At Fitness Together®, we celebrate the fitness endeavors of everyone – all ages, all types of health-seekers, men and women both. This week, however, we let the women in our midst take center stage, and we delight in recognizing National Women’s Health Week. This observance, which begins on Mother’s Day and runs through May 14th, was initiated by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health 17 years ago, and continues to be a yearly wake-up call to women all over the world.
No matter if we’re a teenager running sprints to get in shape for the basketball team, a young mother working to keep fit and energized enough to play thirteen rounds of “Duck-duck-goose”, or a business executive working to get in her 10,000 steps after 6 hours of meetings; staying fit is important. It’s important for our physical health and our mental health, and it looks a little different depending on your age and stage of life.
- Women in your 30’s: Unfair as it seems, this is the time when women start noticing a decrease in body muscle mass. This is a great opportunity to become a little better oriented with weights and proper weight training. Not only will lifting weights or performing weight-bearing exercises help to develop and shape your muscles, it will help keep your weight in check, too. Bonus tip: in light of all you have going on with family, your career and financial concerns, this is also a great time to learn and implement effective stress management.
- Women in your 40’s: Ready to lose some, without even trying? Before you get too excited, we’re talking about muscle mass. It is estimated that at age 40 we start losing about 1% of our muscle mass every year. This, along with a decreasing metabolism, makes resistance training and weight-lifting even more important. Bonus tip: this might be a wonderful time to try a new exercise, such as pilates, jogging, race-walking or biking. What piqued your interest ten years ago may have become lackluster. Get excited about fitness again!
- Women in your 50’s: . . . wait, what was I going to say? If memory problems are plaguing you, you’re not alone. Exercising enough to raise your heartrate on a regular basis can help you keep a clear mind, and help keep your mood elevated as well.
- Women in your 60’s and 70’s: In short: keep active and stay social. With nearly 10-million Americans aged 65 and older living alone, this is a good time to take advantage of senior social groups, clubs or classes. At the very least seek out a volunteer opportunity. And, at the risk of repeating ourselves, keep exercising! Weight training at least twice per week at this age has been proven to decrease the risks of falls and cognitive decline. Even if the thought of lounging sounds much more appealing, keeping active with training sessions, walking, swimming, or other activities can keep your body and mind where you want them to be – happy, energetic and healthy!
“I believe the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you.” We believe that motivational speaker Joyce Meyer had it right when she said this. You give so many things to so many people; no matter your age, give the gift of your best self as well.