, there’s no point in getting started in their 50s or even later. Fortunately, that’s just not true. It’s never too late to start an exercise program. Starting a workout routine can help reverse some of the problems caused by inactivity and can make you feel great about yourself overall.
Let’s take a close look at the benefits of exercise for women over the age of 50 and take a peek at some of the different types of exercises that will help you feel your best.
Benefits of Exercise for Women Over 50
When it comes to your muscles, the saying “use ’em or lose ’em” really holds true. Starting around the age of 50, the average person loses about 1 percent of muscle each year . But the thing is, you don’t have to resign yourself to losing muscle. With exercise, you can restore lost muscle, even well into your 90s.
The benefits of exercise don’t stop at improving muscle mass and strength. Certain types of exercise can also help improve your bone health.
Up until about the age of 30, your body works hard to produce and build up bone. After that, you’re more likely to lose bone than to create more bone . Bone loss speeds up even more during menopause because of the reduction in estrogen production. That’s when the risk of osteoporosis can really set in.
But bone loss and osteoporosis aren’t inevitable. Performing weight-bearing exercises, which force you to work against the forces of gravity, can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of bone breakdown.
While we’re on the topic of menopause, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of exercising to reduce common menopause symptoms.
The changes that happen to a woman’s body during menopause, such as a decline in hormone production, can lead to weight gain and the development of excess abdominal fat. Getting or staying active while going through menopause can help you avoid some of the associated weight gain. Maintaining your weight can, in turn, help you avoid certain conditions often associated with being obese or overweight, such as Type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and heart disease.
Types of Exercises
Not all exercises are equal, and it’s important to make sure you include a mix of different types of exercise into your workout routine. The four main categories of exercise include:
- Strength training . Good weight training routines for women over 50 include lifting weights, as well as exercises that involve the use of resistance, such as Pilates or working out with resistance bands.
- Aerobic/cardiovascular . Aerobic or cardiovascular exercises are sometimes called endurance exercises, since you are supposed to maintain them for at least 10 minutes. During aerobic exercise, your heart rate and breathing should increase, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation with a workout buddy. Walking, jogging and swimming are all examples of aerobic exercise.
- Stretching . Stretching exercises help improve or maintain flexibility, reducing the risk of injury to the muscles or joints. Yoga is a popular type of stretching exercise.
- Balance . As you get older, the risk of falling increases. Exercises that help improve or maintain balance can reduce your risk of falls. A balance exercise can be as simple as standing on one foot.
Although there are four separate categories of exercise, it’s important to understand exercise doesn’t happen in a vacuum. For example, when you perform an aerobic exercise such as walking, you aren’t just strengthening your cardiovascular system, but also building your leg muscles. Some types of strength training exercises can also help stretch the muscles or improve your balance.
How Much Exercise to Get
How much exercise should you do each week? The amount of exercise recommended for women over the age of 50 is the same as the amount recommended for other adults. Try to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. That works out to 30 minutes of exercise five days a week, or 15 minutes of vigorous exercise five days a week.
You can break up your activities into small chunks of time, but doctors recommend you devote at least 10 minutes at a time to aerobic exercise. Along with 150 or 75 minutes of activity, you should also perform strengthening exercises at least twice a week.
If you have limited mobility and have an increased risk of falling, it’s also a good idea to perform balance exercises at least three days a week .
Getting the All-Clear to Exercise
Here’s one crucial thing to remember before you jump into a new exercise routine, especially if you’re new to working out: Get your doctor’s approval before you start any new program. They can also provide guidance when it comes to the best exercises for women over 50 and the best exercises for you, based on any health concerns or issues you have.
Strength Training for 50-Year-Old Women
Resistance and strength training is particularly important for women aged 50 and older, as it helps slow down bone loss and can reverse the loss of muscle mass. Several workout plans for women over 50 are specifically designed to help older adults develop strength and retain muscle mass. Those programs include:
- Muscles in Motion . Set to music from the 1950s and ’60s, Muscles in Motion helps you tighten and tone your upper and lower body, with a particular focus on the abdominal muscles. The group class uses hand weights, resistance bands and exercise balls to build strength.
