As we age, our bodies change and so do our fitness needs. If you’re over 55, a combination of aerobic and resistance training will optimise your health and ensure you get the results you want.
Benefits of aerobic training
If you’re always walking into rooms and forgetting why you went in, you’re not alone. Memory problems are a common complaint in women over 55. But the solution could be as simple as increasing your aerobic training. The Journal of Gerontology found that just six months of regular aerobic training can increase the amount of grey and white matter in the brain. Aerobic training has also been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure, improve sleep and digestion and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
To reap the benefits, aim to do some aerobic training two to three times a week for 20 to 60 minutes.
Benefits of resistance training
The middle-age spread is one of the more unwelcome signs of ageing, but the good news is, there’s plenty you can do to prevent it. Weight gain after 50 comes from a reduction in muscle mass, which is often replaced by fat. Fortunately, resistance training significantly reduces the severity of muscle loss and helps guard against excess weight gain.
Resistance training has also been proven to boost bone density and help prevent joint degeneration (Osteoperosis). Research in The Journal of American Medical Association found that post-menopausal women could turn their bone density loss into bone density gain with regular resistance training.
In addition, resistance training has been shown to decrease blood pressure and improve blood flow and circulation. Core strengthening exercises will also contribute to reduced lower back pain and better balance.
We recommend weight training two to three times a week for optimal results.
Top tips for women over 55
- Set reasonable goals and objectives. Training with a goal in mind will help you stay focused and on track.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance when training. Correct technique will reduce your chance of injury. A personal trainer can help you master the basic moves and keep you motivated throughout your workout.
- Train earlier in the day. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to talk yourself out of a workout in the afternoon. Exercising in the morning will also keep you energised throughout the rest of the day.
- Take a bit longer to warm up and stretch after exercise. Starting slowly and taking the time to properly stretch your muscles will reduce your chance of injury.
- Perform exercises in a seated or lying position. If you have poor balance, use seated resistance machines or weight bearing aerobic machines, such as the stationary cycle, before advancing to more challenging free weights or stair machines.
- Look after yourself. Drink plenty of fluids and make sure you’re getting enough rest. Aim for eight hours sleep a night.