Fitness at 40
Work smarter, not harder, as you enter your fabulous 40s
They say 40 is the new 30, so don't be scared
about hitting that milestone. Still, be aware of one truth that
hasn't changed: After 40, women lose muscle mass and their
metabolism drops. The good news is, simple strength training can
reawaken a healthier, younger you.
What happens at 40?
Most women in their 20s and 30s tackle college, career and kids
- or a combination of all three. "Our
metabolism is cranked up," says Bobby Morrow, a spokesman for the
American Council on Exercise.
By 40, our muscles react to life's slower pace with a "use it or
lose it" response. "Our bodies are
very efficient. They start shutting things down if you're not
using them, much like the father who
walks through the house flipping off all the lights in empty
rooms," Morrow says.
In fact, according to ACE, adults lose four to six pounds of
muscle tissue per decade.
Experts recommend 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity most
days of the week. "It's really important after 40 to regain muscle
mass. We do this by strength training," Morrow says. Common
+ Weight lifting
+ Resistance bands and exercise balls
+ Push-ups, crunches and squats
+ Yoga or Pilates
Next - and this is where your smarts come in - Morrow
encourages women to limit strength training
to twice a week. "As you get older, you need more time to
recover," he says.
So, maybe for all the talk about life being "downhill after 40,"
we just need to get a resistance band
and march right back up that hill. "The good news is, we don't
really 'lose' muscle mass," Morrow
says. It just shrinks, and with some really good exercise you can
bring it back."
- By Laurie Davies