How Women Can Enjoy Vibrant Health at 40+

Woman treading water

Have fun in the water! You can swim, do water aerobics, use a kickboard and/or fins.

Regular exercise is crucial to maintaining a toned physique and vibrant health as you grow older. If you have not been exercising regularly, then choosing to engage in an enjoyable activity such as swimming, walking, or running provides a good start. If your flexibility is not where it used to be or you’ve been engaging in high impact exercise for years, when you pass forty, high impact exercise routines such as aerobics may not feel as good. This is because the connective tissue becomes less elastic with disuse or misuse.

Because of this,  more women are switching to or taking up yoga and Pilates. To maintain my vibrant health, I incorporate a 10-minute yoga routine into my pre-work morning and do an hour of yoga twice a week because yoga helps greatly with flexibility but also with calming me and minimizing stress. Just as much as yoga and Pilates are good for flexibility, they also aid significantly with balance.

It is vitally important to keep the heart healthy with cardiovascular training as well. Power yoga can have cardiovascular benefits. In addition to walking/running/swimming, you can use the elliptical machines at the gym or head to a state park with cross country trails and do some cross country skiing or hiking. (For the skiing, you of course need snow which definitely has not been a problem in the northern states this winter!! Shucks, even some portions of the south had days where you could cross country ski on the streets!)

Resistance training and weight bearing activities not only strengthen and build your muscles but they also increase your bone strength. Muscles atrophy without use and your bones lose density without use. These two are related. You can pop extra strength calcium pills but, unless you have an ailment which causes calcium deficiency, nothing will impact your bone density like the simple act of doing weight training exercises. And that’s training with enough weights to make the last couple of reps difficult to lift, NOT just swinging weights or cables which, unfortunately, I see so many women do.

To reiterate, a well-rounded exercise program that keeps you in vibrant health and gives you a toned physique targets your cardiovascular fitness (your heart health), your muscle tone (and bone density), and your flexibility and balance. Do some type of aerobic exercise you consider fun and mix it up! Your body adapts to the same activity and becomes efficient at doing it so you won’t burn as many calories after you’ve “mastered” that exercise. For example, do a 45 minute weight workout followed by a 15-minute yoga practice. Or dance around the living room for an hour.

Here’s to your health!

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