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We all know we should exercise, and in fact, exercise can make our lives much better in all sorts of ways. Whether you’ve been exercising for years or you are waiting until now to get started, not to worry. There are easy ways to get started, just as there are different exercises that are best for us at various ages.
Whether you’re 20 or 60, you can get started with an exercise program as long as you take it slow and don’t overdo it, especially in the beginning. In addition to this advice, it is also important to remember that our exercise needs change as we get older, which a lot of women don’t realize. Continue reading to learn which exercises we should be doing at different ages.
If You’re in Your 20s …
If you’re in your 20s, it’s best to participate in both cardiovascular activity and exercises to increase muscle tone, such as weight-lifting. This doesn’t mean you have to try and look like a female body-builder, because even minor muscle-building can make a big difference when you get older. For cardiovascular health, you can jog, spin, or hop on a stationary bicycle. After all, the more fun you’re having the more you’re likely to stick with it for a very long time.
You might as well start building up bone and muscle strength now, because to do so means you are less likely to experience osteoporosis and muscle loss as you age, not to mention other problems. What do most experts recommend for women in their 20s? First, start with pushups, squats, and lunges, then move on to exercises that improve the glutes, hips, and the vastus medialis oblique, or VMO.
Just what is the VMO? It’s the inner knee muscle, and the more you strengthen it, the less of a chance you have of suffering from hip and knee injuries later in life. To do this, try exercises such as:
- The glute bridge: this is where you lie on your back and bend the knees with your feet flat on the floor. Next, raise your hips and once you get them high in the air, hold them for a few seconds before relaxing and going back down.
- Side leg lifts: with this exercise, you lie on the floor on your side and lift the top leg, then turn over and exercise with the other leg.
- Clams: this one is similar to the side leg lifts, except you keep your feet together and do not lift the entire leg. You are merely lifting and lowering your leg from hip to ankle.
- Single leg hip hinge: stand with your hands by your side and, in one motion, lift one leg and stretch it out in the back of you as far as it will go, while at the same time stretching out your hand as far as it will go. Once you return to the original position, you have completed one rep.
In addition to this advice, it is also important to remember that our exercise needs change as we get older, which a lot of women don’t realize. Continue reading to learn which exercises we should be doing at different ages.Tweet
Of course, you’ll want to start out doing very few reps – preferably no more than 10 – then building up to roughly three sets of 30 for the best results. Again, take your time and slowly build-up to the number of reps and sets you wish to do. If you want to make things even more challenging, you can add resistance bands and other equipment that can also make the exercises a little easier on your muscles and joints.
It is much easier to start exercising in your 20s than it is later on in life, so getting started as soon as possible is your best bet for enjoying a lifetime of great health.
HELPFUL TIP! Three days of cardio training and two days of weight training per week are the best things you can do at this stage of your life.
Exercises for Women in Their 30s …
When you’re in your 30s, two types of exercise are highly recommended: pelvic floor conditioning and interval training. Let’s face it, incontinence isn’t just something that older women suffer with; in fact, women of all ages can suffer from a host of problems related to weak pelvic floor muscles.
One of the best exercises you can do is HIIT training – high-intensity interval training. It goes something like this: warm-up for roughly five minutes. Next, exercise for 15 seconds of hard activity, then 45 seconds of moderate activity for a total of 10 minutes. Wait two minutes, then repeat the process except go for 45 seconds of regular activity instead of moderate.
Just what types of exercises can you participate in with HIIT training? Almost anything, including stationary bicycles, treadmills, and ellipticals. Remember, if you enjoy a certain exercise you’re more likely to stick with it, so always choose something that’s fun to do.
As far as pelvic floor conditioning exercises are concerned, there is simply nothing better than a good old-fashioned Kegel exercise. In case you’re unfamiliar with these, you simply sit in a comfortable position and tighten up the vaginal muscles, then release them. They should feel like they do when you’re urinating and you stop the flow. If you’ve ever stopped your urine in mid-stream, you already know how to do a Kegel.
Of course, as with other exercises, you should start out slow with your Kegels, only doing one or two at a time until you build up to more. In fact, you can also use a variety of Kegel weights and Ben Wa balls to make the exercise a little more challenging and to see the results much faster. What are Kegel weights and balls? They are devices that are inserted into the vagina to aid in doing your Kegels, and they work extremely well.
Other exercises recommended for women in their 30s are exercises such as Pilates, which ironically also helps you improve the pelvic floor muscles. Speaking of pelvic floor muscles, you can indeed strengthen them at any age, even when you get older. However, these exercises are much easier and will produce better and quicker results when you’re younger.
