Exercises for Women Over 40 Updated (2019)
Women over 40 are busy, they have families, friends, work commitments and not much time for their own self. Often they give up time spent taking care of their own health to care for those around them.
They give up their exercise program and find they don’t have the energy they once had. Perhaps they start to gain some weight or feel their body starting to sag. The good news is, it’s not too late to regain health, energy, and body with exercise.
Here are some of the best exercises for women over 40:
Walking is one of the best exercises you can do for your body and is the simplest of them all, yet not everyone takes advantage of it.
Gratefully, there have been several movements to promote and enhance this easy way of weight loss. The good thing is that walking for just twenty minutes at a comfortable and slow pace can help to get rid of almost 80 calories, and that is not even the best part. Since it is also a low-impact exercise, it does not hurt your fragile joints.
Muscles and bones are not the only things that start to get weaker as you age. It is necessary to keep your mental health in check, too.
The calming mind and spirituality that is provided by doing yoga can do just the trick. Moves in yoga also need you to put control into your breath and work with your inhales and exhales.
Keeping a focus on the breathing as you move will keep your mind fresh and active, while at the same time putting it at ease.
3. Cardiovascular Exercise
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise per week for women of all ages. Women at age 40 who are new to exercise should start out slowly, aiming for 10- to 15-minute bouts of exercise at a time. As you get more comfortable, gradually increase the time until you can do 30 continuous minutes of cardiovascular exercise for 5 days per week. Aim to keep your heart rate somewhere between 108 and 153 beats per minute to ensure you are working at an intensity that will maximize your health benefits.
Exercise requires proper form so people can enhance flexibility and stamina. That especially applies to the long-distance aerobic swimming.
The right technique ensures muscle groups are engaged and heart rate stays at the proper level. An hour-long session of this kind of swimming 2 to 3 times a week significantly improved health in senior men with low activity levels, according to the study.
Swimming also can alleviate back pain and improve posture. Swimming can be an effective and safe way for seniors to be active without putting undue strain on their bodies and joints.
So next time you decide to make a healthy change for the better, consider adding swimming to your routine.
5. Running on a Treadmill
A treadmill is an extremely versatile piece of exercise equipment that lets you customize your workout to meet your fitness goals and match your fitness level.
You have the option of walking or running and you can vary the speed and incline to make your workout as effective as possible.
While exercise is valuable at any age, if you are age 40 or over, your metabolism may be starting to slow down, and it might become more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
Each workout should start with a five-minute warm-up at a moderate walking pace of about 3.5 miles per hour. You can then choose to add incline to the walking pace, increase the speed to a jogging or running pace, or a combination of both. Don’t forget to allow for a five-minute cool-down at the end of each session.
If you’re looking for a physical activity option to help burn the calories and lower the risk of chronic diseases of lifestyle, cycling may be for you.
The sport can effectively help maintain good cardiovascular health, as it gets your heart rate up, but is easier on your knees than running. This makes it an increasingly popular option for those hitting middle age.
Cycling is a physical activity, a fitness mantra, and related with a desire of a healthy body. Cycling is fun since it the first ride one could ever achieve on its own as a child.
Cycling for women is a treat to attain a slim figure, and that too by involving into a fun activity. The two wheels can induce several health benefits, and there is no second opinion about it. A recent study has shown that four million Aussies who ride a cycle each week, it helps in gaining them some serious health benefits.
7. Breathing Exercises
Breathing is an essential function of life, but it’s so much more than that. How well you breathe can affect your strength and stamina, your sleep, and even your mood.
Older adults who don’t take the time to breathe deeply can experience ribcage stiffness and muscle weakness, which leads to shallow breaths and a poor oxygen supply. Shallow breathing can make you feel sluggish and uncomfortable, and may even prevent you from maintaining an active lifestyle.
Physical activities like jogging, however, provides a wide variety of health benefits, including, but not limited to the reduced risk of cancer, increased insulin sensitivity, higher levels of HDL cholesterol, improved bone density, reduce inflammation, and reduced risk of cardiovascular and all-cause death.
Mental benefits include improved mood and reduced risk of depression and anxiety as well. The best part is you don’t have to be a marathon runner to reap the health benefits.
Jogging is a full-body exercise, requiring core stabilization, lower body strength, hip flexibility, and upper body (the arms) for balance. As such, it also scorches more calories than many other low-intensity exercise options. Jogging at just 5 mph, a 12-minute mile for thirty minutes.
