Just as it went through unique changes during your 20s and 30s, your body is sure to take you through a wide range of transformations, both subtle and inescapable, once you enter and cruise through your 40s. All of these developments are, of course, perfectly normal, but there’s no question that they can make women feel the roller coaster of emotions as they discover that their body no longer appears and works like it did during more youthful stages in their lives.
Here are just some of the things that happen to a woman’s body when she reaches 40 years of age:
Muscle and bone mass can take huge dips. The loss of mass began back in your 30s and will inevitably continue during your 40s, but the process will be accelerated if you shy away from working out.
Testosterone and estrogen levels drop, too. These hormones are designed to aid your muscles, and so their downward turn will translate to taking much longer to recover from strenuous exercises. Lower estrogen levels are also a main cause of accumulating belly fat.
Conversely, the stress hormone cortisol can increase at this time. It won’t help your struggle to recover faster from workouts because higher cortisol levels means faster muscle breakdown.
Your metabolism begins to slow down at a rate of about 5 percent per year after your 40th birthday. This is the signal that you would need to stop eating high-carb, high-sugar, high-calorie foods, as it is now a lot easier to pack on the pounds — and they are much more stubborn about leaving your body for good.
Getting your sweat on
To help get your body back in shape, there are a number of exercises for weight loss women over forty can consider including in their regular routine. By working out, eating right, and being smart about your whole approach to your fitness, you can shed the excess pounds and prime yourself up for optimal health as you advance in years.
Add these exercises to your routine:
Strength train by lifting weights. Your best bet for burning fat in your body and losing weight is to build muscle. Lifting weights is one of the best ways to prevent muscles from shrinking and weakening, and to help them stay strong and flexible.
Work out harder, for shorter periods. There’s no need to slave for hours in the gym at a relatively comfortable pace — not only is that exhausting, but it’s also ineffective for weight loss. Consider high-intensity workouts that you can complete in just a short amount of time, like eight minutes. You must give your all-out effort on different movements, like skipping, running and cycling, and combine them with short rest periods.
Stretch and stay flexible. Being in your 40s means that your muscles are slowly shortening, tightening and becoming more prone to injury. You can prevent this by maintaining flexibility, which you can achieve through stretching. Yoga and Pilates are excellent workouts that can incorporate stretching and flexibility exercises into your routine. Aim to hold stretches, without bouncing, for about 10 to 15 seconds to really improve your flexibility.
Try quick bursts of movement. Jumping, skipping, running, hopping and climbing stairs are all excellent moves for slowing down bone density loss.
Going the distance. Running is a great way for women over 40 to stay in shape. It’s best to mix up your running routine to get the best weight loss results, like increasing difficulty by using intervals (alternating periods of walking with running) or increasing the incline on a treadmill for a more challenging run.