- S.O.S. If you are particularly concerned about the risk of osteoporosis or are concerned about bone loss, S.O.S. is the fitness class for you. It focuses on resistance exercises that help improve bone health and muscle mass.
- SilverSneakers® Classic . SilverSneakers® exercise programs are available free of charge to people on Medicare. The classic program focuses on strength training as well as aerobic activities. Designed for all fitness levels, there are modifications available for people who need additional support or assistance.
3 Strength Training Exercises You Can Try at Home
While participating in a fitness class at your local YMCA is an excellent way to get out and socialize, it’s also possible to do strength training exercises from the comfort of your home. You don’t need to purchase fancy equipment to do many of these exercises. As long as you have a pair of hand weights and a chair, you should be good to go. A mat can make things more comfortable, but a carpeted floor works as well.
1. Plank Pose
The plank can not only help strengthen and tone your core muscles — aka, your abdominal and lower back muscles — it can improve your balance, too. Planks can also help straighten your posture, which is a plus if you sit in a desk chair for much of the day.
There are a few ways to do a plank. For a high plank, get into a position as if you are at the top of a push-up, with your arms and legs straight.
Another option is a low plank, which can be easier to do if you’re a beginner. Instead of supporting yourself on your hands, bend your arms at the elbow and support your weight on your forearms.
No matter which version you choose, keep your back completely straight and your head up. Your entire body should form a straight line parallel to the ground.
2. Squats With Chair
Another weight-bearing exercise that’s easy to do at home is squats with a chair. During this exercise, you squat over a chair as if you were about to sit down, but don’t make contact with the seat. Instead, you stand back up and repeat the process multiple times.
Squats not only help tone your lower body, but they can also help improve balance. When you get started, you might find it’s easiest to perform the exercise with your hands and arms extended out in front of you.
3. Chest Fly
Women tend to have very weak and underdeveloped chest muscles. The chest fly is a weightlifting exercise that helps strengthen those muscles.
To do the exercise, you’ll need a pair of hand weights. Lie on the floor or a mat, flat on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Take one weight in each hand and raise your arms over your chest.
Slowly, open your arms out to the side, lowering your arms and wrists toward the floor — but don’t actually touch the ground. Keep a slight bend in your elbows, so you don’t lock out your arms. Raise your arms back up and repeat.
Yoga for Women Over 50
According to a 2016 survey, nearly 40 percent of yoga practitioners in the U.S. are over the age of 50. Some women over age 50 have been practicing yoga for years, if not decades, while others come to it for the first time in their 50s.
One thing that’s important to understand about yoga is that there are many different types of styles. Some forms of yoga might be too fast-paced, strenuous or physically challenging for some people, no matter their age, while other styles are designed to be therapeutic and gentle. Unless you’re an experienced yogi, it’s usually best to stick with the gentler forms of yoga, which usually focus on stretching and balance more than on building strength and muscle.
One of the best ways to get started with yoga and to begin an exercise program when you haven’t been physically active in the past is to try chair yoga. During chair yoga, you perform many of the poses, or asanas, while seated on a chair or using a chair for support while standing. Many of our locations offer chair yoga classes. Find out if the Y closest to you does by visiting our locations page, then click on the name of your branch Y.
Beginner Exercise Programs for 50-Year-Old Women
As we said, it’s never too late to begin an exercise program, whether you’re 50, 65 or 80. That said, if you’re just starting out with physical activity, it’s a good idea to look for a program designed with beginners in mind. Often, beginner exercise programs are slower-paced and feature low-impact activities, which can reduce the risk of injury.
When choosing an exercise program for beginners, look for one that combines multiple types of exercise, such as strength training with stretching and aerobic activities. That way, you’ll be able to learn a variety of exercises and will get the most value from your class.
Gateway Region YMCA offers several different exercise programs for women and adults over age 50 who are looking to start a workout routine. A few of your choices include:
- SilverSneakers® Cardio
- Fit for All
Get out and Explore While You Exercise
Although taking an exercise class or working out at your local Y branch can be an excellent way to get fit and be social at the same time, remember you can take your workouts outside. Taking a walk around your neighborhood after dinner can be an ideal way to see what’s going on around you, get some fresh air and keep your muscles strong.
