10 Best Exercises For Women After 40

40 is a funny age. On the one hand, you are finally at a point where you don’t need or crave others’ approval to be happy. On the other hand, your body is betraying you. Whereas once upon a time you could eat as many Oreos as your heart desired, never do a situp and still rock six-pack abs, now it seems like you can’t even eat a granola bar without it showing in your middle. And don’t even think about skipping a workout; just one missed leg day and you’re back to square one. The good news is, you’re not alone.

According to Ken Fox, Professor of Exercise and Health Science at Bristol University, muscle mass begins to decrease and fat deposits begin to build up right around age 40. As a result, individuals in their mid- to late-40s begin to develop high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and heart problems. Some individuals develop cancer or have strokes.

Fortunately, you can avoid these common health issues and live a long, happy and healthy life–and look good while doing it–with a few simple, at-home exercises.

1. Do a Plank

When you do planks for 90 seconds at a time, 3 times a week, you can not only develop enviable abs, but you can also strengthen your arm, chest and back muscles. With a stronger core, you will experience less lower back pain, which has been associated with a slew of other health concerns.

2. Make a Bridge

While this exercise is effective for anybody, it is especially helpful for those who sit at desks all day long. If your job requires you to sit for long periods of time, you may experience tightness in your hips, stiff joints and lower back pain. The glute bridge can open up any tightness from long periods of sitting. Lay on your back, leave your arms along your sides, squeeze your butt muscles, lift your hips and squeeze them once more. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, then slowly lower your hips back down.

3. Get Busy With Burpees

Metabolism is one of the first things to go when you get older, which is why it is so important to incorporate exercises designed to kickstart it. Burpees are a series of high-intensity cardio workouts that prevent metabolism deceleration and promote life-long health. Do these exercises once or twice a week for optimal results, beginning with three reps each day and adding a rep with each workout.

4. Push Dumbells

You can combat arthritis and get fit at the same time by pushing dumbells. You don’t need to push a lot of weight–just enough to strengthen your arm muscles. Perform reps two to three times each week to see optimal results.

5. Strengthen With Squats

Most women want a nice, round booty, but unfortunately, even those who are graced with a naturally curvy backside may start to lose it at around age 40. You can keep your shape and improve your health with squats. To really make the most of this exercise, start with your feet shoulder-width apart, keep your back straight and position your knees right above your feet. Start with three reps of ten and slowly increase the amount you do each day.

6. Practice Y-to-T Raises

Y-to-T raises with dumbells can help prevent sarcopenia, a degenerative loss of skeletal muscles that comes with aging. This disorder is characterized by muscle aches, shoulder and back pain and bad posture. Fortunately, you can keep the aches at bay with these simple back and shoulder strengthening exercises.

7. Take Up Yoga

According to John Hopkins Medicine, middle-aged women are more prone to depression than most other groups of people. Stave off this common disorder with yoga. Yoga has been proven to regulate moods, decrease anxiety and combat stress, three great reasons to take up the practice on top of the impact it can have on your overall appearance.

8. Hit the Elliptical

You don’t have to run to get your heart pumping. The elliptical machine is actually a healthier, low-impact way to achieve the same benefits of a long-term run. Those benefits include better heart health, greater endurance and a slimmer physique. You only need to exercise on this machine for 30 minutes a day, three to four times a week, to reap maximum benefits.

9. Bent Over Rows

These exercises offer the same benefits as Y-to-T raises: they strengthen back and shoulder muscles and reduce the risk of sarcopenia. Perform three sets of eight reps a few times a week. Use light weights for maximum results.

10. Take a Walk

Walking is hands down the best thing you can do for your body. Not only does it burn calories and tone muscles, but also, it helps improve your mood and reduces the risk of depression and stress-related conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. It’s also great on your joints, which is a huge bonus as you age.

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