With the holidays fast approaching and the worry of overeating on our brains, now is the perfect time to fit some effective exercises into our lives. Now, I’m not even going to discuss new year’s…whatever, but instead concentrate what we can do NOW to help us get through the holidays with good cheer and great bodies. Many women are not sure about the best exercises they should be doing and for their specific age range, so I enlisted the expert advice from Meg Furstoss, MS, NSCA-CSCS, founder of Precision Sports Performance.
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While watching what we eat is the most effective way to fight any weight gain over the holidays, we’ve got the deets on six of the best exercises for women (in various age ranges) that will assist in your weight management while also being good to your heart!
Cardio, One Of Best Exercises
According to Meg Furstoss, Cardio is king when you are trying to lose weight. For non-cardio lovers, Rebound Jumping is a fun way to get your cardio in, while still having fun. The trampoline is also very easy on the joints, meaning if your knees bother you when you run, try this. It’s also a full body high intensity workout that targets your large muscle groups, like calves, quads, glutes, core. It also works to strengthen your balance. Best part, you can burn up to 100 calories in just 10 minutes. That means, a 30-minute class at PSP, you can burn about 300 calories.
I am not going to say I love cardio, but it has a ton of benefits and a great way to not only get fit, but get your heart rate up and hits various muscles all at the same time. I would suggest you consult a doctor for any exercise regimen, especially if you have any medical issues.
Squats For Killer Legs
For sculpted killer legs, split squats specifically target your glutes, hamstrings, core and quads. This exercise is also incredibly beneficial to runners as it strengthens coordination and balance, which can help increase your run speed.
Squats are no joke and when I was big into Jazzercise, they were a big part of the regimen. They really work but be conscious on how you do them so you don’t hurt your knees. They are truly one of the best exercises for a sexy rump! I had to leave them alone because they are hurting my knees. Check with doc first!
The deadlift is hands down the best exercise for everyday life. It trains your body to pick up heavy items from the floor, like your grocery bags, your child, etc. It works all your key muscles like your glutes, quads, hamstrings, back, and even strengthens your core.
If you notice that your back has been hurting you, it could be your posture. DB Prone Rows have been shown to improve your posture by strengthening your back muscles and help support the weight of your breasts.
How to do them:
Using a neutral grip, lean into an incline bench. Take a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip, beginning with the arms straight. This will be your starting position. Retract the shoulder blades and flex the elbows to row the dumbbells to your side. BodyBuilding.com
I haven’t tried these…ever, but as more women take fitness seriously outside of cardio, I am seeing more women not only embracing deadlifts, but loving them for what they do for our bodies.
Rob Sulaver, CSCS, founder of Bandana Training in NYC explains:
“Using that many muscles has a powerful [anabolic] effect on the body. When you lift heavy, intensely and aggressively, you create a hormonal environment that’s great for both strength gains and fat loss.” Oxygenmag.com
Curl + Press
Curl and press is a simple compound movement that hits several muscles in the arms (biceps, shoulders, triceps). It’s the simple nature makes it easy to perform even when fatigued and the compound aspect makes it efficient in hit multiple muscle groups in a short period of time.
I love free weights and do this when I”m back on track with my exercising. Trust me when I tell you I”m still striving for Michelle Obama arms and these are one of the best exercises for them!
When it comes to abs planks are considered the gold standard. Current thinking is moving away from repetitive ab exercises such as the sit up or crunch due to their impact on the spine. Isometric and anti-rotational exercises have been shown to produce the best results with the lowest chance of injury. Other types include, but are not limited to, side planks, anti-rotational press, leg lift holds, etc.
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Best Exercises for Women in Their 30’s & 40’s
Our age matters when it comes to exercise so I did ask Meg for some distiction on the best exercises for women in their 30s and 40s.
During your thirties, you will start to notice that progress is not made as easily as when you were younger and injuries may start to pop up. At this stage in your life the goal needs to be to maintain a high level of physical activity as well as recover properly to avoid injury and burnout. Resistance training should continue to maintain strength and high intensity should be incorporated to maintain cardiovascular fitness.
Your forties are where most people start to become aware of certain health problems related to lack of physical fitness and/or poor diet. Things like high blood pressure, chronic stress, depression, or cardiovascular disease to name a few. During this period, diet becomes even more important. Eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy body weight will be the most effective means of maintaining lifelong health, along with continuing to remain physically active.
This is also the period in most people’s life where things like work and family obligations will prevent you from exercising as much as you should. It is important to find a balance that will allow you to maintain your health along with any other obligations you may have. Exercises that would be best are lower impact open chain exercises. Open chain exercises mean that your hand or foot are able to move while you’re doing the exercise like chest presses, bicep curls, leg curls and leg extensions. These can be done with or without weights.
Now, it’s time to make it happen! I’m psyched and ready to make this holiday season great by incorporating the best exercises for my body and age. Are you ready?
Learn more about Meg Furstoss here: Precision Sports Performance