You can also take things up a notch and try going for a hike on the weekends, which will give you a chance to enjoy nature while improving your endurance. When you’re first getting started with hiking, take it easy. Start with short hikes on relatively flat, easy terrain. You can extend the duration of your hikes and the difficulty level as you become stronger and more confident.
Swimming for Women Over 50
Swimming is one example of an excellent exercise for women over 50. While plenty of other exercises, such as running and walking, can put a lot of strain on your joints, swimming is very low-impact. The water acts as a cushion and support around you, keeping pressure off of your joints.
Don’t be fooled by its gentleness, though. Swimming will give you a total-body workout. It will help you build endurance while it strengthens the muscles on your upper and lower body and in your core. Additionally, by helping develop your core, swimming can also help improve your balance, reducing the risk of falls when you’re back on land.
Looking for Exercise Programs for Women Over 50? Your Local Y Is a Great Resource
From yoga to strength training and from aerobic activities to outdoor adventures, the Gateway Region YMCA has many workout and exercise programs designed specifically for women over age 50 and other active adults. One of the benefits of being a member of the Y is that all our fitness classes are included in your membership. There’s no need to register in advance — just drop in and try out a class that interests you. You’ll get a chance to connect with others in your community while helping out your health.
1. Just do it
That’s the overwhelming message. If there’s one thing that can help you hold back the years for your brain and your body it’s staying active. Studies show that active older people resemble much younger people in their health and physiology.
2. Start squatting
Regular squats and lunges won’t just strengthen your leg muscles they could also help keep your brain young. By tracking a group of identical twins over 10 years, scientists have discovered that their leg strength was a better predictor of cognitive change than any other lifestyle factor.
3. Power up
Strength training becomes more important as you age. From your mid 30s muscle mass starts to decline and post menopause that accelerates, affecting your metabolism, strength, balance, bone health and even your diabetes risk.
MORE: THIS IS WHY OLDER WOMEN SHOULD BE WEIGHTLIFTING
4. Walk every day
Just 25 minutes could give you an extra seven years of life say German researchers. They put a group of 30-60-year-old non-exercisers on a daily walking programme and within six months blood markers showed changes in the body which help to repair DNA.
5. Stretch out
‘Do it throughout your lifetime and you won’t lose your flexibility,’ says physiotherapist Sammy Margo. Stay active and practice these stretches
* Lift your arms as high as you can up to the ceiling then push each arm up alternately, holding for 5 seconds. Repeat three times each side.
* Stand up and hold onto a chair with your left hand. Raise your right knee, hold your foot with your right hand and bring your heel to your bottom. Hold for 5 seconds, repeat three times on each leg.
6. Go flat out
Just a few minutes of HIIT – high intensity interval training – can build strength and fitness in one go improving insulin sensitivity, aerobic fitness and muscle strength after just a few weeks. Dr John Babraj from Abertay University, Dundee, took a group of unfit overweight older adults and got them to do 10, six-second bursts of intense running twice a week with 90 seconds recovery time between the sprints – just two minutes exercise a week. After six weeks they all had improved muscle function, blood pressure and glucose control. ‘It makes it possible for anyone to do it – you don’t have to be Usain Bolt, just put in the maximum effort for you,’ says Dr Babraj.
MORE: THIS IS HOW I MOTIVATE MYSELF TO EXERCISE 5 TIMES A WEEK
7. Run up the stairs
It burns calories, builds bone and strengthen your legs and core. Walk down to boost bone as your heel hits.
8. Stand on one leg
Balancing is a complex operation involving your muscles, eyes, inner ear and receptors in the nerves of your joints. ‘Good balance is vital but it declines as we get older so if you don’t use it you’ll lose it,’ says Sammy Margo. Tai Chi ticks all the boxes for balance, but if you don’t fancy it try heel rises – rise up onto your toes as far as you can then drop down and repeat 10-20 times – or sit to stand, without using your hands get up from a chair and sit down 10-20 times.
9. Know it’s never too late
Scientists at the University of Texas proved that when they put five unfit, overweight 50 year olds on a six-month regime of walking, jogging and cycling the training reversed 100% of their age-related decline in aerobic fitness and took the men back to their baseline fitness at age 20.
