For women approaching 40 and over, getting and keeping fit has never been more important.
“As we get older, we have changes to our muscle strength,” says GP and menopause expert Dr Louise Newson. “So if you think about your average elderly stooped lady, some of that will be due to a reduction in her bone density, but also to the strength and actual size of the muscles reducing.”
This drop in muscle mass, about 1-2 per cent per year over the age of 50, is accompanied by a drop in bone mass from around the age of 30. And when muscles and bones weaken, the body is more prone to injury.
In addition, women have to cope with the effects of hormonal changes that take place around the time of the perimenopause (usually in her forties) and menopause (usually 45-55). From hot flushes and night sweats to feeling irritable, anxious and exhausted, these can be debilitating. Arthritis is also more common in women going through the menopause because oestrogen is important for the production of collagen, a protein that may work as an anti-inflammatory on the joints. “I see a lot of people who have muscle and joint pains,” says Dr Newson, “and it’s all related to their changing oestrogen levels.”
Add to this the results of a studythat found the probability of depression is at its highest in one’s forties; at 44 in the UK, to be precise and being a woman “of a certain age” can represent the perfect storm.
The good news? You can do something about it. Exercise, a healthy diet and a positive attitude can all combine to help us feel great and live longer. According to Public Health England, even a single, brisk 10-minute walk per day can bring about a 15 per cent reduction in the risk of early death.
A structured fitness routine will not only help you feel better, but it will actually combat the signs of ageing.
THE PERFECT FITNESS PACKAGE
niix, a comprehensive health and fitness app created specifically for women approaching 40 and over, will show you how to mix up your exercise sessions with cardio and Pilates inspired sessions. Not just to stop you getting into a boring rut, but to allow you to workout efficiently, helping you burn fat and tone up in less time. Making exercise a habit is vital and in that respect variety really is the spice of life. Add correct technique and carefully balanced, sensible nutrition (both of which niix embraces) and women reaching 40 and over have the chance to be strong, fit, happy, body-confident and to feel and look great, too. niix also has a community support group to help keep you motivated and on track.
Contact your GP before undertaking a new exercise programme if you have an underlying medical condition.