After I hit 32, it became harder and harder for me to lose weight and keep fit. I started daydreaming about the days gone by when I would just exercise for 30 minutes 2 to 3 times a week and I would lose a couple of pounds after religiously following the routine for a couple of weeks.
Now, at 34 (going 35 this year! yikes!), exercising and controlling my meals doesn’t make a dent on my weight. What equaled weight loss a couple of years ago now only equals maintenance of my weight. I shudder to think what my exercise regime will equal to in a couple more years…. definitely inevitable weight gain.
About a month ago, I stumbled on a website that explained why I was struggling to keep my weight at a level that was easy for me to do a few years ago.
Apparently, people lost 3 to 5% of their muscle mass EVERY YEAR after they turn 30!
Losing muscle mass means a loss of metabolism. We tire faster. Essentially, what this means to us is, we need to do more for less results.
The website goes on to state that women, specifically, have more body fat than men genetically. And on average, we will need an average of 1 hour exercise 5 times a week MAINTAIN our body weight after the age of 40.
I don’t know how accurate the website is but it sure explains why it’s so much more difficult for older women to maintain their figures.
This was bad news for me. I wasn’t blessed with skinny genes in the first place so I knew that I needed to try to increase my exercise level gradually and decrease calories to try to keep my figure trim through the years. The irony is, I find myself having less and less time to exercise in between work, tutoring, driving my kids to school and their various extra-curricular activities, social activities, hanging out with my husband and of course, rest.
However, as in anything with life, if you really want it, you’ll make time for it. And I did.
In my case, I have gone through so many home exercise programs. Videos of Tae Bo, Pilates and Hip Hop Abs were staples for me. I also purchased a jump rope, an adult sized hula hoop (which my daughter actually enjoys more than me) and weights. My in-laws also purchased a treadmill for my husband, which I got more use out of. I had a lot of options because the offset of home exercise is it can be boring and tedious. The TV and bed beckon enticingly when you’re at home so getting up to exercise makes it doubly hard.
Now that the kids are bigger, I am able to get away for an hour and a half twice a week (this includes travel time) to join a Zumba Class which I love. The perfect blend of dance and cardio, the trainer really gives you a complete workout. It has great value for money too since it has a pay when you attend policy and no money down required.
It may be hard sometimes but exercise is completely worth it. Exercise really helps me in more ways than one. I feel lighter and more energetic because of it. For some reason, it helps alleviate my allergy and sinus problems. And… being a woman I am not free from vanity, fitting into my old jeans and dresses is a morale boosting (AND economical) side effect of exercising. They also say that exercise will slow down aging signs and is considered the modern day fountain of youth, which I’m sure all women long for.
I am crossing my fingers that when I turn 40, 50 or 60 I will still be able to find exercise programs that hold my interest and fit my lifestyle.