MORE: THIS IS WHY WOMEN SHOULD START BOXING
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Senior Insurance Blog
Losing Weight After 60 Is Hard – Here Are 9 Ways to Drop the Pounds
Let’s face it – trying to lose weight after your 60 years old is really hard. Back in the day, you could eat whatever you wanted (for the most part). Now, you eat a Hershey’s Kiss, and you gain 2 pounds overnight.
As our bodies age, we lose our ability to eat whatever we want. Suddenly, we have to track calories and steps to stay ahead of the scale.
Before we get into 9 ways you can realistically lose weight, stay in shape, and feel like you’re 25 again, it’s important to understand why keeping the weight off has suddenly become so difficult.
→ If you’re 65+ and are enrolled in Medicare, there are plans that offer free gym memberships as a part of your health insurance. It’s never been easier to get motivated and stay in shape! Learn more
Why Is It So Hard to Lose Weight After 60?
Losing and maintaining your weight can start to become an issue as early as age 50, though many experience this annoyance around age 60.
What is going on?
Hormones Are Slowing Down, And So Is Your Metabolism
For starters, your metabolism slows down as you age.
Robert Herbst, a personal trainer and 19-time World Champion in powerlifting explains, “I’m 60, so I know what it means to be 60. The slowing of the metabolism is a function of decreased production of testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH), which causes a loss of muscle mass.”
Don’t worry – that loss of muscle mass can be reversed, and we’ll get to that in the next section.
Carolyn Dean, MD and author of 30 books, including The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women’s Health also explains, “The loss of nutrients such as magnesium has decreased the production of metabolism-boosting hormones, so your weight loss efforts are handicapped.”
In essence, this isn’t your fault. With age, your body becomes less efficient with producing the key hormones it needs, which makes losing weight… well, really hard.
Related: 8 Ways to Increase Your Slowing Metabolism After 60
Perimenopause and Menopause
For women, perimenopause and menopause are a reality of your 50s and 60s. Because of this shift, you actually burn fewer calories than you used to.
Jill McKay, Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, explains, “With menstruation, our body temperature would fluctuate, so we would get a bonus calorie burn of about 300 calories per month. It’s not much, but it adds up over time.”
Another issue that comes with both perimenopause and menopause is insulin-resistance, which makes losing weight even more difficult.
This means that the things you used to eat, you can’t eat anymore! That also goes for portions – you might not be able to eat as much as you could before without gaining weight.
You Have More Free Time to Socialize – And Eat!
When you’re nearing retirement, there’s more time. More time to exercise, of course, but is that really how we like to spend our free time?
Jill notes that, generally speaking, older adults often have more opportunities for socializing (and better finances to go to nice dinners).
In fact, we’re more likely to eat more if we’re around other people who are eating. All that socializing is making it harder to stay in shape.
Potential Health Conditions to Be Aware Of
For most people, losing weight after 60 is hard, but that’s normal. However, if losing weight is exceptionally hard, you may want to check with your doctor that you don’t have any health conditions.
The two most common health conditions that can cause weight gain are 1) the thyroid losing function, and 2) insulin becoming less functional.
The common test called hemoglobin A1c can tell you if you’re able to metabolize your sugars well. If not, you could be at risk for diabetes.
For women, these conditions are most common around menopause.
9 Realistic Ways to Lose the Weight After 60
So, losing weight after 60 is a real problem that many men and women face. However, there are some tricks to nudging that weight off so that you can tip the scale in your favor.
Related: 8 Ways to Increase Your Slowing Metabolism After 60 and Over 60? How to Use Smartphone Apps to Lose Weight and Track Fitness
1. Strength Training
Strength training, also called resistance training, isn’t usually the first thing older adults think of when they think of exercise. Typically, cardio exercises, like walking on a treadmill or hopping on an elliptical are the most common.
However, Idea Fitness Trainer of the Year, Carol Michaels, worries that many seniors are forgetting about strength training.
“The missing exercise component to help those over 60 lose weight is oftentimes strength training. This is an exercise using weights (or your own body weight) to strengthen and build muscle. It increases the size and strength of the muscle fibers and strengthens the tendons, ligaments, and bones.”
