When you reach age 30 your metabolism slows down (Photo: iStock)

 

Maintaining muscle is a prerequisite for all women, especially in the child-bearing years. According to exercise experts, most adults lose almost a half-pound of muscle annually starting at age 30.

This happens especially for those who were not as active when they were younger. Unfortunately, it is around age 30 that metabolism slows down.

Combined with muscle loss, it becomes a recipe for weight gain and all the health issues that come with it. You need to start exercising early and effectively in your 20s.

You are not alone

It is encouraging that the female population is becoming more physically active. It could be motivated by the realisation that the risk of age-related osteoporosis and a whole load of other lifestyle diseases increases when physical activity is not practised as a lifestyle habit.

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Do not be left out. You would surely like to take the stairs at the age of 70 without complaining about your knees. Exercising is about keeping fit, not just about becoming slim. If this is your goal too, ditch cardio and start building muscle.

Muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat

Muscles need more oxygen and blood supplied as compared to fat. This means that the body will burn more calories as it maintains muscle. So, the more muscle you build, the more calories you will burn when working out and resting.

A surprising fact is that building muscle is achievable in a very short time. A study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that among other exercises, weight training for about 20 minutes, and thrice a week will yield the greatest impact in preventing age-related belly fat.

 Consult your doctor before pursuing any weight loss challenge (Photo: iStock)
Fitness has three fundamental pillars

First of all, strength is attained through resistance training through exercises that push your own body weight such as push-ups and using equipment such as dumbbells. Secondly, flexibility is needed for everyday muscle expansion and contraction.

Thirdly, endurance is achieved by regulated cardiovascular exercise. It was previously thought that only aerobic exercise could lift up a mood or decrease anxiety levels. Weight training can have even much better results, the best with moderate training. To realise your goal, you need to understand what works for you in relation to your age.

Exercise smart

Over-exercising will only weaken your bones and increase your stress levels due to excessive soreness. Practice dynamic stretching to increase joint lubrication and mobility, and decrease the risk of injury.

 Squats, leg swings, shoulder shrugs and arm rotations offer great forms of stretching. Focus your stretching on the body parts that you will allocate more workout time.

For women, no need to worry about becoming bulky

Weight training will not suddenly turn a woman into the Hulk! Instead, it will build your body to be the strongest form of itself and works on your natural curves.

You can gain strength without bulking. You will strengthen your core, shoulders and back, helping you correct bad posture and prevent lower back pain.

More tips:

You do not have to go to the gym to lift weights effectively. Do push-ups, lift an old tire, and use dumbbells and free weights. Remember to consult your doctor before pursuing any weight loss challenge, especially if you have a history of an eating disorder.