Over time, our bodies inevitably change. While the aging process is different from woman to woman, it is sure to happen nonetheless. In addition to age, changes in the body result from other factors such as the drop in hormone production due to menopause, genetics, and certain events that cannot be controlled. So, rather than ignoring these changes past the age of 40, it is important to adopt certain habits. In particular, it may be relevant to switch to a healthier diet and more regular physical exercises, such as weight training for example. But why recommend bodybuilding to women over 40? All our answers can be found in this article.
Bodybuilding for women over 40: why start?
We all know the adage that there is no age to start the sport. At 20, 30 or 50 years old, practicing regular physical activity can only be beneficial for the body. And this statement is all the more true for women over 40 who want to get into weight training. Here are a few reasons you might want to get started.
Empty nest syndrome
After 40 years, women sometimes suffer from empty nest syndrome. Indeed, after good years spent raising children, it is difficult to face the feeling of deep emptiness due to the departure of their offspring. It is therefore difficult to find a new dynamic to fill this void. Very often, we are tempted to do it with the help of bad habits which nevertheless have harmful effects on health: TV from morning to night, compulsive eating …
Depressions even occur frequently following the departure of the children. Not easy, in fact, to cut the cord and let go. These vulnerable little beings that we have protected for years are now autonomous, and we can feel helpless, even useless. Strength training, and sport in general, allows you to find an activity in which to invest and to feel alive again. In addition, it allows you to meet people and give new energy to this phase of life that is beginning.
The effect of hormones
Often after quarantine comes the period we all know: perimenopause. This period before menopause usually lasts between 2 and 10 years. It causes many physiological changes, such as fluctuation in the synthesis of hormones. Unbeknownst to us, our body begins to produce too much estrogen, which has the effect of encouraging the storage of fat in the buttocks and thighs .
But these consequences do not last: the beautiful curves disappear when the menopause arrives and the estrogen level drops. The consequence of this decrease in estrogen production is bone loss leading to osteoporosis. Indeed, these hormones play a major role in the maintenance of bone tissue by limiting its degradation and encouraging its regeneration. At menopause, these guardians of the bone are no longer there. If you do nothing, your bones will therefore become brittle, porous and will regenerate less quickly if damaged.
To prevent this phenomenon, it is essential to combine different strategies:
- exercise, which strengthens bones, stabilizes joints through stronger muscles and reduces the risk of loss of mobility
- vitamin D and calcium supplementation, in particular through food and regular outings (the sun is indeed responsible for the effectiveness of vitamin D)
In this context, weight training for women over 40 is a first step towards good bone health.
Loss of muscle mass
Muscle development extends from birth through adolescence. Subsequently, it occurs less regularly depending on daily physical activity. Thus, without regular exercise, our muscles lose 1 to 2% per year. For its part, as if to compensate for muscle wasting, fat mass increases over time, from 15% in adolescence to 35% in your sixties. Of course, this phenomenon occurs differently from one person to another, given that the genetic heritage of each determines its appearance.
The loss of muscle mass affects all the muscles in the body. Along with it also appears a decrease in muscle strength. In short, as we age, we become less muscular and our muscles perform less. In the long term, this decreases, again, the stabilization of the joints, but also induces urinary incontinence. The role of sport in general, and bodybuilding at a gym near me for ladies with fees in particular, will be to compensate and delay these two phenomena by stimulating our body.
It should be noted that unlike other organs, the breasts are made up of fatty tissue, not muscle. They are mainly based on the pecs, but also rely on ligaments called “Cooper ligaments”. Over time, effects associated with bad habits can cause these ligaments to relax. Result: the breasts sag under the effect of weightlessness.
Taking part in a sporting activity such as weight training will strengthen the muscles around your chest. This helps to strengthen this natural bra. In addition, sport encourages the strengthening of the Cooper ligaments, which will thus better support your breasts. Thus stimulated, resistance and firmness will be prolonged. But, beyond that, you will also adopt better posture. It may seem trivial, but a straighter back and shoulders further back gives the impression of a higher, more toned chest.
A word of warning, however: be sure to choose your sports bras carefully, especially if you do impact sports. They must maintain without crushing. Also, avoid anything that has metal ribs. The latter indeed have the annoying habit of injuring Cooper’s ligaments and reducing their resistance. By paying attention to these two points and doing strength training, you will have healthier breasts.
Slowing down of basal metabolism
This fact is directly due to the age-related muscle wasting we told you about above. Indeed, muscle is one of the tissues that burns the most calories, even at rest. This energy consumption at rest is called basal metabolism. As muscle mass decreases as we age, the basal metabolism also decreases. By nature, it drops by 5 to 7% every 10 years, starting at the age of 20. Calorie burning is therefore lower at age 40 than at age 30 for the same person. As a result, energy requirements also decline over time. In other words, the older you get, the more your need for food decreases.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself! Unfortunately, as we said above, leaving children, changing activities, and the like can encourage eating more. This sometimes compensates for an emotional lack, when it doesn’t just reveal a lack of attention to what you eat. But the phenomenon is even more insidious! You’ve certainly heard someone say that when he / she was young he / she could swallow anything and everything without gaining weight. And this is completely normal, precisely because of the decrease in basal metabolism.
However, eating less is not THE solution. Strength training for women over 40 has a double positive effect in this regard:
- you are spending excess calories
- you (re) build muscle, which keeps your basal metabolic rate high.
So you can continue to eat (healthy) in good quantities, while making sure you stay in shape!