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Women’s Fitness Over 40: Can Exercise Override Perimenopause?

They say that 40 is the new 30. That’s certainly not news to me. Walk along any street and you can see 40-something women dressing the same way as females half their age, going to the same nightclubs and many times, eating the same foods.

Unfortunately, once you start Perimenopause, the phase before menopause when ovarian hormone production declines and fluctuates, a woman’s body stops
reacting or bouncing back as it did in younger days. Hormone levels, stress factors, time management and years of “weekend-warrior” athletics are all factors that contribute to this.

“But wait,” you say, “I work out hard to keep my figure!” Do you really?

Studies Show We're Not As Fit As We Think

Studies have shown that we aren’t as exercise-minded as we think! According to the National Center for Health Statistics a whopping 62% of adults over 44 years old do no exercise at all! Only 27% do some kind of workout one to two times per week and only 11% workout five or six days a week.

Is it possible to stay trim and toned like a 30 year old? ABSOLUTELY!! You just may need to be in that 11% to do it!

Menopause-related hormonal changes usually begin in your late 30’s to early 40’s. Physical changes triggered by hormonal fluctuations during this time frame include: irregular menstrual patterns, hot flashes, sleeping problems, slowed metabolism and bone loss.

One reason metabolism declines with age is the loss of muscle mass. According to a 2001 report published in the Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, even at rest, muscle tissue is three times more metabolically active than fat, with muscle burning about 6 calories per pound per day compared to fat’s 2.

A daily difference of 4 calories per pound may not sound a lot. But it adds up. Put on 5 pounds of muscle and your body will automatically start burning an extra 30 calories per day. That amounts to about 10,950 per year, which might net you another 3-pound fat loss, thus improving your lean-to-fat ratio and potentially boosting your metabolism even more. Over the course of a few years, this type of increased metabolic activity can make achieving and maintaining your ideal weight far easier.

Exercise Is The Vital Link To Looking And Feeling Younger – If You Do It Smart.

The good news is that regular exercise can combat these symptoms and in many cases keep them at bay. A combination of weight training, yoga, Pilates and cardiovascular work can keep your bone mass healthy; your stress levels down and help you sleep at night. Exercise also helps improve balance, muscle tone and flexibility, which can diminish with aging.

As you start working out, don’t try to keep up with the 20-somethings when out jogging or in the gym lifting weights. Your body isn’t used to it. Your first step should be to go to your doctor for a physical before starting any kind of fitness program.

Next, find a good certified personal trainer who will listen to you and guide you slowly, but firmly toward your goals. Work with them, as well as a nutritionist, if desired, to keep your diet healthy.

You want to be able to fit into the newest, trendiest clothes, but you want to be safe and smart while doing it.

Remember, you can keep those pounds off, have a firm body and be energetic. By incorporating a fun but challenging fitness and nutrition program into your lifestyle, you will not only be able to tell people you’re the new 30, you’ll look like it, and feel like it.

Rona Lewis has been a fitness expert and motivational speaker in Beverly Hills and Hollywood for 18 years. She specializes in working with women 35 and older. Contact her for more information or to set up a consultation.

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