My clients who are over 40 years old constantly believe by telling me that they just can’t do everything that is going on with their bodies that no one bothered to warn them about. The number one complaint is the weight gain experienced when nothing has changed much in their diet or exercise routine over the years, but all of a sudden, they are gaining weight and it seems like more is showing in the midsection.
There are two main culprits behind this 40+ weight gain among women:
1. Slow metabolism.
As any of us age, our metabolism slows down. When this happens, what we used to get away with in terms of diet and lack of exercise suddenly catches up with us. This may not come as a huge surprise to many, but what may surprise you is that the usual answer to this dilemma is probably one of the worst things you can do. Many women simply skip meals and avoid eating when they are hungry to try to reverse the weight gain caused by decreased metabolism. This is terrible for your metabolism and will not help you achieve lasting weight loss.
Spending the entire day on small amounts of healthy foods like vegetables and lean protein allows your body to function at an optimal metabolic rate. When you starve, your body’s metabolism slows down even more because what you’ve done is put it into survival mode. He stores everything he gets because he’s not sure when he’ll get another bite of energy. When you feed him frequently throughout the day, he does the opposite. It burns everything because it is supplied with energy frequently.
The other culprit for female weight gain after 40 is hormonal balance.
There are many important stages in a woman’s life that we all seem to talk about a lot. Adolescence, the childbearing years, and then, of course, the menopausal stage of hot flashes. But what about having children and menopause? This hellish time called perimenopause is only now being recognized by the medical community as the pre-menopausal stage where there may be severe and noticeable symptoms that warrant attention. Weight gain, hair loss, extreme mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and the inability to concentrate are some of the beautiful symptoms associated with this time in a woman’s life that can last from a few months to many years before the actual menopause.
Why? Well, honestly, it’s the body’s way of telling you to stop for a moment and pay attention to taking care of yourself! There aren’t many great medical options for treating perimenopause symptoms and that’s only if you really get someone to listen and help you in the first place. What you can do, what you can do on your own, is take care of yourself. Proper nutrition and exercise are your best defense against perimenopausal symptoms. Vitamins, minerals and proteins are the building blocks of hormones in the body and when your body is not getting proper nutrition, there is likely to be an even bigger imbalance. You need a wide variety, a rainbow so to speak, of vegetables in your diet.
Not only does exercise help you lose weight and overall good health, but trust me, it’s a great way to eliminate and improve your bad mood. More and more people over 40 are hitting the gym and hiring personal trainers like me to help them with their weight loss goals and stress levels.
It won’t solve everything, but eating a wide variety of vegetables and lean proteins and exercising regularly is sure to have an effect on your overall health, hormonal balance, and weight loss.
Here are some other cool facts to keep in mind:
- As we age, the maximum heart rate decreases by 1 beat per year.
- Cardiac output decreases by approximately 20-30% as we age
- 40% of muscle fibers are lost between adulthood and 80 years.
- Strength and the inability to move quickly decrease with age.
- There is a reduction in bone density with aging.
- Women in particular are prone to osteoporosis due to decreased estrogen levels in the postmenopausal stages.
- Joint degeneration commonly occurs in the 55+ age group due to poor posture and inactivity. Osteoarthritis appears and can affect range of motion.
Simon’s Fitness Tips for Over 40s
- As we age, there are more reasons to start a fitness program, from maintaining the heart to maintaining bone density, muscle strength, and self-esteem, the list goes on. Start tomorrow!
- Begin a structured weight training program with a personal trainer to help reduce sagging skin and improve your cardiovascular health.
- Join a local exercise class that will provide you with a great social scene as well as the benefits of structured sessions, they are really a lot of fun!
- Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.
- Check out mini challenges and try to build on their results over time. Walk further, go faster, lift a little heavier weights, etc. This way, you will see results faster and get a great sense of accomplishment.
- If you feel pain or discomfort, slow down. Let your body tell you when it’s time to reduce intensity or stop.
- Stay hydrated at all times – Not only will this prevent dehydration, but it will also flush toxins out of your body.