“The one thing you don’t want to do is set yourself up for failure with an immediate ‘go for broke’ attitude right out of the gate. Remember: slow and steady wins the race.”– Kathy Smith
So a recent survey that has gotten a lot of attention in the UK and Indian press showed that women in their 40s have mirror angst. The majority don’t like what they see. Maybe we’re too hard on ourselves. Or maybe we just can’t accept that “the same person can’t step in the same river twice — she changes, and the river changes.” Whatever the case, we know that even if exercise isn’t suddenly transforming us into the impossible, it makes us feel better, and it makes us healthier.
Today’s wise words come from 60licious fitness icon (and “Babe” fragrance spokesmodel) Kathy Smith. She’s got a new video out called “Ageless with Kathy Smith” and some good ideas about how to get back in the game if you’ve been out a while.
1. What’s different about exercising when you’re over 40 than when you’re in your 20s and 30s?
Starting around the age of 30, we begin to lose muscle mass – a process I call “The Great Decline” – and that leads to a whole host of issues, from arthritis to back pain to (you guessed it) weight gain. The key to slowing – or even reversing – the “great decline” is strength training. So regardless of our age, we always need a balance of cardio, strength, and flexibility training – but after we hit 40, the need for strength training becomes greater than ever.
2. What’s the best way to start a regimen if you’ve been sedentary and out of shape?
|photo credit: Acacia Lifestyle|
The one thing you don’t want to do is set yourself up for failure with an immediate “go for broke” attitude right out of the gate. Remember: slow and steady wins the race. Start with a 15-minute walk, and then add 5 minutes to your walk every week. The same goes for strength training: Start off using your own body weight and lighter weights, and build up. The key is to find something you enjoy that fits your personality: Dance classes, swimming, hiking. And there’s always strength in numbers – find a friend to serve as your gym partner or walking buddy. You’ll keep each other motivated and accountable.
3. Is it possible to be a hardbody over 40?
At my age, people in their 40s seem like youngsters! But yes, you can have a hard body (Demi Moore and Madonna are certainly evidence that it’s still possible!). It’s more challenging as we age, but still doable. It takes a certain level of discipline, and of course some luck in the genetics department. But I try to help people focus not on how “hard-bodied” they can be, but how healthy they can be.