*with apologies to my 70-year old clients who are nowhere near ready for chair aerobics either…
Earlier this summer, I pitched a draft of a book I’d like to write on the topic of fitness for the over-40 female crowd.
In the process of outlining the book, I spent considerable time scouring the internet to see what people think women’s fitness after 40 looks like and what other titles might already exist on the topic.
Surprisingly, I found only a dozen or so, despite the fact that (a) we’re the fastest growing demographic in North America, (b) mid-lifer women are flocking to the gym in record numbers and (c) as a group, we’re quite happy to spend money on books that help us live longer and healthier lives.
Even more surprising than finding so few titles addressing women’s fitness after 40 was the type of exercise typically prescribed;
- lots of cardio (and by ‘cardio’, I mean steady state cardio rather than cardio intervals or HIIT)
- an emphasis on muscle ‘toning’ (think light dumbbells, seated exercises and weight machine work)
- lots of yoga and pilates (which are fantastic for improving balance, flexibility and core strength, but don’t do much to address the common mid-life issues of muscular atrophy, reduced metabolic rate and weight gain)
All in stark contrast to the type of work my over-40 group fitness participants, personal training clients and fellow gym-goers do. And certainly not the way I train myself.
While I appreciate that bodies in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s may no longer function as efficiently as they did in their younger years, barring illness or injury, there’s no reason they need to be relegated to light weights, machine workouts and the treadmill.
My 40+ female clients and I all squat, lunge, deadlift, push-up, pull-up and interval train. We rarely use the plastic dumbbells in the gym. And we’re sometimes asked by the young, buff guys to spot for them on their heavy lifts. We are not bulky or masculine.
We are why 40 is not the new 70.