When the number of candles on our birthday cakes increases, so does the number of times we’re told that “40 is the new 20.” At any age, it is possible to look and feel amazing. But there’s no reason to feel bad if you don’t reach any arbitrary beauty ideal. Everyone’s path is unique, and an accident, illness, or simply life can get in the way of us feeling like the best versions of ourselves. That’s not only appropriate but also normal — and almost always reversible.
Women become more vulnerable to illnesses and chronic pain as they age, such as heart disease and osteoporosis. When you’re feeling down, getting around may be the last thing on your mind, but inactivity raises the risk of chronic disease. Only about 23% of adults in the United States aged 18 to 64 get the average amount of exercise each week, and 28% of those over 50 are physically inactive. However, age does not have to be an obstacle.
Try these easy tips if you’re over 40 and want to start or improve your workout routine:
1. Be gentle with yourself.
Women are often expected to wear several hats in society. Although women make up about half of the workforce, they are more likely than men to care for elderly relatives. Working out every day can feel like a privilege and just another thing on a busy woman’s already long to-do list. You don’t have to exercise for hours a day. Try 30 minutes of brisk walking five days a week. If you don’t have much time but can do more vigorous workouts like jogging or hiking, the CDC recommends 75 minutes a week. It only takes 15 minutes a day! If you want to enjoy the heart-healthy benefits of exercise, you must be able to gauge the strength.
2. Increase your strength training.
Women are more likely than men to develop osteoporosis, and one of every three women over 50 will suffer a fracture as a result of the disease. This can make strength training sound intimidating and dangerous, but research shows that it can help women with osteoporosis strengthen their strength and balance. Strength training is one of the best things you can do for osteoporosis, according to Michaels. “Pay special attention to your back and hips.” Physical training has also been shown to lower the risk of heart mortality and cancer in studies. It can also help adults with moderate cognitive disability (ages 55–66) develop their brain function. Michaels recommends starting with bodyweight or light dumbbells whether you’re new to strength training or haven’t done it in a while. She claims that bodyweight is “super effective” and “less intimidating.” To avoid injury, Michaels recommends spacing out strength workouts, particularly if you have osteoporosis.
3. Find something you really enjoy.
Exercise can be difficult, but it should also be enjoyable. You already have a lot of things on your plate. “When it comes to fitness, the most critical rule is to be consistent,” Michaels says. “I can tell you the most powerful tactics, but it doesn’t matter if the individual doesn’t turn up for them on a regular basis.” You don’t need to go all out right away (or ever). If you don’t like running, a marathon may not be the right choice for you. Instead, you would want to go for a walk or dance. If you like something, you’re more likely to stick with it. Marko says, “I suggest that people do things that are enjoyable and that they can fit into their schedule.” “I also ask my patients, ‘How many exercises are too many for you?’ Do you want to do exercises while standing or while lying down?’
4. Toss it around.
A workout that you’ve enjoyed for months can become monotonous at times. It may be that you’ve reached a mental or physical plateau with a target, such as rising your walking pace or losing weight. Perhaps you’re bored. If it begins to feel monotonous, add more strength or a different aspect to the workout. But keep in mind the slow and steady wins the race (and prevents injuries). “The trick to increasing intensity is to do it every two weeks by around 10%,” Michaels advises. “For eg, consider or the weight or reps by 10%, or switching to a slightly more challenging variant, such as pushups on the floor versus pushups on an elevated platform,” Michaels advises focusing on your body and your shape transformation.
5. Make a big impression
You don’t have to be on the ground for every workout. High-intensity water exercises have been shown to increase bone mineral density and functional fitness in postmenopausal women in studies. Water aerobic exercise reduced body fat and blood pressure while increasing explosive intensity, according to a 2018 study of mainly middle-aged women. “[The water] supports you while still offering resistance,” Marko explains. “You’re pulling through the water with one half of you helped. Swimming will provide strength, help you feel lighter, and make the exercise a little easier for those with osteoarthritis of the knees or backs.”
6. Say Om
Women’s heart disease is the leading cause of death, and the number of heart attacks among women is on the increase. Stress can be mitigated by adding cardio and strength training to the routine, but stress still plays a part. Yoga can assist in stress reduction. People with heart disease who practiced yoga for 12 weeks had lower heart rates, blood pressure, and mental health ratings, according to a 2016 report.
7. Make a fluffy companion
Do you need a fitness partner? Try getting a dog if you can’t find a human companion to go on a casual walk with. Since they must walk their dogs, older people with heart disease are more likely to be involved. Try volunteering at a local shelter if owning a dog isn’t an option.