An Ongoing Conversation
A friend and I spent many minutes on the phone today talking about youth, middle age, bodily changes, weight gain or loss, and why the heck we put our body through hours of exercising, running, spinning or anything else we can think of that gets our heart rate up, our pores oozing sweat, our breathing rapid, and our muscles screaming for relief as we feed it with collagen and protein.
Our conversation ended the same way: working out is much more than losing weight or looking good. For any age, but especially 40 and climbing it’s a necessity to living well and whole.
So we are going to talk about our conversation in this article.
40s is the new 20s. If you listen to media long enough you have heard that said, and if you are approaching, or at 40, your heart loves the sound of it – until the pain starts in places you never experienced before, your moods change in ways that startle you, some foods aren’t quite sitting well, and weight that was so easy to put off has decided it has more power over you than you expected. Welcome to the new you to navigate. And it doesn’t quite feel like 20.
And that was the theme of our conversation. At some point lifestyle changes like exercise are no longer centered on looking thin and cute, which is the direction the manufacturers of diet pills focus on. At some point exercising and eating right is a matter of life and death for some, and the determining factor in whether one lives a life of quality or constant management.
Ladies, that body which served you well is now, or soon to be, a machine with its fair share of wear and tear. It is what it is. it’s called living. Let’s see what’s happening.
- You suddenly don’t function on 4 hours of sleep like you used to. Check
- You suddenly have migraines. Ugh. Check
- Meat, wheat, and diary doesn’t sit well. Ouch. Check
- Blood pressure? Is it supposed to see such high numbers? Check
- Sore muscles aren’t recovering fast enough. Check
- Feeling upset and restless, and agitated, and out of control…over what?! Check
- Muscles don’t feel firm? Check
- Joints are stiffer in the morning or during the day? Check
Any of the above sound like what you are going through? It’s time to change your lifestyle. It’s time to exercise. Don’t worry if you never lifted a weight or smelled a gym in your early years; it’s never too late to start. In fact studies have shown that those who started exercising later in life (40+) lowered their mortality rate 32 to 35 percent compared to a control group (people who never exercised) even after taking into consideration body mass index, alcohol consumption and other life factors. So we have taken care of that excuse.
Leaving cute and thin off the plate, let’s see what exercise does inside you to help you feel 20 at 40.
- Longer Telomeres: Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. Source. Those shorten with time and shorter ones are generally associated with illness, cancer, and other diseases. Exercise prevents it from shortening. Read studies here.
- Increased Energy: Exercise releases endorphins, which improves your mood and energy levels. That works wonders to combat that fatigue and mood swings.
- Life Threatening Conditions: Weight training/exercising lowers your blood pressure, reduces Rest Heart Rate, improves insulin sensitivity, lower triglycerides(fat in the blood).
- Mitochondria: Simply the powerhouse of the cell, it is the part of a cell that turns sugars, fats and proteins that we eat into forms of chemical energy that the body can use to carry on living. Basically the quote below explains what exercise does to mitochondria.
“Aerobic exercise removes damaged mitochondria in skeletal muscle. If you do it repeatedly, you keep removing the damaged ones. You have a better muscle with better mitochondrial quality. We clean up the clunkers, now the city, the cell, is full of healthy, functional cars.”
Prof. Zhen Yan (source)
Please note that the benefits listed above have not made looking thin or looking like your teenage self the forefront or focus. We want every woman to think of what’s happening inside their bodies and how exercise can enhance their health and quality of life.
We all want to have energy, visit the doctor less, play with our children and grandchildren, and build on our purpose to contribute to our piece of the planet.
So saddle on those workout shoes, buy that cute workout gear, and go get your exercise in. Make sure its cardio and weight training (no you will not look like a man), and have fun.
And because I know us (cuteness factor), yes you will look thinner and toned with better posture and confidence.
Enjoyed this article? Share with other women in your tribe. And leave comments on how exercise has changed your life. We love to hear from you.
ALVN ~ The Most Inspiring Network For Women ~
Imeh Esen, the writer of this article, is in her 40s. She exercises 5 days a week, implementing free weights, cardio, and circuit training. However, she didn’t start there. At one point she exercised three times a week and used a personal trainer and other supportive community to motivate her. She eats very clean, keeping things as organic as possible, and reduces her intake of meat, wheat, and dairy.
This new lifestyle has helped her stay toned and agile, fight fatigue and body aches, and deal with migraines and mood swings. She writes the above article from experience.