Let’s age gracefully! We will tell you how. Aging is indeed a critical and challenging process. Many changes occur inside our bodies, and we have to deal with the changes by taking care of our bodies with proper exercises and healthy food. Middle age is the time when you begin to notice an increase in aches and pains, decrease in mobility, and some other mental health issues.
Ken Fox, professor of Exercise and Health science at Bristol University states that the middle age, specifically mid-40s is the age when you start to lose muscle mass and start building up fat. This fat build-up leads to high blood pressure, obesity, heart diseases, cancer, stroke, and many other health issues.
Do not worry because there is a way to deal with the side effects of aging; That’s exercise! Yes, there are many exercises which are proven to strengthen the body, stabilize the posture, and show positive results if done regularly.
5 Most Effective Exercises for Women Over 40
Do you know what is referred to as King of Exercises? Squats! And for many good reasons. Squats gained popularity for their effects of toning the butt and thighs, but they actually target and tone full-body muscles especially hips, hamstrings, quads, and glutes. They strengthen the core and may help improve bone density, coordination, and balance.
Here is a detailed overview of the amazing effects of squats on your body:
2. Muscle Building & Strengthening
Squats create an anabolic environment, which helps muscles to build and strengthen all over the body. It’s just a myth that squats target particular sets of muscles; they help develop and strengthen body-wide muscles.
As we age, our muscle mass decreases, so if you are about to cross 40, add squats to your daily workout routine.
As we discussed, squats help build body muscles. They make legs and core muscles stronger which maintain balance. Also, by activating all the muscles, you are improving communication between brain and muscles which results in faster and better response time and prevents falls and injuries.
Muscles, ligaments, and tendons lose their elasticity as we age. A workout plan that improves flexibility should be a part of your daily routine. Squat involves bending and stretching of legs muscles and doing them regularly increases flexibility as well as mobility.
5. Increase Mobility
Strong legs are necessary to move around as much as you want without any difficulty. Squats strengthen the core muscles and also tone and firm up the leg muscles. This makes the center of your body stronger and your legs more active.
6. Burn Calories
As you start to build muscles by doing squats, you also burn calories more efficiently. Adding weighs to your squats using light dumbbells can help burn calories even faster. Avoid gaining weight at this point in your life because it may carry other health issues as well.
7. Support Heart and Lungs
Squats also strengthen cardiac muscles along with other muscles of the body. When you work out, your lung capacity increases. As a result, your heart and lungs become stronger and safe from the risk of diseases.
8. Prevent Injuries
Middle age is prone to many injuries because of weak muscles, tissues, and ligaments. Squats provide your muscles the strength to avoid the injuries and become more active.
How to Do a Perfect Squat?
The key to gaining all the benefits from squats is performing them the right way. Here is a step by step guide to do a proper squat:
- Stand straight with your feet apart. (ideally, shoulder-width apart or a bit wider)
- Extend your arms straight outwards, parallel to the You can also bend the elbow at this point and clasp the fingers of both the hands together.
- Bend your body as you are trying to sit on an imaginary chair. Keep your head in a forward position during the squats. Keep your back straight and arch your lower back as you move downward.
- Descend yourself in this position until your thighs come parallel to the floor. Keep your knees fixed above your ankles. Now exert all your weight on your heels.
- Hold this position for about 10 seconds, you can start with less but gradually start increasing the duration.
- Keep your body tightly in this position. Now push through your heels to get back to the standing position.
- Start with a few reps according to your endurance and slowly increase the no of reps.
Strength Training and Weight Lifting
As you grow older, you begin to notice joint stiffness, pain, and arthritis. The condition becomes worst if you are overweight or have a history of bones or joints injury. You can strengthen your bones, ligaments, and muscles by strength training and weight lifting.
You are not supposed to lift dumbbells to perform strength training. All you have to do is perform some easy and simple moves. You can make the training more effective by adding weights.
