While there’s not a magic formula for health, vitality and longevity, exercise is quite possibly the closest thing to it. The good news is, you’re never too old to reap the benefits of physical fitness. And there are A LOT of benefits! But where should you begin to start getting fit after 40? Check out our secrets and tips for the best exercise strategies for women in middle age.
Benefits of Getting Fit After 40
One of the best benefits of getting fit after 40 is living longer. Studies indicate that people who are active live as much as four years longer than sedentary people, and in many cases, much longer than that. But it’s not just longevity that matters. It’s also about your sustained health, wellness, and energy.
Exercise promotes health in every aspect of the body starting with your heart. Steady physical activity is associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular complications – think less heart disease, lower blood pressure, higher “good” cholesterol levels, and lower “bad” cholesterol levels. Studies show active people have less incidence of cancer and diabetes. Plus, they have improved cognition, memory and less likelihood for brain-degenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. And all of that movement gets your blood pumping and your metabolism revved for increased energy to enjoy life.
For women, physical activity can stop bone loss that causes osteoporosis and tempers hormones that emerge before and during menopause. On average women tend to gain a pound a year starting around menopause, but regular exercise can keep your weight in check and build muscle mass that burns fat and tones problem areas.
How to Start Getting Fit After 40
First, start by having a physical exam to discuss your health and wellness goals with your doctor. Remaining safe is the most important part about getting fit after 40. Your doctor can review your personal condition and make recommendations that best suit your body and what you hope to achieve.
Once you’ve set goals, develop a plan that meets your interests and works for your schedule. Ideally you will exercise four to six times a week for 30 to 60 minutes a day. It’s essential that you gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts to give your body time to adjust. You may begin by breaking up your exercise into 10-minute timeframes. As you build stamina and strength, you can ramp up your routine.
Best Types of Exercise for Getting Fit After 40
Experts agree that the best combination for improved health and vitality is regular cardio, strength-training, and internal training. Yoga is also a terrific way to achieve lean muscle and balance while creating a mind-body connection. Here’s a quick breakdown of the benefits of each:
- Cardio: When you think of cardio you may envision high impact aerobics but there are many effective low impact options. Walking briskly, jogging, cycling, rowing, swimming, tennis, and hiking are all excellent options that are easier on your joints. Build up to 30 minutes four to five times a week.
- Strength Training: Without bulking up or spending tons of money on equipment, you can develop strong, lean muscles through strength training. Often your own body weight or a few free weights or resistance bands are all you need to target major muscles. And while you cannot spot reduce fat, you can build muscles for a smoother, toned appearance. Aim for strength training three or four times per week.
- Interval Training: Intervals of intense blood flow help deliver much-needed oxygen to sustain and rejuvenate your organs, especially your brain. Incorporate short bursts of higher intensity into your cardio workouts. That doesn’t mean you have to leave the ground, but do a round of power squats, push-ups, punches or lunges to elevate your heartrate for this added benefit.
- Yoga: It’s no secret yoga helps reduce stress, a leading accelerant of disease…and wrinkles! When you practice yoga three or four times weekly you can calm your body while working muscles in a completely different way. This gives you the benefits of exercise and a stress-reducing outlet.
With that in mind, you also want to ensure you like how you’re exercising since you’ll be doing it almost every day. That means finding friends, classes, sports and locations that keep you motivated and on track.
Gear Up for Getting Fit After 40
You’ve set your goals and planned accordingly. It’s time to dress the part. Start your workout program with a great low impact sports bra like our Wirefree Sport Full Figure Bra. This plus size sports bra is ideal for a variety of light to moderate exercises and comes in playful colors and styles you’ll love. Pair your cotton sports bra with our Control High-Waist Leggings for a breathable, stylish gym-ready look. With convenient pockets and a high or low-waist option, these plus size leggings give you support and confidence for getting fit after 40.
Are you over 40? What do you do to stay fit? Share some tips with the rest of our community in the comments!