Health & Fitness

Great Workouts for Women Over 40

Hitting 40 is a milestone… that can wreak havoc on your body! Even the most dedicated gym diva may feel that her body parts, which were once as tight as a washboard, have headed south, and we don’t mean for an island getaway.

Physical changes, which often occur between 40 and 65, include loss of muscle tissue and bone density, and a dip in metabolism – that means fewer calories burned. If you change nothing in your program, you could wind up gaining weight instead of maintaining.

Some studies suggest that decreasing calories to 80 percent of your normal daily intake can help combat these changes. And a change in the way you work out could help you burn calories more efficiently while toning those pesky areas that are dipping and drooping.

Gennaro Ferra, certified fitness and nutrition coach, former Mr. Australia and creator of POWERPOSE, specializes in training bodies over 40 to look and feel their best. Here he guides us through five amazing modes of exercise that will help keep you looking your best. (http://www.gennaroferra.com/).

STAIRS. To decrease fat and build muscle, stair training is ideal. “You are lifting your own body weight; building and toning your legs and glutes while engaged in aerobics workout as well,” Ferra shares. He suggests building a circuit of sprinting up the stairs as fast as you can and jogging back down the stairs. If possible, add a small run between the circuits as well, for 25 to 30 minute s.  “It’s an aerobic and anaerobic workout at the same time,” Ferra says. On the Stairmaster? Ferra suggests adding a leg kickback for an even tighter squeeze on the glutes.

BIKING. If you are suffering from muscle strain, knee and foot issues or back pain, biking is an effective cardiovascular workout that lessens the strain on your muscles and joints. This great low-impact activity also does wonders to shape your lower body. Ferra says, if you are biking outside to “choose a path with some hills, which is going to challenge your legs more.” Adding hills to your program also means you’ll rise from the bike seat, which will help sculpt your arms and upper body. Aim for 45 minutes to an hour of biking.

SWIMMING. Time to dust off your bathing cap and hit the water. “It’s a fantastic workout. It opens up the chest and works the whole body,” Ferrera declares. “My dad swims and he’s 82.” This non-impact, aerobic activity not only keeps your heart rate up, it builds your muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance, helping maintain a healthy heart and lungs. “If you’re doing the breast stroke and bending your knees, you’re using more of your glutes and hamstrings, and it will help shape those areas, especially if they’ve gotten soft or flat,” Ferra says. Aim for 35 to 45 minutes of activity.

KICKBOXING. This is a calorie-scorching workout that tones the entire body.  A series of punches and kicks can be combined with low-impact aerobics for a full workout.  The upper and lower body movements both originate from your core, so you are constantly working your abs throughout an entire routine, and a 45-minute cardio kickboxing routine can burn up to 500 calories for a 140 lbs. woman. But Ferra cautions to make sure you learn proper format of throwing a punch or kick so you don’t put unnecessary pressure on your joints. Check out Master Wong’s Kickboxing Basic Series for some fundamentals on stance and delivery. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWlSRRLp0FE)

As always, check with your doctor before beginning or changing any exercise program.



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