As we age, we lose muscle mass – mainly because of the slowing metabolism, which then contributes to an even slower metabolism, and suddenly, you’re in a vicious cycle.
Read More: Aging Is Real: 10 Ways Your Body Changes After 60
However, you can stop that cycle of muscle loss by strength training – in fact, you can reverse the muscle loss at any age.
Carol continues, “Since muscle is metabolically active, the more muscle mass that you have, the faster your metabolism. Therefore, strength training can help with weight loss.”
But the benefits of strength training don’t stop at weight loss. Other benefits of strength training include:
- Less risk of injury
- Improved athletic performance
- Better balance
- Better agility
- Better coordination
- Higher energy levels
Who thought exercise could actually energize you?
Robert Herbst offers another way to think about strength training, “The body will build additional muscle which is metabolically active and burns calories, even when at rest. Having this new muscle also raises the metabolism, just like a six cylinder car burns more gas than a four cylinder one, even when idling at a red light.
In essence, your new muscle will help you burn more fat, and you’ve suddenly stopped the vicious cycle of aging, and instead started a cycle of weight loss and weight management.
Should I use machines or free weights?
Now that we’re on the same page – strength training is awesome! – you might be wondering how exactly to go about this.
Carol says that many older adults around age 60 don’t know where to begin. Should you go to the gym and use the machines? Should you buy some free weights?
A few popular machines you can use at the gym
She explains, “Although machines can be helpful for those with balance issues, exercise with free weights has several benefits.
- Free weights allow you to strength train at home, and you can improve by one pound increments.
- Free weights help you learn how to use your body in a way that you would during your day-to-day activities.
- Using free weights allows you to strengthen more major muscle groups without depending on the machine for support.
- Weight machines only work the large muscle groups. They can miss the small, but important stabilizer muscles, which help with balance, coordination, and injury prevention.”
Free weights can be used at home or at the gym
Gyms also have free weights, so if you’d rather pay for a gym membership than buy your own free weights, you have the choice.
How often do you need to strength train?
Sure, strength training sounds nice, but if you think I’m going to do it every single day for 2 hours a day…
Don’t worry. You don’t have to do strength training like a madman to get the benefits.
Carol suggests that you should aim for 2 times per week.
“Strengthen each muscle group, alternating from upper to lower body. Make sure to work the front, back, and side of the body so that you do not create imbalances. If you are new to exercise and over 60, you might start with a very light weight.”
Once you have your exercises planned, Carol suggests doing 5-10 repetitions of that exercise. By the 5-8th repetition, you should start to feel the muscle really working. By the final repetition, you should feel that you’ve worked the muscle, but you’re not exhausted. If you’re exhausted, you’re doing too much weight.
You can call your local gym in order to have a personal trainer show you what exercises to do, but there are a lot of experts online who have strength training programs with pictures and tutorials.
Bodybuilding.com – don’t be scared off by the name – has a huge amount of pre-planning workout regimens. You can sort them by level – beginner, intermediate, and advanced – as well as length, 4, 6, 8, 12 weeks, etc.
You can browse those workout plans here: https://www.bodybuilding.com/workout-plans.
2. Keep Carbs and Sugars Low
Dieting after 60 is confusing – even if carb-heavy meals and delicious desserts have never been an issue for you, you might start to notice your body changing. That daily dessert might cause you gain weight, even if you’ve stayed the same weight for years.
But the bigger problem is that older adults over age 60 tend to have higher blood sugar due to insulin resistance.
Denny Hemingson, a 61-year-old Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner explains, “Insulin signals the liver, muscle, and fat cells to take up glucose out of the blood stream. When those cells become resistant to insulin, glucose doesn’t get used and ends up staying in the blood creating high blood sugar. Eventually, this leads to pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and type II diabetes. In this state, it’s much harder for the body to release extra pounds.”
The solution? Reducing carbohydrates. Denny goes on to say that focusing on blood sugar retention over 60 is an important reality, and by reducing carbs, you’re reducing your blood sugar, which will make it easier to maintain your weight.