Some common strength training exercises are:
- Step up
- Arm circles
- Glute bridge
- Calf raises
- Limb Raises
- Mountain climber
- Triceps Dip
- Wall Sit
Strength training along with weight lifting can help relieve pain in arthritis patients. These exercises help in getting rid of arthritis and also prevent pain from occurring. The relief in pain improves the quality of life as you age. It also increases energy, positive thinking, and mobility.
Planks is another effective full-body exercise, especially for strengthening the back and avoiding back pain. Between the age of 30 and 40 years, you are most likely to develop chronic back pain to some degree. Planking is one of the best exercises for women to become strong against pain.
Planks provide increased core strength and also tone the core muscles very well. They also provide a complete abs workout, while working on the chest and back muscles. As a result, it tightens and strengthens your mid-torso area. According to personal trainer Holly Perkins, planks provide the lower back additional support to avoid pain.
There are many variations of planks. You can start with the easiest one and gradually advance as you build endurance.
Variation 1: Normal Plank
The most basic and standard plank which gives best results.
- Get in a push-up position. Your arms should be straight and your hands beneath your shoulders. A little wider than the width of your shoulders.
- Press your toes and exert a force on the floor, now squeeze your glutes. Make sure your knees are not wide apart or locked.
- Your spine and neck should be in a neutral position. You can obtain this position by looking ahead on the floor in front of you. Keep your head lined up with your back.
- That’s it! Hold the position for as long as you can and gradually increase the time.
Variation 2: Forearm Plank
This is an easier variation of plank exercise. It also provides good workout results while not being tough on your body.
- Being in the same push-up position, rest your forearms on the floor. Be sure that your elbows are aligned with your shoulders.
- Keep your arms parallel to your body and shoulder width away from the torso.
- Place your palms flat on the floor. You can also clasp the finger of both the hands together.
- Try to attain a neutral position by focusing on an area of the floor in front of you. Keep your head lined up with your back.
- Hold the position for at least 20 seconds or less if you find it difficult and gradually increase the time duration.
Variation 3: Knee Plank
This variation of planks is the easiest one. If you are a beginner, you can start with it. You will gradually become strong and stable enough to carry out advance planks.
- Keep your knees on the ground in a resting position. Bend forward and place your hands on the floor beneath your shoulders, keep them a little wider. This position keeps your body stress free. You can also place a mat or rolled towel under your
- Keep your thighs and arms straight. And hold the position for 20 seconds.
Burpees are high-intensity athletic exercises which mainly focus on the cardiovascular system. After crossing 40, you should start performing burpees to keep your heart healthy and a perfectly fine metabolism. Burpees also help prevent weight gain and decrease the risk of several diseases.
It is recommended to do 30 minutes of high-intensity workouts, three to four timesin a week. Here is the correct method of performing burpees:
- Stand up straight and then go into a squat position. Bend down and keep your hand on the floor in front of you. Keep your arms straight.
- Push your feet back in almost a kicking motion and go into push-up position.
- Lower your chest to the ground.
- Lift your head and chest and return to the squat position with a fast move.
- Now immediately jump into the air with your arms stretched high overhead.
People between the ages of 45 to 65 are at high risk of developing depression, according to John Hopkins Medicine. And women are at higher risk than men. Yoga is the exercise that has shown many positive effects on mood by boosting GABA, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood.
Yoga and meditation have shown evidence of boosting positive thinking and liveliness in women who were struggling with some sort of mental disturbance. It can be confidently said that yoga helps reduce stress and as a result improves the mood disorders. Yoga is becoming a widely practiced exercise because of its health and flexibility boosting effects.
No one can deny the effects of exercise for a healthy body and wellness. And as you age, these exercises help with your aging process and give your body the support it needs. Talk to your doctor before including a new exercise in your routine, especially if you are already going through some health condition.
Start slow and gradually increase; don’t overdo any exercise. Improve your lifestyle habits along with exercise. Sleep properly for 7 to 9 hours. Eat healthy food which is rich in antioxidants and other healthy nutrition. You will soon see amazing results with dedication, patience, and positive thinking.