Today’s post is a guest post by Rachna, who is a fitness enthusiast and blogs at RachnaCooks. She has a lovely website, where she shares some great recipes & fitness tips! Her Instagram feed includes the same as well. You can follow her: Rachna.Parmar, to enjoy some healthy quick recipes.
Today she shares some tips related to fitness for women above 40. So, let’s get started. Thanks again Rachna, so happy to have you on my blog.
6 Fitness Tips for Women over 40
While they say that age is just a number, it is true that women need to take extra care of their bodies once they hit their 40s. 40s for women come with hormones going haywire, weight gain especially around the middle, low metabolism, depression, loss of muscle and bone density and joint issues.
If this seems depressing, it really isn’t. Because we can combat all these changes by following a few tips. Here are 6 fitness tips for women over 40:
Begin Strength Training:
I may sound like a broken record, but I can’t emphasize enough how important strength training or lifting weights is for women.
As per National Osteoporosis Foundation, women have thinner bones than men. And estrogen, a hormone, that protects bones starts declining as women enter perimenopause and menopause in their 40s. This causes a loss of bone density as much as 1% compared to their mid-30s. Hence their risk of bone fractures significantly rises in the 40s and 50s.
Strength training or weight training will not only help you combat the problem of excessive fat on the body, but help you build muscle mass and bone strength, giving you a toned fit body.
Additional Reading: 9 BeginnerTips for Women Starting Strength Training
2. Exercise Daily:
If you have never exercised, it is okay. Begin now. WHO recommends 150 minutes of exercise every weekfor adults to keep heart disease, diabetes and other lifestyle diseases at bay. Remember this 150 minutes should be at a pace that makes you sweat and raises your heart rate. So begin active in your home (though desirable) and a stroll outside, does not count as exercise.
For a beginner, brisk walking is the safest exercise. Start small, be consistent and slowly build time and intensity. You could try exercises like swimming and cycling too. Aim to also be active in your daily life. Every small step counts.
Small things like moving around every 30 minutes, taking the stairs, walking to your closest shop etc. help you stay active. But this does not substitute for active exercise. Play a sport if gym bores you. Walk outdoors if you don’t like treadmill. But exercise not only for immense health benefits but also to keep depression at bay and for flexibility and stamina.
3. Pay attention to your diet:
I read this quote that marriage without fidelity is like exercise without sound diet. Isn’t it true? A lot of women start working out with a fury but don’t pay enough attention to their diet to complement the good work.
A month or two down the line when they don’t see any changes, they feel disheartened and either resort to strenuous measures that can cause harm or give up.
You can do it by taking small steps. There are certain rules of thumb when it comes to a balanced diet. They are:
- Have a healthy mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat every single day. Don’t cut out food groups. You may lose weight fast, but you will gain it all back. A healthy diet must be sustainable.
- Document what you eat at least for a month to know where your unhealthy habits lie. It is eye-opening even if you feel you know what you eat.
- Start meal planning to have better control over how and what you eat.
- Portion control so that you eat what is needed for your body and not overeat constantly
Additional Reading: 7 Simple Steps to Make a Meal Plan for Beginners
4. Mental health
As we enter our 40s, due to hormonal changes, we experience a range of emotions. Some of us have very challenging perimenopause symptoms. It is important to acknowledge that you may need some support during this period.
My gynaecologist told me that both Yoga and strength training were immensely important for women in their 40s. Personally, workout helps me handle anxiety and stress in a much better way.
Talk to girlfriends and share. That helps. If needed reach out to a therapist. Do remember that physical fitness will not work if your mind is not in a good place. Mental fitness is often ignored when it is so important for our health. Practising gratitude and kindness help some. Choose what works for you.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Your exercise and diet will not help you maintain optimum weight if you do not get adequate sleep. Generally, 7-8 hours of sleep in a day is needed to rest adequately, repair and rebuild muscle and ligaments and have enough energy to get through the day.
If you do any form of exercise, sleep is the time when your tissues repair hence it is an important component in the cycle of health that includes diet and exercise.
As you do strength training, you will feel that you start getting more flexible. Stretching during every exercise session helps prevent injury and also gives you more flexibility.
Every time you workout, never skip initial warmup and final cooldown that mostly incorporates stretches. Muscles need to be stretched before you work on them. Ignoring this important step can lead to injury.
Apart from these 6 fitness tips for women over 40, here are some pointers that will help you maintain good health overall:
- Go for a health check every year especially a gynaecologist consultation to catch any issues
- Start on Calcium and Vitamin D supplements and a multivitamin after checking with your doctor
- Increase protein in your diet. It is recommended to have 30-40% protein,45%-40% carbohydrates and about 25%-30% fat in your daily diet. Protein helps with keeping your muscles strong and keeping you full for longer.
- Do not follow fad diets like low carb, no carb or any other strenuous diets whose long-term effects on our bodies have not been established by scientific studies.
Hope you found these tips helpful. Do share in the comments any tips that you have for keeping your body healthy and fit.