When it comes to women’s fitness, we get asked the same questions over and over at our training facility in Cork. We are experts when it comes to women’s fitness in Cork, and some of the most common questions that we answer are in relation to age-related changes that occur in women. Things like gravity taking its toll on certain areas of the body, loss of mobility at the joints, loss of balance, poor posture, decreased bone density, and increase in body fat, and less muscle mass are just simply facts of life that occur as we age, and under normal circumstances, most people just take these things for granted. Women spend hundreds on creams and lotions that claim to turn back the clock, but in fact, all they are doing is painting over track surface cracks. What you really need is to address your issues from the inside out! At ACLAÍ, we build our programs with this in mind, and see phenomenal results every week with the ladies on our ever-growing client list.
1. Gravity Taking Its Toll
When ‘things start going south’, its panic stations for women! Losing some muscle mass and adding body fat can cause you to deviate from firm body shape, and can cause much distress! Well-selected strength exercise is a proven way to regain and retain your muscle mass, as well as being one of the most effective methods of burning up body fat. Where many women get it wrong is doing endless cardio exercise. Treadmills, bikes, and cross trainers can be decent additions to a well rounded program, but make no mistake, strength training is what is going to keep you in shape.
2. Loss of Mobility and Balance
As we get older, our joint mobility and balance can reduce. Strength training has been scientifically proven to improve balance, and mobility. On the face of it, this might not seem like a big deal. Who cares about being flexible as long as you look good right?! Well, in fact, losing mobility and balance is a serious risk factor when it comes to preventing falls in later years, not to mention keeping your joints healthy and mobile can lead to years of pain free fun activity! Check out this research paper for more on this. Maintaining mobility and balance should be a major consideration for you when selecting the type of training you want to do. Jogging just wont cut it!
3. Increased Body Fat/ Decreased Muscle Mass
One of the facts of life is that we will lose muscle mass as we age, and add on some body fat to boot. However, strength/ resistance training has been shown time and time again to slow this process down, and in fact, if you have not already been partaking in regular strength training up until now, it will actually reverse this process as it will encourage fat burning and muscle building. This interesting little study from Finland suggests that nutrition and resistance training will help build muscle and even have a positive impact on your bone health.
4. Decreased Bone Mineral Density
Another factor to contend with as we age, especially for women, is reduced bone mineral density. Essentially this means that your bones get a bit weaker as we age, and can reduce in strength quite a lot, especially if osteopenia/ osteoporosis runs in the family. Coupled with the potential loss of balance described in #2, this can have serious implications down the line if you happen to catch your foot on a door mat. Once again going back to the research, this paper here highlights the importance of a well balanced resistance training program for maintaining healthy bones.
The Overall Message
I like to keep these articles short, so I have not gone into huge detail on any of the points. The key thing to bring away from this is that staying young and looking fresh is in eating a nutritious diet, and doing things that are actually proven to work. If I had to give one single recommendation to women in terms of their training, it would be to get involved in a properly structured, supervised strength training program. The benefits are absolutely unquestionable, and the results are so pleasing that they go way beyond the instant gratification given by a quick blast of exercise. Strength training can make you look and feel like a million dollars, but will also play a crucial part in keeping you healthy and mobile as the decades roll happily by!
Check out the following Articles for Further Reading
This Article is by ACLAÍ Owner, Ainle Ó Cairealláin MSc CSCS. Ainle is strength and conditioning coach for the Cork Senior Football team, has worked with Adelaide Crows Football Club in Australia, lectured in the University of Limerick PE and Sports Science Department, contributed to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, and also works as a tutor with Strength and Conditioning Institute, Setanta College.
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