BY JOANNE BARRY COLON
Did you know that—for a woman—a healthy body fat is anywhere from 14 to 30 percent? Having a body fat percentage of 30 or higher increases your health risk. Women over the age of 50 who participate in a weight training program three to five days per week can build around half- to one pound of muscle mass in a given month combined with a healthy diet.
The American Council on Exercise recommends the following body fat range for women over age 50:
• Female athletes: 14 to 20 percent body fat
• Fit Female: 21 to 24 percent body fat
• Average Female: 25 to 30 percent body fat
As a Certified Personal Trainer and fitness specialist, I encourage clients to focus their time and energy on weight training or high intensity interval training (known as HIIT) to reap the benefits of fat loss, bone health and overall health.
Most clients are interested in “losing weight”—for them, that means engaging in more cardiovascular exercises. But doing more cardiovascular exercises will actually cause one to gain weight. Below are six reasons that lifting weights is important:
1. Fat Loss: Adding muscle, metabolically active tissue, to your body will increase your resting metabolism rate, which means that even when you’re sitting, you’re burning calories.
2. Bone Density: As we age, we lose bone mass. Performing heavy-weight exercises helps to prevent bone loss and conditions such as osteoporosis.
3. Strength: You will get stronger and everyday things such as carrying laundry or children will get easier.
4. Attitude Boost: Lifting a weight that you didn’t think was possible can be very liberating and empowering.
5. Injury Prevention: Stronger muscles and tendons promote protection and stability in the joints, which may help you avoid injuries during exercise and everyday activities.
6. Lean Curves and Great Posture: Say goodbye to slouchy and hello to rounded shoulders, firm legs, arms and abdominals.
Cardiovascular training generally helps to lose weight, however, the weight loss will generally come from a small percentage of fat and muscle. Therefore, what you’re left with is a smaller, “softer” version of yourself—and as you lose muscle, your skin tone gets soft.
Cardiovascular training promotes higher levels of cortisol release, which is the primary hormone that encourages lean muscle mass loss, resulting in fat accumulation around the abdominal area.
To be clear, I am not suggesting that you skip cardiovascular training, as there are many health benefits such as:
• Decrease Heart Disease
• Decrease Stress and Anxiety
• Decrease Insomnia
• Decrease Alzheimer Risk
• Improves Digestion
I am recommending that you choose a weight/cardiovascular ratio that works best for your overall health and wellness goals. To ensure that you’re progressing, below are five ways to help track your progress efficiently:
• Take measurements weekly/monthly
• Avoid weighing yourself, as the scale does not give an accurate measurement
• Shoot full body pictures (before and monthly)
• Strength stats—lock your workouts daily.
• To avoid over training and injuries increase weights a minimum of every two to three weeks.
Before starting a weight-training versus cardiovascular-training program, consult your physician. For best results, work one on one with a Certified Personal Trainer, fitness specialist or fitness coach.
To learn more about the best ratio for you, redeem this article for a complimentary workout. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.