Carolyn Dean is an advocate for the Keto diet, which is a high fat, moderate protein, and low carb diet. “This allows the body to use up carbohydrate stores of sugar called glycogen, and then turn on fat burning to burn excess fat cells as energy.”
The Keto diet is slowly gaining more recognition in the fitness and medical community as a way to burn fat faster than ever before, but it’s still recommended that you talk with your doctor before trying it.
Carolyn says that with the Keto diet, your goal is restrict carbs to 20-50 grams per day.
Read More: Keto After 60: A Doctor’s Advice for Losing Weight With the Keto Diet
3. Drink Half Your Body Weight In Ounces of Water
Drinking water doesn’t in itself help you lose weight, but the reality is that many people think they’re hungry when they’re really just thirsty.
The cure? Drink a ton of water.
Carolyn and Denny both advise that you drink half your body weight (in lbs) in ounces of water. Carolyn explains, “Often, people think they are hungry but they are really thirsty.”
So, for example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should drink 100 ounces of water. That’s about 5-6 bottles of water per day.
4. Consider Adding Magnesium to Your Diet
Something you may have never thought of is adding magnesium to your diet.
Magnesium is an energy mineral and weight loss/metabolism-boosting mineral that helps synthesize proteins, carbs, and fats.
Carolyn explains that of the 700-800 magnesium-dependent enzymes, the most important enzyme reaction that magnesium contributes to involves the creation of energy. Magnesium activates adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fundamental energy storage molecule of the body.
Getting magnesium into your diet is as simple as adding to your water. Carolyn says, “Add sea salt and an absorbable form of magnesium, such as magnesium citrate powder, to your water. This will definitely make following low-carb diet easier, and it will help you avoid the loss of energy, sluggishness, and headachy feeling associated with electrolyte depletion.”
Another thing to note is that sugar stresses the body and depletes magnesium, so staying away from sugar can help neutralize the effects of stress. Who knew?
5. Get Some Sun
OK, don’t get sunburnt or anything, but make sure to get some Vitamin D!
Without Vitamin D, you might find yourself running to the cupboard for more snacks than you need.
Denny explains, “Vitamin D works alongside the hormone leptin to regulate hunger signals. When Vitamin D is deficient, this process malfunctions causing people to overeat.”
Get outside, take in some sunshine, and bask in the fact that you’re controlling your appetite!
6. Manage Stress With Yoga
It’s no secret that stress can cause us to overeat.
When you’re stressed, do you go to the freezer for some chocolate ice cream? You’re not alone.
A great way to manage stress is to relax. And sometimes, you need some prompting.
Denny suggests yoga, which does more than just ease stress. You’ll improve your balance, your core strength, and your mindfulness.
Other ways to manage stress are to consider meditation, prayer, and nature walks.
The app called Simple Habit has free, quick meditations that you can try if you’re interested in giving meditation a shot.
Popular meditations include “Simple Habit Starter” and “Coffee Meditation,” which are both only 5 minutes long.
7. Get Quality Sleep
Sleep has incredible effects on your overall health.
Not only will you have more energy for that strength training workout, but when you sleep, your body actually produces the human growth hormone (HGH).
Denny advises that you get 7-8 hours of quality sleep. The best way to make sure your sleep is of quality is to:
- Create a regular bedtime routine by going to sleep at the same time each day.
- Avoid anything with a screen before bedtime (smartphones, computers, TVs).
Sleep brings youthfulness, so don’t skimp on it!
8. Consider Meal Prepping
Meal prepping can force you to eat healthier foods throughout the week, even when you don’t have time to cook. (Or you just don’t feel like it.)
Jill advises, “Stop eating manufactured food. Yes, this is challenging if you live alone. Look into meal prep for the week – that way, you cook larger portions and break them down to smaller meals during the week.”
If you’ve never tried meal prepping before, Thirty Handmade Days has an excellent blog post called Meal Prep Ideas – Why, What, and How.
There, you’ll learn how to do it, and there are even recipes to get you inspired.
9. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
Finally, don’t be so hard on yourself!
If you go an entire week without losing an ounce, don’t worry! That can be extremely normal.
