My lady clients who are over 40 are constantly telling me that they just can’t believe all that’s going on with their bodies that nobody bothered to warn them about. The number one complaint is the weight gain experienced when nothing much in their diet or exercise routine has changed over the years, yet suddenly, they are packing on pounds and it seems to be showing the most in the mid section.
There are two main culprits behind this over 40 weight gain amongst women:
1. Slowed metabolism.
As any of us get older, 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. Maybe this isn’t a big surprise to many, but what you might find surprising is that the usual response 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 the lowered metabolism. This is terrible for your metabolism and it will not help you achieve lasting weight loss.
Grazing all day long on small quantities of healthful items such as veggies and lean protein allows your body to run at an optimum metabolic rate. When you starve yourself, your body’s metabolism slows even more because what you’ve done is put it on survival mode. It stores everything it gets because it’s not sure when it will get another bite of energy. When you feed it frequently throughout the day, it does just the opposite. It burns everything because it’s being provided with energy frequently.
The other culprit to female weight gain after 40 is hormone balance.
There are many important stages in a woman’s life that we all seem to talk a lot about. Adolescence, the child-bearing years and then of course the hot-flash ridden menopausal stage. But what lies between having children and menopause? This hellish time called perimenopause is just now being recognised by the medical community as being the stage prior to menopause in which there can be severe and noticeable symptoms that deserve attention. Weight gain, hair loss, extreme mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and inability to focus are some of the lovely symptoms associated with this time in a woman’s life that can last from just a few months to many years prior to actual menopause.
Why? Well, quite honestly, it’s the body’s way of telling you to stop for a moment and pay attention to taking care of YOU! There aren’t a lot of great medical options out there for treating the symptoms of perimenopause and that’s only if you actually get somebody to listen to you and help you in the first place. What you can do, what you can do all on your own, is to take care of yourself. Proper nutrition and exercise are your biggest defense against the symptoms of perimenopause. Vitamins, minerals and protein are the basic components of hormones in the body and when your body isn’t receiving adequate nutrition, there is bound to be even more imbalance. You need a wide variety, a rainbow if you will, of veggies in your diet.
Exercise not only aids in weight loss and overall good health, but believe me, it’s a heck of a good way to take a bad mood and make it better. More and more over 40s are taking to the gym and hiring personal trainers such as myself to assist with their weight loss goals and stress levels.
It won’t solve everything, but eating a wide variety of veggies and lean protein and exercising regularly will most certainly have an affect on your overall health, hormonal balance and weight loss.
Here’s some other interesting facts to note:
- As we age out maximal heart rate drops by 1 beat per year
- Cardiac Output decreases by approximately 20-30% as we age
- 40% of muscle fibres are lost between the early adulthood and 80yrs
- Strength and inability to move quickly reduce with age
- There is a reduction in bone density with aging
- Women in particular are prone to Osteoporosis due to decreasing levels of estrogen in post-menopausal stages.
- Joint degeneration occurs commonly in the over 55 age group which due to bad posture and inactivity. Osteoarthritis sets in and can effect range of movement.
Simon’s Fitness Tips for Over-40s
- As we age, there’s more reason to kick-start a fitness programme, from maintaining your heart, to maintaining bone density, muscle strength and self-esteem, the list goes on. So get started tomorrow!
- Begin a structured weight training programme with a personal trainer to help reduce floppy skin and increase 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’re really great fun!
- Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
- Set yourself mini challenges and attempt to build on your results over time. Walk further, be quicker, lift slightly heavier weights etc. This way you will see results quicker and gain a great sense of achievement.
- If you experience pain or discomfort slow down. Let your body tell you when it’s time to reduce the intensity or stop.
- Keep hydrated throughout – this will not only prevent dehydrated but also flush toxins from your body.