I’ve been in my forties for a year or three now already and I am becoming increasingly aware that there are changes coming my way. It can be quite a confusing time, but in this blog I want to talk about the importance of strength training during this period. I’m aging alongside my clients, therefore I work with many women in their 40s and 50s. Some have already come to me, as already have heard about the benefits, and it is amazing to watch them become stronger for the lives they lead. Some already have arthritis and others want to avoid or delay developing osteoporosis, like they’ve seen in their mothers.
So far in our lives we can get away with being fairly inactive. During our 40s we start to see some changes to our bodies and if you haven’t been doing any exercise now is the time to start. Here are some changes that we can experience as we age.
Our estrogen levels start to decrease during our 40s. Because of this our bone density can lower leading to a higher risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures one we are post menopausal. Strengthening muscles has been shown in studies to improve bone density and therefore reducing this risk.
As well as bone density, muscle mass reduces as we age. Without strong muscles we are limiting what we can do as we get older. We will fatigue quicker when out for a walk, joints will become stiff, and day to day tasks may get more difficult.
I am more and more seeing clients with arthritis. My experience is that strength training has a massively positive effect on their pain levels. Muscle strength helps to support the joints. One of my boot campers is in her 60s, has arthritis in her hip and can really hold her own with the younger members of the group. She has consistently trained throughout her life. There are a couple of exercises she can no longer do, but apart from that she lives a very full and active life.
This is a very personal point, however there is something very powerful about feeling strong. It gives you the feeling you can achieve more and can be so much more independent. I also get a great buzz from lifting heavier and heavier weights knowing I can lift more than some women half my age (not sure what that says about me!).
I will leave you with a small anecdote. My Great Grandmother lived in the tenements in Kilmarnock (near Glasgow) into her 90s still lifting all her shopping up several flights of stairs. This is a wonderful example of regular strength training leading to an independent life well into her old age. What an inspiration! I’m hoping that her genes and my regular strength training will let me live in her footsteps (minus the shared toilet on the stairwell). :)
If you are interested in finding out more about how strength training can help you please email me at email@example.com