Let's pump you up!Feb 27, 2023 10:43AM ● By Alicia Jones
Here’s a question I hear all the time about fitness over 50: Do women really need weight training as part of their routines, or is it enough to focus on some type of aerobic exercise?
As women age, weight training becomes even more important. Having strong, lean muscles ramps up your metabolic rate, which slows down as we age, so you can burn fat.
A recent study found that improvement of muscle performance can lead to a better quality of life in older adults. The data is clear: if you want a better life, lift!
Lifting weights also helps bone density and keeps them strong, which is a serious concern for women since estrogen levels decline after menopause. Estrogen is key to enhancing bone density, which is why seniors are more prone to osteoporosis and broken bones if they fall. Loss of estrogen also ushers in various health challenges that usually weren’t a concern at a younger age. For example, insulin resistance becomes more prevalent, and the body, unable to regulate insulin production, is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Exercising, however, can help balance your blood sugar as well as your hormones. It will also improve your heart health, since the heart is a muscle. Making it stronger will help stave off heart conditions.
STRONGER FROM HEAD TO TOE
Incorporating a weight training routine doesn’t need to be complicated or time consuming. With only six exercises—legs, back, core, chest, triceps and biceps—you can strengthen your entire body. Here’s how:
LEGSSquats are excellent as they are a compound movement exercise. When you squat, you’re building leg muscles you need for daily activities such as getting out of a car or chair. You want these everyday motions to feel effortless. Squats work the legs, but also your core, back and overall body for balance.
BACKRowing exercises are an excellent way to work the back muscles. In this exercise, you squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bow down and slide your elbows along your side while holding two dumbbells. This helps teach your body to pull your shoulders back for good posture, which reduces the risks of shoulder injuries.
To strengthen your abdominals, do a modified plank using a sofa so you’re not straining your wrists while trying to balance your body.
Place your hands on the back of the sofa, arms shoulder-width apart. Slowly bring your legs back until you’re in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. Hold this position anywhere from 30 seconds to one minute. If it’s too easy, progress to using your sofa seats instead of the back of the sofa. If that gets easy, progress to the floor.
The ABsolute best abdominal exercise for women over 50
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CHESTFace a wall. Place your hands on the wall shoulder width apart and angle your feet out away from the wall so you’re pressing your weight into your arms. Then slide your elbows along your side and squeeze your shoulder blades together as your arms bend until you’re able to kiss the wall. Then push your hands into the wall and straighten your arms. At the last second, give one final push into the wall as you round your shoulders. Be sure to reset your shoulders before you do another repetition.
This exercise has so much value for women over 50. First, it helps strengthen forgotten postural muscles that reduce shoulder and neck injury. It also works the chest in a way that doesn’t tighten chest muscles to create further shoulder instability.
TRICEPSKickbacks are a fast and effective way to work your triceps, the muscles that run along the back of your arms. Standing upright with bent knees, bend at the waist with a straight back, holding one dumbbell. Place one hand on your thigh for support. On an exhale, engage your triceps as you slowly extend your arm back as far as you can, keeping it tight by your side. Pause, then inhale as your return your arm to the starting position.
BICEPSFinish off your routine with some bicep curls. Start standing with a dumbbell in each hand, with your elbows resting at your sides, keeping the knees slightly bent and your belly button drawn towards the spine. Bring the dumbbells all the way up to your shoulders by bending your elbows. At the top, hold for a second by squeezing the muscle then slowly lower.
That’s it! This simple routine of only six exercises is all you need to stay strong and ensure a better quality of life as you age.
If you’re just starting out, begin with 15 repetitions of each exercise, two to three days a week.
As you become more advanced, you’ll need to cycle yourself through different repetition ranges, which I explain how to do in this video below.
For more exercises for women go to aliciajoneshealthyliving.com