3 Tips For Staying Strong And Healthy For Women Over 40


Many women over 40 stop, or limit their exercise to just walking, as they get older. While walking is great for the heart, as well as for that very much needed vitamin D, it may not always be the best form of exercise for us as we age, especially when going into menopause.

As we get older it certainly does gets harder, but I believe its just a matter of training smarter and listening to our bodies. Of course you’re not going to recover as you did in your twenties but the recommendations are still the same. The more you move the better you will function.

“You rest, you rust” as they say.

Here Are 3 Fitness Tips To Remember For Women Over 40:

1. Remember: Age Is Just a Number

You don’t need to be competing for a black belt, or join a bootcamp. What you can do, however, is to find a trainer who specialises in fitness for the ageing population, and get them to tailor a programme specifically for you. In my classes we focus on getting people moving better over the first 4 -6 weeks before we do any intense training (and at that it should be gradual anyway). If you’re over 50 with a history of joint problems for example and thrown into a bootcamp high intensity session leave immediately, you’re in the wrong class.

 2. Don’t Forget The Resistance Training

The World Health Organisation recommend a minimum of 2 days resistance training and, at a minimum, 2 days cardiovascular. Most of us think we should be reducing our time in the gym as we age to “leave it to the young ones”, however this may be a huge mistake. Research also states that as we age our bone mineral density decreases particularly as we enter menopause. This further opens us up to more fractures, sprains and brittle bones such as Osteopenia. Resistance training, i.e training with a weight (even bodyweight), can help build strength in the muscles to protect the bone and joints. A very worthwhile investment in your health if you want to avoid issues with your bone health as you age. This doesn’t mean that you need to be lifting barbells and making grunting noises in the gym. Even starting with some body weight exercises correctly can do wonders for your strength and mobility.

 3. Do The Right Exercise For You NOW

Marathon runners hit their prime in their 30’s and 40’s and so as they age need to reconsider their fitness regime. Were you a runner and now you feel it in your knees every time your feet hit the ground? Plantar Fasciitis got you grounded? Try a cycling, spinning or add some rowing to your resistance training and take the load off your knees and feet to allow your joints to rest.

If you get up and out the door, no matter what you do and what your age is, you’re doing more than most people. Exercise is supposed to support your life and help you feel healthier and stronger, not to be the thing that sets you up for knee replacement surgery in your 60’s. It’s about taking care of your body and maintaining the engine.

References: 1, 2

If you’re curious to learn more, our podcast "Exercise Over 40 With Toni Walsh” is available now.

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Toni Walsh is a Personal Trainer and Soft Tissue Massage Therapist who specialises in working with women as they age. She is based in Sandyford, Co. Dublin where she holds fitness classes in a friendly and supportive environment.

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