9. Exercises to Avoid
9.1 Extreme Cardio
Women in particular love cardio, but it can be hard for a middle-aged person who is not used to extreme exercise. If your body is working too hard under stress, it produces the hormone cortisol, which will actually increase your weight. That’s the exact opposite of what you want to achieve!
Cardio includes jumping jacks. While they are an excellent full-body exercise, they can also be tough on your ligaments. High knees are also strenuous for the joints, tendons and ligaments. They can hurt the knees and hip flexors.
In moderation, cardio is great for your cardiovascular system. But if you’re over 40 and frequently engage in intense cardio routines, it can be difficult on your muscles.
If done improperly, deadlifts can be dangerous for your back. At the very least, you will struggle with lower back pain for a few days. At worst, you can go through a spinal injury. Moreover, if you drop the weights while doing a deadlift, you can badly injure your foot.
With your growing age, it becomes more difficult to maintain a proper form because you may have other injuries and try to compensate for the problem.
9.3 Hovering Leg Lifts
Leg extensions can be hard for your knees, particularly as you age. And if heavy lifting weights are included, it can cause a lot of problems.
Your knees are not built to fully extend while pushing out a heavy set of weights. Knee and ankle injuries are a common problem associated with the use of a leg extension machine. Even younger people should avoid the equipment because it could cause knee problems in the future.
9.4 Abdominal Exercise
Even when you are in your 20s, abs exercises are not that effective when it comes to shedding that belly fat. What these exercises do is tone and strengthen those underlying muscles that already have no fat. Crunches and sit-ups make your spine curve and, with growing age, increase the likelihood of spinal fracture. And nobody wants that. What can you do instead? Planks. When you get more comfortable with the routine, you can try adding a few weights.
9.5 Standing Toe Touches
When you think about it, this one is a pretty obvious option for most exercises you should not consider if you are women over 40. Just like in the time of hovering leg lifts, withstanding toe touches you will probably end up struggling with a back injury. With growing age, joints in the lower back and hips weaken and the chances of fractures increases. If this exercise is one of your favourites, you need a warm-up before performing it in order to prevent neck problems or lower back injuries.
10. Workout Plans
These are some of the best workouts for women over 40 because they engage the whole body in many different ways. They will make you use your joints, improve your balance, challenge your flexibility, and more. The best way to keep your body young is to use it often. Keep moving! If you stay active throughout your forties, you’ll be better off in your fifties and sixties.
Check out these over 40 workout plans:
10.1 10-Minute Beginner’s Yoga Workout
One mistake women in their forties often make is assuming they will never be able to complete a workout if they don’t get through it their first time. The goal of the yoga workout is to slowly increase your balance and flexibility. You may struggle with the poses at the beginning but be persistent and you will fall in love with the results.
10.2 6-Minute Arm Toning Workout
The dumbbell arm workout will teach you all the basic lifting exercises that you need to for weight training over 40. It will target your biceps, triceps, shoulders, and also a little bit of your upper back. Beginners can start with a single round and slowly work their way up from there.
10.3 Before Breakfast Workout
A morning workout is better than a cup of coffee, without spending any money. For the six-minute workout, you can combine yoga with some basic bodyweight moves to wake you up in a gentle way. It will help you stretch, get your blood flowing, and even freshen up your mind.
10.4 30-Minute Upper Body Cardio Workout
A 30-minute routine is a complete workout. If you start doing this, you don’t need to do anything else for the rest of the day, other than a quick warm-up and cool-down. This is the best abs after 40 workouts and a bit intense but it pays off a great deal, so it is ideal for women get used it.
The Bottom Line
Have you ever wondered what should a 48-year-old woman look like? Try to picture that considering yourself. You don’t want to look like an old grumpy granny but a fit and healthy women, in order to achieve that, there are many exercises for women after 40, do these without being careless about it. An exercise routine that is fun and energizing is one you will stick with, and continuity is key. Check with your healthcare provider before you begin and consult with a personal trainer to create a program that will help you to accomplish your goals.
So how to start getting fit after 40? Think outside the box to find the perfect activity for you, whether it’s a yoga class or tennis lessons, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or taking on your own yard work or gardening. Give yourself a day off between strength workouts so your muscles can recover.