By Devin Almonte
What Happens When You're 40
Happy Birthday! You’re 40. Or maybe you’re in your 40s already. I thought I would help you celebrate with a few gifts:
Gift #1: Slower Metabolism.
I hope you like it! You will gain weight like you’ve always wanted! According to Primary Care Provider, Dr. Kathryn Boling of Maryland, the average woman gains as many as 15 pounds between the ages of 40 and 55.
Gift #2: Decrease in Muscle Mass.
Muscle loss is the single greatest contributor to age-related decline in metabolism. Recent research suggests that women on average will lose muscle mass twice as fast as men the same age. Aren’t you lucky?! And after age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3-5 percent of your muscle mass, which means you are not burning as many calories. So go on and have a another slice of that cake.
Gift #3: Weaker Bones.
Maybe this hasn’t concerned you because you haven’t noticed. This is one that sneaks up on you. So beware, weaker bones come with a lot of risk. It can affect your posture, your height, cause back pain, and lead to more frequent bone breaks.
Gift #4: Stress and hormonal changes.
Life in your 40s can be stressful simply because of things that typically occur during this stage of life: kids, marriage, family, divorce, health issues, financial issues, career pressure, and so forth. Such stress gone awry can affect our health negatively in a myriad of ways, from leaving you feeling exhausted to increasing your risk of various diseases like heart disease. On top of that, there are additional reasons that why you may not deal with stress as well as you used to. According to Naturopathic Doctor Lara Briden, women are three times more likely to suffer anxiety, depression, and insomnia during the five years before menopause. These are called perimenopause and it’s a vulnerable time. Not just because you're busier than ever with career and family, but also because you’ve suddenly lost the progesterone that used to calm and stabilize your stress response system.
Are your 40s feeling that much merrier yet? If you’re not thrilled with the gifts that keep on giving, there are some things you can do about it. One of them is weight training. Keep reading.
Reasons to Weight Train
Weight training is a must once you turn 40. It’s a way to refuel your body with power and combat some of the effects of aging on your body. Just cutting out some calories won't do it anymore like it did when you were in your 20s. Going for a brisk walk is great for your health, but not enough to fight the changes happening to your body. Adding a weight training regime to your health routine is key. It will help increase your focus, reduce body fat, tone muscles and strengthen bones while also combating low energy, mood swings and insomnia. And frankly, weight training just makes you feel darn good about yourself and boosts your confidence. To me, that is reason enough.
Conquer the Fear Head On
Battle of the Bulk
A common fear of weight training is that it will make you too bulky. Remember, as you age you are losing muscle mass; so by using weights you are attempting to gain back what was lost, and not necessarily attempting to "add" more muscle. So you are really trying to get back to where you used to be. However, if you are looking to add significant muscle mass, rest assured that you still won’t bulk up. It's not something that happens by accident. You would have to plan, prep, and commit yourself to bulk up if that is the look you are going for, say like a female body builder might like to achieve.
Did you know that weight training is safer than most sports?
A study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found that the overwhelming impression from the surveys and literature is that both weight training and the weightlifting sport are markedly safer than many other sports, certainly when supervised by qualified people. Perhaps more interestingly, weight training is a great way to prevent injury. According to Stretch Coach, such training improves the strength of the muscles, tendons, and even the ligaments and bones. The stronger muscles and tendons help hold the body in proper alignment and protect the bones and joints when moving or under impact.
I Don’t Know What I’m Doing
Stepping into the weights section at a gym can be pretty intimidating. It’s like walking into your neighbor’s house without knocking, totally uninvited to watch some television. What do you do? Where do you go? Do I say anything to anyone? You feel out of place. Everyone is new at some point and the easiest way to overcome this fear is to introduce yourself to someone. Ask one of the trainers to briefly show you a ten-minute weight routine that would be suitable for you. Come prepared with an online weight training video that you can play on your smartphone and follow along to while you are at the gym. Showing up to the gym with a purpose and a plan really helps. If the gym still scares you, start at home with 3 sets of free weights and a beginner DVD. There’s an oldie but a goodie called Absolute Beginners Fitness: Weight Training - Strength & Tone for Beginners.
How to get Started
And most importantly, just start. Don’t wait. Don’t wait until you feel better. Don’t wait until you have more time. That time will never come. Today is the day.
Health & Wellness Expert - Health, Fitness, Wellness, Beauty