There is no reason to believe you can’t be fit in your 40s even if you were never particularly fit before. Just like we reinvent and pivot as mompreneurs, we can do the same for our fitness.
It is never too late to start improving your fitness. But I would be a damn liar if I said that how you approach your fitness in your 40s will be the same as in your 20s and 30s.
Our bodies are changing hormonally and metabolically. Not only are our bodies physically changing, but our responsibilities and our schedules are also completely different in this decade.
Instead of trying to relive some glory day OR even get down on yourself for thinking it is all down hill at midlife, get excited. Comparison to others or even comparison to yourself in your 20s is the thief of all your joy of fitness.
Your 40s are a great time for fitness, health, and celebrating our bodies. Your 40s are a great time to shift priorities to make your life the most enjoyable and healthy one it can be for you.
Tiny changes add up to big results.
Let’s address the elephant in the room – perimenopause. About a decade before the real deal menopause hits, women begin going through perimenopause. Our levels of estrogen are slowly decreasing, and they can have you feeling like a teenager with no control over emotions.
In all honesty, that decrease in hormones has left me feeling a little bit like I am in a rage, with not a big reason why. You can well imagine how much my family loves this. 😏It is a bit of an outer body experience sometimes.
What does this have to do with fitness? Well, as estrogen decreases you might notice that you are also tired, lack focus, and your motivation is in the shitter. Furthermore, any weight you gain goes directly to your midsection.
None of the above symptoms have you dying to lace up your shoes and get motivated to hit the gym.
When you were pregnant and your body was changing, you gave yourself lots of grace. But for whatever reason, as we get to this unspoken part of hormone shifts in our society, we are led to believe we are washed up, crazy ladiess who are destined for elastic waisted jeans forever. 😝
The hormonal shifts we are experiencing need to be honored and let’s give ourselves grace. Go the doctor, see a naturopath, do acupuncture, and talk about ways to help work through the hormonal shifts. Also, exercise.
Exercise can help you deal with the hormonal shifts and will even help with the brain fog. During parts of your cycle, your body will give you signals that a walk or hike is going to be better for you than that CrossFit or HIIT workout. Listen to that voice, but still move your body.
So many women at this point in life tell me that they just can’t seem to get enough movement or activity because they are busy working at desks, sitting in cars driving themselves and kids around to activities, etc.
Ever shown up to 5PM and realized you legitimately have 2,000 steps all day? Me too.
You must be intentional about walking and moving your body. In addition to your targeted workout, you need to be active through the day which takes INTENTION.
Decide how you are going to make that movement happen because regularly getting up and moving is necessary for your body. Your low back and shoulders will thank you. 😊
We have a ton of obligations as mompreneurs, so finding time to exercise can feel challenging.
Unpopular opinion: As a mompreneur, if your workout doesn’t happen early in the morning before all the obligations start coming, it won’t get done. Whether you like it or not, you are now a morning person.
You know you said you would do that workout at lunch or after 5 PM, but it didn’t happen because:
Let’s face it, if you schedule that workout in before kids and other obligations happen, your chances of getting that workout done are much higher.
I suggest 30 min of exercise, 5 days a week to improve and maintain your fitness. And that it is totally doable.
Schedule your workouts in your calendar and quit saying you don’t have time.
As we age, it is just a natural process for your body to lose a bit of flexibility and mobility, BUT you can improve your flexibility and mobility at any age. Doing so now, will ensure that you not only prevent injury, but that you ensure continued quality of life and comfort later on in life.
Your body needs at least a 5-minute warm up and a 5-minute cool down with stretching after every single workout. I also recommend that one day of your exercise regimen includes a flexibility or mobility workout like yoga, pilates, or a workout that involves dynamic stretching.
Dynamic stretching increases our range of movement and blood flow to soft tissues prior to physical activity. This type of stretching is vital in improving performance and reducing the risk for injury.
We want to spend more time exercising and less time nursing injuries, so don’t forget the stretching!
As we age, starting in our 30s, we begin to lose muscle mass at a slow rate. The amount of muscle mass we have is the primary determining factor for our metabolic rate. Muscle loss is consistently linked with metabolic declines and abdominal fat gain.
Simplified: a loss of muscle mass slows your metabolism down, meaning you burn less calories.
Stands to reason if you lose muscle, your metabolism slows, and you eat the same calories as you were before, you will gain weight.
While this might seem like bad news, it is actually great news! The rate at which we lose muscle mass as we age is fairly slow AND lifting weights can reverse the trend.
Strength training is more important than ever to:
I think a sweet spot is to strength train 2-3 times a week and do conditioning/cardio 2-3 times a week. Obviously this varies from person to person, but don’t skip the weights!
I know we are tempted to compare what we could do 10 years ago with what we can do now. And if you have remained relatively consistent in your fitness, you may be able to do many of the same things.
But many of us cannot do the back handspring or split squat jumps we used to do. And that is OK. Embrace it.
I am not indicating that you shouldn’t challenge yourself- there is always room for growth. I am saying that you might want to modify some of your exercises to get the most benefit out of the exercise.
For example: Once I have done 10-15 push ups on my toes, my form starts to suffer. Then, my shoulder starts hurting. So after those 15, I get on my knees and do modified push-ups so I become stronger with proper form.
Modifying will give you the same results without injury, even if you aren’t in your 40s. You aren’t going to do be doing anything except sitting on the couch if you get injured, so say goodbye to that loud ego, and pay attention to the signs when your body is telling you to modify.
As any sleep deprived mama knows, sleep is everything. Without sleep, you aren’t getting quality shit done. If you aren’t sleeping, your fitness will suffer too.
Sleep gives your body time to recover, conserve energy, and repair and build up the muscles worked during exercise. When you sleep, your body produces growth hormone that not only helps you repair your muscles after a hard workout, it also helps your muscles grow.
This is the sweet spot for fitness, y’all!
If you find yourself in the hole for sleep for days on end and you just keep pushing through workouts, you will not see results. And that will leave you tired and pissed.
If you are days on end of little to no sleep and the choice is to sleep or get up early for a workout, then sleep in.
Then, start working on a schedule that allows for both sleep and exercise so you can become fit as hell without sacrificing sleep.
Ok, mamas. The 40s decade for fitness is exciting! This is the time to feel fly AF and strong. No garbage, broke down stories about how you are too old to get fit. This is YOUR time to feel good as hell!
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