If you are not strength training, then you have no idea how much better your life could get as a woman over 50. In fact, if you are not strength training right now, you should start as it is never too late. Why is strength training so important for women? Women’s bodies seem to age faster than men mainly due to lower levels of testosterone, but that does not mean that women need to shrivel up into old prunes. Once you experience the magical benefits of weight lifting post 50, you will regret not starting earlier!
Improves Hormonal Profile
As you know, menopause wrecks hormone levels. With estrogen levels now lower, its protective benefits are greatly diminished; levels of testosterone and progesterone are also a lot lower. Weight lifting triggers the body into generating small amounts of these hormones which helps replace what was lost. Even small increases can have positive effects.
As your hormone levels drop after menopause, so does your muscle mss and consequently your strength. Muscle is absolutely essential as it keep the body together and moving as pain-free as possible. Very old people suffer from significant muscle atrophy; movement becomes difficult; functional strength limits their ability to perform daily tasks. Strength training keeps muscle synthesis (the act of muscle rebuilding itself) high on the bodies priority list, thus slowing down age-related muscle loss.
Bone Density Is Optimized
One of the biggest health issues of a post-menopausal women is bone loss. As estrogen levels drop, the body begins leaching calcium from bones to fulfill its normal processes. However, strength training stimulates the body to grow new bone tissue, and helps stop or at leas slow down the bone loss issue. Bones support your body and if you keep losing bone density, eventually your bones will get weak, you’ll fall, and maybe experience a life-altering bone break.
As you start to lose bone density, muscle and strength, your sex drive starts to drop too, and often unabated will continue to free-fall. Strength training boosts your libido by helping increase your testosterone and estrogen. When you were young, these hormones were high and we often take for granted the influence they have on regulating our sex drive. Strength training increases your desire to have more sex and who couldn’t use a little more time between the sheets!
You Look Better And Feel Better
While none of us look forward to having our exterior starting to sag, it will start to happen as we continue to age. However through strength training you can slow the process. Weight training benefits your body physically and mentally, improving your outlook on life. If you look good, you’ll feel good!
Among other benefits, you look better because:
- You Maintain More Muscle Mass – muscle toning helps shape your body and keeps you looking firm. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you are a curvy woman, you most likely already have good muscle mass. Toning those muscles improves muscle mass and makes you look great, especially in the thighs, hamstrings and glutes.
- You Lose Body Fat – it is a common tendency to gain body fat as we age. However, a bonus of having more muscle is that you burn more calories per day. If you maintain a healthy diet, a calorie deficit will have you losing excess body fat and reshaping your figure the way you want.
- Endorphins Are Released – these feel good brain chemicals make for a powerful mood booster. If you feel in a better mood, you conduct yourself with greater confidence. And we know, confidence is sexy. that can lead to more sex.
4 Ways to Build Muscles Quickly and Consistently
There are a number of ways to build muscles quickly and consistently even if you are over 50. More importantly, you can achieve both of these goals without injuring yourself, getting bored or giving up because you think building muscle is too tough. Here are 4 secrets to success:
Consistency is key to most successes in life. You have to be consistent when trying to build muscle or burn fat. Many people search for the perfect work out or the best weight loss program and hop from one to the next. The truth is that the BEST routine or diet is one you will stick to. Do your work out every day you are scheduled for it, rain or shine, and no matter how busy or tired you might feel. Give your work out sessions the same importance you would to a doctor’s appointment and see what a difference it will make to your physique.
In terms of scheduling, only do strength training every 24 to 48 hours in order to protect yourself from injury. Having said that, alternate with cardio activities on the other days when you are not lifting weights. Walking, tai chi, yoga, cycling and swimming are all low impact cardio, but can help build lean muscle. If you miss a day due to illness, there is no need to skip 2 or 3 days or give up completely. Just pick up where you left off.
Many people new to lifting try to build muscle overnight after years just sitting on the sofa. As a result, they lift weights that are far too heavy for them, usually get injured, and end their efforts to build muscle before they’ve ever even got started.
A more sensible plan is to start out with a light weight, and do 8 lifts per set if you can do so comfortably. Consider that to be 1 set. Do 1 set for each of the exercises you plan to include as part of your workout routine. Keep track of all your work in a weight lifting log.
Gradually increase the repetitions, such as 12 or 16, then the number of sets until you are able to do 3 sets comfortably. Then move up to the next weight, drop the number of repetitions and start the process all over again. Lifting increasingly heavier weights will lead safely to even stronger muscles.
Have realistic goals
Everyone has different reasons for working out with light weights. Some want to lose weight, others to tone and trim what they already have. Some women hate sagging, flabby upper arms. Most men want great biceps and rock hard abs.
There are hundreds of weight lifting positions to try using dumbbells, barbells, wrist weights and ankle weights. Set your goals and decide which exercises will help you achieve your goals and what equipment will be best to target any trouble spots. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a personal trainer to get you started on the right track.
Chances are you did not get out of shape overnight, so it is unrealistic to think you can get into shape in a week. Having said that, lifting weights consistently will enable you to safely build muscle quickly for a fitter, more attractive you.
You should be strength training and pumping iron regardless of your age. Ideally, you should have started in your twenties, but it is never too late to start. You’ll be glad you started a year or two down the line, when guys younger than you stop you in the street and ask you if your daughter is your sister! (Talk about an ego boost!)