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As we get older, it becomes more important to weigh the benefits and consequences of our physical activity. At twenty, training for a marathon would be an interesting experience. Past forty, it could cause long term knee problems. Here’s a quick list of the best exercises for women over 40 you may want to try, and a few you shouldn’t.
Top 5 Exercises If You’re Over 40
Yoga can be as challenging, or relaxing, as you prefer. If you’ve never tried Yoga, it probably all looks the same. But there are workouts more akin to meditation, and there are other routines intended to help with muscle toning.
Finding the right routine is often the key to enjoying Yoga. What are your goals? Do you want to improve flexibility, muscle tone, or just feel more at peace?
Whatever your personal fitness goal, trust me, there’s a Yoga routine for that.
Light Resistance Training
Whether you choose to use dumbbells, kettlebells, or just your body weight, resistance training is almost a must-do as you get older. It can help slow the loss of muscle mass and declining bone density many experience past the age of 40.
The loss of muscle mass influences more than just your strength. Your metabolism is directly correlated to overall muscle mass. A loss of muscle means you burn fewer calories each day, which can contribute to weight gain as you get older.
Here’s a simple, but effective dumbbell routine:
Walking isn’t the sexiest exercise routine, but it’s one of the more ideal cardiovascular activities well into your 50s and 60s. It can be challenging enough to improve heart health, without causing excessive stress on your joints.
Keys To Success:
– Good Shoes! It influences your feet, ankles, and your knees.
– Build up your endurance. Don’t start with an hour long walk.
– Find a walking buddy. The time flies by when you’re just chatting as you walk.
If your knees and joints aren’t happy with walking on the pavement for twenty minutes, cycling may be what you’re looking for. You’ll engage your core, improve cardio vascular health, and even get in some resistance training for your legs.
It’s also kind of fun. C’mon now, it’s a bike.
Tennis is a great choice for former athletes and people who prefer competitive activities. It’s great for improving stamina, bone health and lowering body fat. Just a few sets will provide a great workout for your legs, arms, core and back.
Exercises To Avoid
Long Distance Running
Cardiovascular exercise is good for your heart, and helps manage your weight by burning calories. Long distance running, however, should be considered more towards the extreme end of fitness as you get older.
People who have always been runners, may be better acclimated to the stress your joints and heart endure while running long distances. If you’re more of a casual gym-goer, trying to run long distances to stay in shape may prove counter productive to your overall health and quality of life.
Heavy Weight Training
While resistance training has many benefits to your bones and metabolism, there’s definitely a danger zone you’ll want to avoid. Light resistance is good, and can help maintain bone density and muscle mass as you age.
Competitive weight lifting, where you challenge your maximum strength places unnecessary stress on your joints, tendons, and skeletal system.
You don’t need to train with excessively heavy weight to influence bone density and muscle mass. Unless you have aspirations to be a competitive strength athlete, there’s no point risking a long term injury.
High Intensity Interval Training
High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, has gained tremendous popularity in recent years because there’s scientific research supporting its effectiveness. So, it’s not on the avoid list because it doesn’t work. It does. It’s just really demanding.
People who are in peak physical condition find these types of workouts challenging and limit its use to once or twice per week. For someone over the age of 40, you would need to weigh the benefits with some of the consequences.
Are sore joints, constant aches and pains worth burning an extra 100-200 calories per week? For most people the answer is, no.
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