To remain youthful it is necessary to be able to perform key movement patterns which keep us agile and fit for life. These are bend, push, pull, squat, lunge, twist and gait (walk, jog or run). If you can perform these movements regularly, and preferably while lifting some weights (except for gait), you give yourself a huge advantage in your effort to remain youthful and feeling fantastic. Throughout my years as a personal trainer, I have noticed that many women train with a goal in mind. Sometimes it’s to be in shape for an occasion like a wedding or a holiday, or to look good in a bikini for a short amount of time. The reality is we need to stay in shape for our whole lives. Remember, this is not a hobby but a lifestyle. Sooner or later you have to make an important decision; make time for health and fitness or suffer illness later. Exercise faithfully every week, every month and watch your body change shape and become strong.
If you are unable to make it to the gym, and have no equipment at home, squats and push-ups are two ideal exercises that can be performed almost anywhere. Squats alone work over seven different muscles in one value packed exercise. Your whole lower body in one move! Push-ups, in turn, work your upper body, including your core muscles. No excuses here! You don’t have to start with full push-ups or full squats but you will soon progress and reap the rewards. It’s the same with your gait - start with walking and later mix it up with some interval training (adding short bursts of intensity).
If you have never trained before and are wondering where to start, a good place is at the beginning! Don’t do too much too soon. Consistency is the key. Three to four steady workouts a week is much more beneficial than thrashing yourself with a hard workout every now and again. You could injure yourself, which would inhibit your training. In order to train consistently we need to remain injury-free. A simple way to help you achieve this is by performing warm-up sets. A warm-up set is performed by lifting a much lighter weight during the same exercise you are about to perform.
By performing a warm-up set, muscles and joints are warmed up with the exact mechanics which will be performed during the workout set. This is the best safeguard against injury and it gives you a chance to practise your technique and breathing while warming up specific muscles involved in the exercise. Be patient and give your body time to respond to proper exercise and good nutrition. As said by a very good friend of mine: “It’s not one sudden rush that changes the surface of the rock but the constant drip.
Strength training will change your body shape but only over time. It surprises me that many women train for competition only to give up after the first or second contest. It takes years to sculpt a great body. Once again, consistency is the key.
From the age of 35 a woman’s body composition changes by losing lean muscle every year and replacing it with fat - if she does nothing to change her eating or exercise habits. As muscle burns approximately 25% more calories than any other body tissue, we need to keep as much of it as possible. This
is inspiration alone to keep training! Strength training three to four times every week with some cardio thrown into the mix will keep you fit, strong and agile.
Pass your Oxygen magazine onto your mum and encourage her to train too. It’s never too late to start. Take a look at Ernestine Shepherd, who is still competing in her 70s and quotes “I feel better than I did at 40,” or Bob Delmontique who, at 86, is still running
marathons and bench pressing over 130kg - and both are looking great!
As you watch the trends and fads in fitness come and go, one thing is for certain. If you really want to see results, you need to be consistent in your training and enjoy all the wonderful benefits that come with it for life!
Bio of Lesley Maxwell
Flirtatious and fun-loving, Lesley redefines what it means to be over 50 and fabulous. A mother of three, Lesley has more than 20 body sculpting titles to her name and in 2009 won the Miss USA Figure Open World Title for INBF in New York. Lesley, who thinks of herself as ‘ageless’ believes the key to looking and feeling amazing is regular exercise, nutritious eating, and a positive frame of mind. Anyone can do it and it’s never too late to start.
“I love feeling strong, healthy and in short, fantastic. I have energy every day to live life to the fullest. It’s not hard work; it’s a way of life.” Age is just a number, so start listening to this inspirational lady who is proof that age is no barrier to having fun and looking great.
Lesley is the author of 'Get the Body You Want available from my new website www.ouifitness.com.au
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