Whether you are a beginner or advanced, if you workout and you’re over the age of 35 you will want to read this.
First of all, there are no one-size-fits-all rules in fitness. What’s most important is that you listen to your body, adjust things based on your desired results, your lifestyle, and the things in life that are most important to you.
But with that said, these tips you’re about to read may be helpful to you because they are based on my experience working as a trainer with many women over the age of 35.
It’s not to say that 35 is some magic number where things change drastically, or that these rules don’t apply to younger women, but these are just a few tips that I’ve noticed are extra important to follow and pay attention to as we age.
Although it’s easy and tempting to skip your warm up sometimes, warm-ups become more crucial for more mature muscles. By skipping your warm-up you put yourself at a greater risk for muscle tears, sprains, strains and other injuries…
And decades of office work and hours sitting have likely caused some tight muscles, so jumping straight into an intense workout or heavy lift is not as safe as it was when you were in your teens or 20’s.
Form is important at any age, but especially as we get older, we can become more prone or susceptible to injuries. For the same reason that you need to warm up, you now need to focus on proper mechanics and perfect execution of your reps, rather than the sloppy or hasty form.
Rushing through your reps will do you more harm than good, so taking your time to do things right is more important than ever. Here are some examples of exercises that are commonly done with poor form and how to fix it.
Watch out for sagging core in your planks. A good plank should look like a straight line from your heels to your shoulders.
Lifting your heels or rounding your back during a squat is both dangerous and harmful to your body. Keep your weight back on your heels, your head, and chest up and your spine straight.
Do not reach for the ground with your chin during a pushup or allow your core to sag. Tighten up your core, pull your chin back and focus on lowering your chest towards the ground.
A round back and hunched shoulders are a common bad form with rows. Instead, straighten your spine by lifting your head and tilting your pelvis forward, then make sure to pull your shoulder blades together behind you. The focus of a row should be the contraction of your back muscles.
Younger people may be able to get away with working out dehydrated, but as we age our muscles naturally lose moisture & elasticity so it’s more important than ever to replenish that lost hydration.
I recommend this simple formula to figure out how much water is enough to hydrate you:
Your body weight (in pounds), divided by 2 = Ounces of water to drink per day
For example, a 130-pound person should drink about 65 ounces of water per day
130 (pounds) / 2 = 65 (ounces)
If you’re wondering how much that is in cups, 65 ounces is a little over 8 cups.
If you don’t normally drink that much water each day then take baby steps and just start including an extra cup each day until you reach the recommended amount.
Some strategies I like to use for drinking more water during the day are:
Yoga is excellent for your body and mind in so many ways. If you are feeling stressed out, tense, tight or all of the above I highly recommend investing some time into yoga.
For women over 35 stress is usually a given. You’ve got a job, a family, lots of responsibilities, you owe it to yourself to make time to be alone, unwind and do something that makes you feel good.
Foam rolling is simply a way of giving yourself a massage.
Of course, you could opt for a massage appointment instead, but foam rolling offers us a way to enjoy the benefits of massage in smaller doses anytime it’s needed and to focus on areas that need it most.
Learning to foam roll is your way of customizing your own massage and giving yourself a quick treatment daily or as often as you want.
By including foam rolling before or after your workouts you’ll reduce the risk of injury, improve your performance and even improve your muscle tone. It’s well worth the few minutes a day that it takes.
Knee Extension with Block
These simple knee extensions will help strengthen the muscles around your knee joints in a non-threatening and super safe way.
Since there is no resistance used in this exercise you are only working against gravity. Focus on flexing the muscles and do as many as you can on each side until you feel some fatigue.
Sit on the ground and extend one leg out in front of you. Place a block or a ball under the back of your knee, above the joint.
Relax all of your leg muscles. Then flex and straighten your leg with your foot flexed focusing on tightening every muscle in and around your knee.
Do as many reps as you can on this side until you feel some fatigue.Switch sides and repeat the same number of reps on the other side.
Swiss Ball Curls
The back of the knees need to be strengthened as well. This curl variation is a great way to make sure your knees are strong from all angles. Lay down on the ground on your back. Place a swiss ball under your heels.
Flex your feet and lift your hips off the ground as you place your hands by your sides to balance. Bend your knees and roll the ball towards you until your knees create a 90 degree angle.
Slowly straighten your legs and roll the ball back out away from you. Repeat doing as many reps as you can until you feel some fatigue.
For a complete knee-strengthening workout repeat those 4 exercises, for as many reps as you can, 3 times each. Rest as much as needed between exercises.
Over the years our posture can start to slip. Logging many hours of driving, texting, computer time, and all the errands we have to run can wreck havoc on our shoulders, spine and core strength.
Including exercises like these will help your posture stay strong.
Lay face down on the floor with your arms extended out in front of you. Lift your legs and arms off the ground at the same time to mimic a flying superman position.
Exhale as you flex all muscles on the backside of your body. Inhale as you lower, then repeat.
Do as many reps as you can until you feel fatigue.
Start in a plank position with dumbbells in your hands. Make sure that your shoulders are lined up right over your wrists.
Shift your weight to one side then pull the other dumbbell up towards the outside of your chest. Do not rotate your hips or torso – keep facing down towards the ground. Lower the dumbbell with control
Shift the other side and repeat.
Sit on your side and stack your feet one on top of the other. Place your bottom forearm down on the ground with your elbow directly under your shoulder.
Lift your hips off the ground to form a straight line from your heels to your shoulders. Reach your top arm up and towards the ceiling with your palm facing front.
Check that your shoulders are down and relaxed. Keep your legs as straight and stiff as possible. Hold this position for at least 20 seconds or as long as you can until you feel some fatigue in the side of your core.
Repeat on the other side.
Sit comfortably on the ground or on a bench with your legs together. Hold the dumbbells by your sides and lift about 5 inches away from your or until you feel the weight in your shoulders.
Raise the dumbbells out to the sides lifting them up until parallel to the ground and your body forms a “T” position. Check that your shoulders are down and back (relaxed and not shrugged).
Exhale as you flex then lower the weights with control. Repeat for as many reps as you can until you feel fatigue in your shoulders.
Hollow Body Tuck
Lay on the ground on your back. Tuck your knees into your chest and point your toes.
Reach toward your heels and lift your head and shoulders off the ground. Extend your arms out above your head and your legs out long.
Press your core towards the ground to form a scooped out hollow boat shape as you exhale deeply. Inhale and tuck into that tight ball position again.
Repeat and do as many as you can until you feel fatigue in your core.
Note: if this causes any lower back pain you should modify by bending your knees on the extension.
I truly hope these tips will help you stay fit at any and every age. We are never too young or too old to start taking care of ourselves and practicing exercises that promote longevity, function, and well-being.
No matter what workout program you follow you can fit these tips and exercises into your weekly routine.