All of our experts advise that you don’t cut your calorie intake by too much. Jill explains, “Adequate calories are important – don’t cut calories too drastically! Fast weight loss leads to muscle loss, and that changes body composition (and can slow the metabolism.”
In other words, all your strength training progress can be lost if you aren’t eating enough.
Finally, don’t push yourself too hard in the gym, either. Jill explains her own pet peeve: “One of my biggest pet peeves is when an inexperienced personal trainer tries to make a Baby Boomer complete a workout that is so challenging that they are so sore the next day that they can barely brush their teeth or get up off the toilet. That is NOT necessary!”
If you need a break, take one! If you feel the weight is too heavy, lighten up! The goal is to keep yourself healthy – not to make yourself miserable.
And there you have it! We hope these tips make your weight loss and weight management journey easier, and a special thanks to all our experts who helped with the article.
Did you know you can get access to free gym memberships once you turn 65? Keep your health in tip-top shape with the help of your Medicare Advantage plan. Find out which plans in your zip code come with free gym membership privileges.
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Exercise’s antigravity effect on your body provides more than enough incentive to hit the gym. But it only works if you do it correctly — too much of one thing and not enough of another can actually add years to your body. Here are some of the most common exercise habits that age you, and what to do instead.
1. You only do cardio
If your workout consists of hours of cardio and no weight training, you’re setting yourself up for a less-than-firm body. Muscle burns calories even when you’re resting, so less muscle means fewer calories burned throughout the day, not to mention a lack of muscle tone. And as you age, your muscles become a use-it or lose-it situation: We start losing muscle at the rate of approximately a half pound a year after the age of 25 — or five pounds a decade — without regular strength training.
The fix: Include strength training in your workout program at least two to three days per week to maintain and build lean body mass and decrease body fat percentage.
2. You don’t know your pelvic floor is part of your core
In your quest for a flatter belly, you probably focus on your obliques (the muscles responsible for rotation) and your rectus abdominis (the muscles responsible for the “six pack” effect). But you should also be focusing on your pelvic floor. Neglect your pelvic floor muscles, and you can end up with that soft, round belly many women develop after middle age, as well as urinary incontinence.
The fix: Performing Kegels to activate the pelvic floor is an important part of strengthening your entire core. Aim for three sets of 10 repetitions, three times a day.
3. You only use machines
If you hop on machines for your entire resistance training program, you should add a dumbbell move or two for a greater anti-aging impact. It comes down to functionality and strength for everyday life activities. Machines lock you into place and stabilize your body, which is fine for beginners, but it doesn’t require working in all planes of motion or using stabilizing core muscles. Free weights enable you to be as strong and fit as you can be and strengthen you optimally. In addition, free weights require balance, an ability that diminishes with age.
The fix: Alternate free weights one day and then machines the next time you work that same body part. For example, on a machine day, use the chest fly machine, but then swap in dumbbell chest presses at next workout. Or, when working your back, use the seated row machine one day and dumbbell rows the next time.
4. You stick with low-impact workouts
Biking, the elliptical, and low-impact aerobic classes are great cardio workouts, but they don’t do much for your bone density. To stave off osteoporosis, you’ll need some impact — an integral part in maintaining bone health: The impact travels up the leg and is absorbed at the hip, thus helping prevent hip fracture after menopause. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise showed that running significantly reduced osteoarthritis and hip replacement risk.
The fix: Add impact to your routine with jogging, sprinting, and jumping rope.
5. You never take a break
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If you’re tired all the time and feel achy and sore, you may not be allowing your body enough time to heal between workouts, which can age you. In your teens and 20s, it took approximately 18 hours to repair muscle fibres affected by a workout, but this increases to 36 hours in your 40s or older. Using those same muscles before they’re completely recovered can trigger inflammation. Workouts become more difficult, your immune system may not function as efficiently, and you may have trouble sleeping.
The fix: Take enough time between workouts, and allow at least one whole day for rest per week where you do nothing more than stretching or light yoga.
Can exercise age you?
She may be one of the world’s most glamorous celebrities but even Madonna, it seems, isn’t immune to the tell-tale signs of ageing. Scenes from her flop film Swept Away – and recent snaps of her out shopping – show just how wrinkled the 45-year-old’s face has become – despite all the make-up and favourable camera angles.
