Strength training has a lot of advantages for women, and particularly for women aged 35 to 40 and older. By the age of 40, women generally begin to lose bone density and muscle mass. One study at Tufts University, designed by the author of ‘Strong Women Stay Young’, Miriam Nelson PhD, found that instead of losing bone density and muscle mass, the women were 15 to 20 years younger after one year of weight training. They gained bone density, and their strength tests matched women who were in their 30’s and 40’s.
These women didn’t diet, but they did end up looking slimmer. Some lost 1 or 2 dress sizes, and they all replaced fat with muscle. Because muscle weighs more than fat, this is the reason they looked slimmer, though the scales may not have changed much.
The women in this study were all post-menopausal, and some of their ages were in the 50s and 60s. They made some remarkable changes in their lives as they got stronger. One woman described going rollerblading with her children. Another went canoeing with her husband. More than any pills or potions, strength training gave these women back a youthfulness some didn’t even have to that degree in the first place.
The women in this study used leg weights and freehand weights that were adjustable in their strength training program. They started at a level they were able to – even if this was the lightest weights available. They didn’t buy lots of expensive equipment or home gyms, and many of these can be bought second hand with a little research locally. As they developed their strength, they invested in heavier weights.
For the strap on ankle weights, they started with 1 to 3 kilograms in each cuff. The suggested ankle cuffs hold up to 10 kilograms each. The dumbbells they used for their arms were adjustable, and they started with 1 or 2 kilograms. The only other equipment they needed was a chair, somewhere to store the weights and a towel. Because you’re working out in your own home you don’t need to buy expensive or flashy gym clothes or worry about feeling the odd one out.
The workout itself is in the book, Strong Women Stay Young. It covers a range of basic exercises that don’t take up too much time, which is suggested you do twice a week. Each session takes about 40 minutes including warming up and cooling down.
5 Secret Tips for Women Training at Home!
- If you’re using leg weights, don’t walk around with them on. It could affect your balance for your session.
- Always focus and check your posture. You’ll get more out of the exercise, and work the right muscles. Sometimes our posture becomes so habitual we don’t realise it’s not quite right until we see it.
- A good posture means your chin is down slightly so that it’s aligned with your neck. Your neck is in line with your spine, shoulders are straight and not stiff, back is straight, and your knees are not locked or bent. Your pelvis should be tucked under a little
- Get your heart rate up. Grab a resistance band and place band around your knees and bottom of your feet. Roll up and find your way into a low squat. Pulse and then roll back down keeping abs turned on.
- Don’t hold your breath whilst you’re lifting weights. Given that we’re contracting muscles, sometimes we unconsciously hold our breaths at the same time. Remember to breath, but don’t go the other extreme and hyperventilate!
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