Strength training has a lot of advantages for women, and particularly resistance training for women over 40 and older. By the age of 40, women generally begin to lose bone density and muscle mass.Women usually do not have the natural muscle structure that most men have and they may not also have the same strength to carry heavy loads that they used to have.
Studies have shown that after one year of resistance training for women over 40, instead of losing bone density and muscle mass, women were years younger after one year of weight training. They gained bone density, and their strength tests matched those of much younger women. Another benefit is because muscle weighs more than fat, you will look slimmer, even when the scales may not have changed much.
Before you start lifting weights, you should know the proper ways on how to do it in order to prevent aches, pains and injuries. It is also helpful to first get of the some excess weight that you have in order to receive the full benefits.
You may also do some stretching and warm up exercises to allow the blood nutrients go to the muscles and joints of your body. Muscle stretching also helps in lessening the risks of injuries and muscle pains after the work out. Muscles tend to sore and get strained if you are not well warmed-up and do the proper stretching techniques before the work out.
In addition, muscle stretching also gives you more flexibility. You will be able to carry out exercises comfortably and effectively. It is preferable that you do repetitive stretching and warm ups. Repetition of exercises makes your muscles and joints more enhanced and more adapted to the motion you are about to do.
When you are ready to lift weights, you should first work on your larger muscles then the smaller ones. You may then finally go to the muscles that are isolated. You should always remember that you work on the opposite muscles. Muscles tend to get imbalanced especially if the amounts of exercises you do are not equally distributed. For example, when performing triceps extension, it is advised that you also do bicep exercises.
If you work out on the chest and the stomach area like crunches, it is important that you do back extension exercises to get a balanced upper muscle toning.
It is also important to a rest after your resistance training work out and allow your muscles to cool gradually so that you will not feel any sore or strained muscles.
Other tips for resistance training for women over 40 at home are:
- Make sure the area you’re working in doesn’t have rugs, electrical cords, toys and other items that you can trip over.
- Keep your pets and young children away from this area while you’re working out.
- If you’re using a chair when you do exercises, make sure it’s on a carpet that won’t slide around. If you don’t have carpet, put the chair against the wall so it stays stable.
- If you have problems with your back, you’ll need to be careful when you’re carrying your free weights around. Take a few trips to carry things if you have to move them in or out of a storage area. And make sure you lift them properly by bending your knees and moving slowly.
- It helps to keep the weights you’re not currently using in their container. That way they can’t be knocked off by curious children.
- If you’re using leg weights, don’t walk around with them on. It could affect your balance. And if you trip on something, you are more likely to injure yourself than normal.
- Keep the telephone off the hook, and the cell phone off. That way if someone rings you won’t be interrupted.
- Make sure you have some drinking water nearby in case you get thirsty.
- Don’t drink any alcohol, even a little bit, less than a couple of hours before you exercise.
- Try and make sure you haven’t just eaten a meal before you work out. But by the same token, make sure you’re not starving! If you’re really hungry, you could become light headed or dizzy when you work out.
- If you’re using weights, try doing them in front of a mirror so you can 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 realize it’s not quite right until we see it.
- If you’re using weights, a good posture means you’re 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.
- When using weights, do the lifts slowly. This really works the muscles instead of letting the motion do the work for you.
- Make sure you pause for a count between lifting the weight up, and lowering it.
- Don’t hold your breath while you’re lifting weights. Given that we’re contracting muscles, sometimes we unconsciously hold our breaths at the same time. Remember to breathe.