Years of dancing, weight-training, running and astanga yoga – a very physical and punishing form – have given her the body of a much younger woman, but the same cannot be said for her face.
Madonna is now one of the most advanced astanga yogis in the country – she’s on the Third Series, which is the yogic equivalent of being an Olympic standard athlete. She is a keen runner (she covers around 20 miles a week, according to a previous trainer), dances and used to do weight training every day.
“Doing astanga on this level is like running a marathon on a weekly basis,” says one teacher. “It tends to wither people and, like anything done to excess, it will age you.”
After prolonged exercise, such as a 25-mile run, the body changes its metabolism, with a resulting increase in free radicals, atoms that can cause permanent damage to your cells and can also speed up the ageing process.
Free radicals, which are also created by external factors such as pollutants, ultraviolet light or cigarette smoke, are highly reactive and attack nearby healthy molecules, including your collagen and DNA. Collagen damage will make your skin look older.
Free radicals attack healthy molecules until they are mopped up by a radical scavenger or an antioxidant. It has been calculated that under normal circumstances, each of our 100 trillion cells gets hit by 10,000 free radicals per day.
Antioxidants convert the free radicals back into a good molecules. To keep up your intake of antioxidants – sources include vitamins C and E – eat plenty of fruit and vegetables or take supplements.
Undoubtedly, we all need to keep fit, but how does too much exercise adversely affect your body?
Long-distance runners traditionally look gaunt, and a number of plastic surgeons believe that running is the biggest cause of premature wrinkles after smoking and sunbathing. “Running is not good for the facial tissues,” says plastic surgeon Laurence Kirwan. “All that pounding up and down causes shearing forces of the skin against bone and loosens everything, so you get the slack neck and jowls that Madonna has now. I see a lot of New Yorkers who run five to six days a week and I tell them to use bikes instead, because otherwise they won’t just end up with saggy breasts, they’ll get a slack face.”
Personal trainer Matt Roberts says you’d need to run at least 25-30 miles a week to cross the fine line between running making you look younger (improved muscle tone and circulation) and looking older. Kirwan advises casual exercisers to limit sessions to two runs a week.
Weight-bearing exercise is linked to increased bone strength, but do too much and it can have the opposite effect – intensive aerobic training has been linked to a fall in bone density in women, as a result of low oestrogen levels. This is a particular problem for child gymnasts and ballet dancers, where intensive training and low body fat in childhood delay the onset of periods, or in athletes who train to the extent that their periods stop. At milder levels the reduction in oestrogen that occurs as a result of exercise is generally beneficial – leading to less PMS, and lower breast cancer risk.
We know that running can help prevent arthritis, but there’s a limit. A British Medical Journal study of 2,049 Finnish athletes found that endurance and sports athletes had a higher incidence of osteoarthritis, as a result of increased wear and tear on their joints. The BMJ’s advice? Prevent premature osteoarthritis by treating injuries. So if you have knee or joint pain, see a physio.
Sports scientists have found “overtraining syndrome” is a problem not just in Olympic athletes, but in domestic sports people – in the US, it is said that 10 per cent of college swimmers “burn out” every year.
“Overtraining syndrome” is a form of chronic fatigue, and is linked to intensive work and inadequate rest periods ( sprinters are less likely to suffer from it because they train with large amounts of rest).
Symptoms include depression, loss of appetite, increased anxiety and irritability, fatigue, sleep problems (in more than 90 per cent of cases) and frequent minor infections.
Overtraining raises cortisol levels and suppresses the immune system.
The advice to anyone suffering-from the above symptoms is to take a break: the only known cure is rest, but athletes who fail to do that generally find they take six to 12 weeks to recover from chronic fatigue.
Regular running can cut your risk of heart disease by 50 per cent, but do too much, too soon and it can be deadly. An American study found that heart attacks and strokes triggered by tough workouts have trebled since 1980.
The key is to increase cardiovascular demands gradually – blood pressure can more than double in intense exercise, so you need to allow your body to adapt to these changes. Otherwise, the arteries are placed under immense novel pressure, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.