Exercise is important when it comes to weight control, there’s no doubt about it. It’s also crucial for overall physical and mental health, but that’s another blog …
When we hit our 40s and 50s, many of us find that we’re gaining weight for seemingly no particular reason. Our doctors tell us to eat less and exercise more to control fat gain. WRONG (to quote our president-elect), or at least not altogether right. .
Studies show that in terms of weight control for older women, shorter, more intense periods of exercise are more effective than long duration, more moderate workouts.
It’s also been shown that in terms of keeping midlife weight gain at bay, strength training should be prioritized over cardio.
This focus on short, intense, strength building exercise has everything to do with the hormonal changes that take place in our bodies as we age. There’s nothing we can do about THAT. But we CAN control weight gain and overall “mushiness” by working WITH the changes rather than against them.
- 2 to 3 days of strength training (20 to 30 minutes in duration) and
- 1 to 2 days of “sprint” exercise (15 to 30 minutes in duration)
“Sprinting” means anything in short bursts that causes you to sweat and breathe heavily, and maybe makes your muscles burn a little bit. Examples would be actual running sprints, hill runs (run up, walk down), jogging up stadium steps (for god’s sake, WALK down those steps!), interval training, etc.
You probably noticed that both types of training should be 30 minutes or less in length. Long duration exercise increases cortisol levels, which tends to lead middle aged bodies to store fat, particularly around the middle (hello “menopot”!).
Now here’s the secret sauce: In addition to your short, intense workouts, take a leisurely 30 to 90 minute walk most days of the week. The emphasis is on “leisure” here – it’s not a power walk.
Ideally, you’ll stroll outside in nature (way more stress-reducing than slogging away on a treadmill) and you’ll head out after your strength training or sprint workout, since cortisol levels would be higher at that point.
But really, any time you can get it in, the cortisol-reducing effects of a relaxing walk, coupled with the training methods I described above, works wonders for most midlife female bodies.
I’d love to share some of my favorite workouts with you … Please subscribe to my newsletter here (http://bit.ly/MLF_FitTips), and I’ll send them to you!