Some people say that once you hit 40, your body starts to change far more rapidly than before.
Obviously, every person differs but certainly, your collagen stores deplete faster and you lose muscle tone, your metabolism also starts to slow down.
Then there are hormones to factor in, your estrogen levels start to drop and that’s yet another reason why your skin won’t feel as firm and supple as it was in your 20’s and 30’s.
Your level of fitness will also drop, especially if you’ve never done any exercise before!
All that energy you found you had in your 20’s and 30’s will gradually lessen and it’s possible you’ll start to feel lethargy and tiredness more often than you used to.
Those late nights you used to have in your 20’s and 30’s soon take their toll in your 40’s!
It certainly sounds gloomy but it doesn’t have to be.
Taking care of your body is important, at any age, but to improve life expectancy, energy levels and that youthful feeling you really should get used to exercising.
There are lots of different types of exercises that work well for women over the age of 40.
Although any exercise is good for you – some will deliver better and faster results than others!
Yoga is a wonderful exercise to try.
It’s different from going to the gym and performing a 40-minute workout because it’s slow and it also involves deep breathing so if you have a particularly busy and stressful lifestyle, it’s an excellent option for you.
Yoga can change your body shape.
Working from the core, it’s about balance and stretching your muscles so you gain strength and tone up.
As well as working out your whole body, it teaches you how to switch off your mind so you concentrate on making the most of each individual movement.
The best way to reap the benefit of yoga is to practice a session at least once a week and combine it with some form of cardio exercise for 20 minutes twice a week (swimming, cycling, power walking or similar).
Need to tone up your glutes and your legs?
It’s always best to combine these types of exercises with cardio to get real results and burn fat too.
There are different variations of squats.
– (Stand with your feet hip-width apart and toes facing forwards), gently lower your body down into a squat (imagine you’re sitting onto a chair, don’t go too low or you won’t get the benefit).
– Stick your bottom out as you lower into your squat and position your arms out in front of you as well.
– As you raise your body back up to a standing position, tuck your bottom in and place your arms by your side.
– Repeat your squats 12 times, slowly.
Try Sumo squats too, these work the inner and outer thighs:
– Stand with your feet hip-width apart but turn your feet outwards and your knees outwards too, as you squat down.
– Repeat Sumo squats twelve times.
– You should try three sets of each every day combined with other exercises for best results.
Great for your core strength and for shaping up your tummy, try a plank.
– If you’ve never done one before, start with by lying down on a floor with your elbows bent and running along the floor.
– Then, raise your feet onto your toes (so your feet are in tiptoe position) and lift your body upwards (keep your elbows on the floor).
– Don’t raise your hips too much or you might hurt your back.
– Stay in your plank for 20 seconds, gradually increase the time you plank until you can do at least 60 seconds plus.
To make it harder, put your hands in a press-up position and raise up to a plank.
A side plank is an excellent way to work the waist and hips.
– Start by lying on your side.
– Then, lying on one elbow, place one foot on top of the other and raise your body upwards.
– Put your other arm in the air and hold for 20 seconds, gradually adding time as you become more accustomed to this exercise.
– Repeat the side plank on the other side of your body.
4. Go Walking
If you don’t like to exercise – don’t panic.
Walking is always good for you and it gets you outside into the fresh air.
Everyone needs Vitamin D as it’s essential for healthy bones so you’ll be upping your dose especially as vitamin D comes from sunlight so it’s very difficult to supplement.
Go for a 20-minute walk every day or if you can’t fit it in, walk an extra bus stop or park further away than you normally would.
If you enjoy walking, add some ankle weights and carry some small dumbbells, swinging your arms to really get your heart rate going and challenge yourself!
5. Try Jogging
If walking doesn’t challenge you enough, then get moving with jogging!
Did you know that a 20-minute jog burns around 11 calories a minute (depending on your weight)?
So a 20-minute jog could burn 200 calories plus and it speeds up your metabolism so you keep on burning!
It’s also easy to do – even if you’re over 40!
You don’t need to sprint, take it slow, try one of the downloadable apps and find something that coaches you to run for at least 20 minutes.
These apps usually start with short jogs of just 1 or 2 minutes and gradually move upwards so within a few weeks, you could even get to 30 minutes of jogging three times a week.
Plugin your favorite music or listen to a podcast to pass the time and vary where you jog because it’s always nice to explore new places.
6. Go Swimming
If you don’t like jogging or perhaps you worry about your joints (jogging can be harsh on arthritic joints), then try swimming.
It’s exceptionally gentle on joints and muscles yet tones up the whole body and you can take it easy to begin with.
You don’t need to join a gym either, there are plenty of local swimming pools and they’re usually quiet during the daytime when the children are at school.
Start with gentle breaststroke and build up so you can swim a few lengths, once you’ve mastered that, try something different like the front crawl, backstroke or for strong arms, chest and back, nothing beats the butterfly!