HELPFUL TIP! It’s a great idea to work with a personal trainer, especially if you aren’t reaching your fitness goals.
Exercises for Women in Their 40s …
Okay, ladies, we all know how challenging your 40s can be because this is usually the time when hormonal changes start to occur, but this is the wrong time to stop exercising if that’s what you’re tempted to do. If you could sum up exercising in your 40s, the description would center around one word: balance.
What does this mean? It’s really rather simple. Your 40s is the perfect time to switch your exercise routine and start doing something you haven’t been doing so far. In fact, if you’re in your 40s and your exercise routine hasn’t produced the results you were hoping for, it may be because it’s simply time to change to another form of exercise.
If you’re a runner, you can switch to a Pilates class. If you’ve been working out on an elliptical all this time, you may want to start taking Yoga classes. If you’ve never before done so, try using one of the many exercise videos offered online, which offer a wide selection of exercise types and even include spot-toning for tummies, arms, and more.
One more thing – this is a great time to take seriously your muscle-toning exercises. After all, you don’t want to be one of those old ladies with flabby underarms, and you don’t have to be if you include some mild weight-lifting into your exercise routine. Especially if the exercise you’ve been doing is high-impact, you’ll need a variety of exercises to even things out and get your entire body into better shape.
HELPFUL TIP! Try to incorporate exercises that improve all of your major muscle groups into your regular exercise routine.
If You’re in Your 50s or Older …
If you think you can slow down once you reach 50, you’re only partly correct. In your 50s and beyond, your recovery is just as important as your exercises. You need a day of rest after intense exercising because your body doesn’t recuperate as quickly as it used to. In between days of exercising, you can take a nap, do some stretching, or allow yourself a “do-nothing” day where you simply relax all day long.
It is also a good idea to practice balance training because getting and keeping your balance is much more difficult once you reach 50. Good suggestions for this balance-training include Yoga, the Bosu balance trainer ball, and strength exercises that require you to stand on one leg for a period of time. All of these activities will be difficult when you first get started, but over time they should become much easier.
Another tip that helps older individuals is to concentrate on consistency with your exercise routine. As we age, especially if we’ve been exercising regularly for quite some time, we tend to be inconsistent with our exercise routine, and that isn’t good. You need to exercise at this point more than you ever have, so aim for three to four days of cardio exercises and two or more days of strength training per week for the best results.
Leg strength is also important once you reach 50, so try to include exercises such as tennis, jogging, and any other activity where your feet are moving a lot. If your knees are suffering at this point, you can opt for exercises such as swimming, spinning, rowing, and exercising on the elliptical instead. All of these exercises can help build up the muscles in your legs without making your knees and other joints ache and hurt.
HELPFUL TIP! Try taking a 30-minute walk three or four days a week. You can even break up the 30 minutes into three 10-minute sessions if you like.
Beyond Your 60s …
If you’re 60 or older, now is the time to switch to lower-impact exercises, as well as focus on your spine, shoulders, and core. Mild, safe cardio activity and low-intensity strength-training can help you do this, and it is also a great way to decrease the chances of any injuries or falling while you’re exercising. Cardio will help get rid of that flabby midsection, and weight training will help with muscle tone and even coordination.
At this age, resistance training becomes even more important and finding activities that stimulate both your mind and body is extremely beneficial. If you do try something new, remember to start out slow, and just like in other age groups, keep in mind that consistency is what will work best in the end.
You may also want to take advantage of the videos that are specifically made for senior citizens, especially senior citizens who have arthritis and other medical problems. These videos are usually available with a Closed Caption option and include a variety of exercises, including Yoga, balance and strength exercises, exercises to increase your core strength, and even exercises you can do while you’re sitting.
HELPFUL TIP! Sticking with safe cardio movements helps your body in a number of ways, so don’t try to set any records when you’re in your 60s or older.
Cardiovascular activities and weight training are important at any age, which is why they are included in the recommended exercises for each age category. Even if you find yourself at age 40 or older and realize you’ve never before exercised regularly, it is never too late to start. Just get a complete checkup and let your doctor know that you’re planning to start an exercise routine, and the rest should fall into place.
Women have amazing bodies, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need a bit of help along the way to maturity. Regular exercise keeps your body and your mind clear, fit, and strong, and there are a variety of exercises that are perfect for any age group. All of them have one thing in common: they keep you moving, and keeping yourself moving is the best thing you can do for yourself at any age.
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