Health & Fitness

Top 4 Reasons Why Women Over 40 Need to Exercise

There are four main reasons why it’s important for women over 40 to incorporate a consistent exercise regimen in their lives.  Apart from the normal wear and tear of aging, our hormones begin to change and those changes will deteriorate our muscular and skeletal health.  

With that said, please don’t lose hope!  There are ways in which you can delay the onset of aging and improve the quality of your life as you age.  

But before I tell you how you can slow down the aging process of your body, let’s talk about the four main reasons you should be staying physically active for the rest of your life!

Top 4 Reasons Why Women Over 40 Need to Exercise:

  1. SARCOPENIA

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass as a result of age and/or immobility.  As we lose muscle mass, our bodies will get weaker and frail.  

On average, women start losing muscle mass from 3-10% per decade once we are in our 30’s.  This is in part because in our mid to late thirties, our testosterone levels drop dramatically. 

Testosterone is vital for the health of your muscles.  Once we lose testosterone, it will be harder for you to maintain, and to add, muscle mass if you have a sedentary lifestyle.

2. OSTEOPENIAO/OSTEOPOROSIS

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the health of the bones.  Osteopenia is when your bones are at a level where they are below normal, which is a milder version of osteoporosis.  

As we lose bone mineral density, our bones may break from a fall or from normal daily activity (in extreme cases).  As per the National Osteoporosis Foundation, one in two women age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis.  

Once we hit menopause, our estrogen levels drop, so our bones are more susceptible to developing osteoporosis.  Estrogen promotes the activity of osteoblasts, which are cells that help to produce bone.

3. FLEXIBILITY, FUNCTION & BALANCE

For both of the reasons discussed earlier, falling should be a major health concern for aging women.  In particular, it’s a major health concern if you have been diagnosed with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.  

Incorporating exercises that will improve your flexibility and balance will improve your chances of preventing, or withstanding, a broken bone caused by a fall or accident.  

In case you didn’t know this, a broken hip can be life-threatening!

4. Weight Management

Most of us already know that exercise is very useful when we’re trying to lose weight. As we age, our metabolism slows down and in order to avoid adding on excess weight, you need to stay active to keep your body burning off extra calories.

Alright, now that you know the four main reasons why you should be incorporating physical activity for the rest of your life… let’s look at the ways that you can turn things around!  

Ways to Improve the Quality of Life as You Age:

Perform Different Types of Exercise & Physical Activity

In all honesty, the best natural anti-aging tip for everyone is exercise.  To preserve your body strong and healthy for as long as possible, resistance & strength training are the best form of exercise.   Cardiovascular exercise is excellent for the heart and provides great benefits for your overall well-being as well.  Stretching exercises keep your joints and body flexible, which could reduce the chances of injury later in life. 

  • Resistance and Strength Training Program
    • Use bodyweight, resistance bands, free weights, and weight machines to name popular methods used. 
  • Cardiovascular Exercise
    • Walking, jogging, hiking, cycling, playing a sport, as well as similar exercises will be helpful.
  • Stretching/Balance Exercises
    • Normal stretching of the joints and yoga are good.

Nutrition

Be mindful of your nutrition.  What you consume today can pay dividends in the future as you help maintain your muscles and bones healthy later in life.

  • Eat your protein!  If you want to preserve your muscle for the longest time possible, incorporate foods high in protein.  Also, foods with high content of the B Vitamins, Vitamin A, C, D and E, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids help the muscle recover and grow.
  • Eat foods with calcium, zinc, vitamin D, and magnesium.  These micronutrients are extremely important to keeping your bones healthy.
  • The best thing is for you to get all your micronutrients from food, but it’s hard to develop daily diet plans that help you achieve that.  As an alternative, find a great multi-vitamin if you want to cover most of the micronutrients that you’ll need.   Take your vitamins!  

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

If you’re a candidate for HRT, it can help bring your hormones back to optimal levels so you can maintain and add muscle tissue.  Hormone therapy can also protect and improve your bone health.

  • Testosterone Replacement Therapy
    • Helps you maintain and add muscle mass.  It also supports maintenance and growth of bone tissue.
  • Estrogen Therapy
    • Estrogen helps in the production of osteoblasts and helps maintain and improve bone mineral density

{Disclaimer:  The information I have provided on Hormone Replacement Therapy only pertains to the benefits of maintaining and improving muscle and bone health.  This is NOT a comprehensive list of benefits, or risks, associated with taking any of these hormone replacements.  

In addition, this should NOT be considered as a recommendation to take Hormone Replacement Therapy.  This information is provided for discussion purposes only.  You should conduct your own research and consult your own physician if you’re interested in exploring these methods.  You may, or may not, be a candidate for hormone replacement therapy.  Only you, and your physician, can determine that.}

That wraps it up for today ladies! Now you know WHY you need to stay active and HOW you can stay strong and healthy for the rest of your life!  It’s never too late to get started!  It’s time for you to get out there and find the exercise that works best for your needs and lifestyle.  Until next time, I’m wishing you a strong and healthy life!

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