When talking with other women my age, two of the most common complaints I hear are no energy and weight gain. And while yes, hormones can contribute to weight gain, excess fat storage and energy loss, we can’t sit around and do nothing waiting to feel better. I wish it were that easy! 🙂
Yes, I know I just said you complain most about not having any energy and you’re probably too tired to exercise…but trust me on this one: Just Do It. Don’t feel like you have to go out and run marathons or exercise for an hour every day, but just move. It’s okay to start with five minutes a day if that’s what you can do-just do something different than you’re already doing, i.e. take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get it? You’ll find the more you do, the more you’ll be able to do and the more you’ll want to do and the more you’ll begin to feel better and have more energy. 😉
Muscle atrophy (loss) is pretty inevitable as we age which in turn causes the dreaded sagging skin and of other infamous body parts, but muscle atrophy is also responsible for a drastic decline in metabolism. Adding weights to your workout is critical in jump-starting your metabolism to not only help tighten that sag, but also increase weight and fat loss. But again, start slooowwww. Don’t try to go with 20# on your first day and go all Arnold and such. Start with two water bottles or a five-pound bag of sugar–something to give you some resistance when you move. And also don’t think you’re gonna ‘bulk up’ by adding some weights and resistance to your workout–this is a myth and excuse why women don’t exercise more. I’ve written a post dedicated to metabolism entitled How to Increase Your Metabolism.
Here are a few benefits of why women should add weights to their workout.
- Increases metabolism
- Improves bone strength
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
- Improves energy and mood
- Improves sleep
- Improves muscle tone
Get plenty of sleep.
I know, I know, you’re running around like a crazy women most of the time trying to manage a household, everyone else’s busy schedules and your own hectic work schedule, all while trying to raise your kids and train your husband. You’re staying up late unable to turn off your brain because you’re going thru everything that’s still left to do. And when you do finally fall asleep, you awaken suddenly to what feels like your insides are burning and you begin to throw off any and all covers that may be possibly touching your body. Then only within the next few minutes, the hot flash passes and now you’re freezing and unable to go back to sleep. I get it.
Sleep is not only a luxury, but a necessity for the body’s optimal health. Sleep is our body’s time to recover, rebuild and repair. Lack of sleep can cause over production of Cortisol (one of those hormones I mentioned) which contributes to increased appetite, increased body fat, higher blood sugar, obesity, diabetes, fatigue and much, much more.
Drink more water.
I know water is not everyone’s drink of choice, but knowing just how beneficial it is to our body, it should be. Our body is composed of about 60% water, so it’s no wonder why our body is so thirsty for it. A few basic bodily functions of water include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. Drinking more water improves circulation, improves cellular health and function, improves energy, improves joint health and lubrication, improves skin health, aides in weight loss and appetite control. And if an power plant requires water to produce energy, why wouldn’t our own bodies require that same water supply to produce energy in the body? Did you know it takes as little as a 2-3% water deficit to cause signs of dehydration? So the first onset of fatigue and malaise, consider how much or how little water you’ve had to drink and go grab a glass or two.
And if you’re having a hard time gulping it down, add freshly squeezed lemon as a natural diuretic and appetite suppressant.
Clean up your diet.
Decrease sugar. While it’s easier to avoid common sugars and junk food, be aware of hidden sugars, too. Read your labels and check the sugar content. A good rule of thumb is to stay less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. There is one teaspoon for every four grams of sugar so when reading your label, convert those sugar grams into teaspoons for a better visual on just how much sugar you’ll be consuming. For example a 20 ounce regular soda contains about 30 grams of sugar. 30 divided by 4 =7.5 teaspoons in that bottle. And if it’s more than one serving, don’t forget to multiply that! Wowzers that’s a lot of sugar!!
Avoid white foods. White foods such as white bread, white rice, white potatoes and white pasta which all convert to sugar very quickly in the body causing a quick release of insulin which can cause fat retention, inflammation and weight gain amongst other roadmaps for disaster when we consume way too much sugar. I talk more about how foods convert to sugar in another post explaining The Glycemic Index.
Add more fiber to your day. Did you know we need 25-35 grams of fiber per day? Fiber helps maintain a healthy colon, aides in the absorption of vitamins and minerals, can help lower cholesterol, as well as lower that blood sugar we’ve been talking about. A healthy colon and digestive system is imperative in losing weight and being as healthy as you can be. About 70% of our immune system is in our digestive tract and if it’s not working right, then nothing will work right! Think about your gut/colon as the basement in your home–it must be built well, without damage in order to build a solid house upon it.
Do you have any Workout Tips for Women Over 40 you’d like to share?
Here’s a picture I pulled from my Instagram page from a run last week!
Happy Monday and I hope you have a fabulous week!