For most women at 40, the metabolic rate in which we burn calories drops and you will really start to notice the changes as you hit 50. . Thus you will notice drop in muscle tone and bone density with an increase of hormone fluctuations. You also may find that fitness and nutrition routines that previously worked for weight loss and muscle gain, often stop working. Talk about challenges! While all those changes are challenging, we need to approach fitness a little differently and look at this as an opportunity for you to be in the best shape of your life.

When we are younger, doing basic movement or cardio exercises are very effective. Once you get to 40, you need to add strength or resistance training if you haven’t already, this is the key to success! By adding strength training you will be adding new muscle mass and maintaining good overall health and bone density, not to mention toned upper arms. As building muscle increases our ability to burn calories, perform activities of daily living and change the way our clothes fit. To build muscle, we don’t have lift 100 pound barbells, start by using body weight or a light dumbbell and build up from there. Strength training to build strong quads, arms, legs and hips is important for mobility and balance and flexibility as women age. It is recommended that you exercise a minimum of three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes. Try adding whole-body strength training to your routine with exercises such as pushups or wall presses.

After 50, our muscles and joints become more susceptible to injury, which means initially taking strength training slow and easy. Start with low-impact exercises or low weights and be sure to include lots of stretches before, during and after our workouts. Preventing injury becomes extra important after 50 because the recovery can be more difficult and have caused some to give up. If it doesn’t feel right or it causes pain, you shouldn’t do that exercise. When in a class, just do something else while the exercise that is more difficult is being performed.. just keep your body moving, or better yet ask for an alternative option. Some often jump too fast into intense cardio routines. It’s a mistake to try to do too much too soon, make small changes that become habitual.

Sleep and diet also factor into fitness after 50. Much of the muscle rebuilding and recovery takes place during sleep. Studies have shown that people who are consistently sleep-deprived (fewer than six hours of sleep per night) have more difficulty losing weight and maintaining weight loss than those who get a good night’s sleep. And, regardless of how hard we exercise, if our diet is poor, we will never actually see muscles, or improve our trouble spots unless we make sound nutritional choices.