The Best Workouts for Women Over 40

By Tanya McIntosh
women over 40 working out

There’s no age limit to enjoying a physically active lifestyle. Some people walk down this route as young as teenagers, and some others (myself included) jump on the bandwagon later in life. Years of tweaking my workout regimen to accommodate my ever-changing body has been an enjoyable journey. It turns out that you don’t have to over-exert yourself to stay fit.

With the right workout routine in place, you can still experience the same feeling of contentment after a good workout as you did before. My journey towards discovering which exercises are friendly for women of my age group is a continuing one, but here’s what I’ve discovered so far.

There are tons of simple workouts that yield results. Here’s a breakdown of some of the best workouts for women over 40:

Best Workouts for Women Over 40 (Beginners)

The Seven-minute Workout Routine

This workout routine consists of a succession of 12 exercises, each for 30 seconds. You are allowed a 10-second breather between exercises. Once you are comfortable with this workout, you can repeat the entire routine for two or three more rounds if you like.

The routine engages all of your major muscles and helps with your heart rate. I also love that this entire routine is easy to do and doesn’t take much time. Plus, you can do the entire routine anywhere.

The seven-minute workout routine includes wall sits, abdominal crunches, jumping jacks, push-ups, stepping up on a chair, squats, planks, tricep dips, high knees while running in a fixed place, lunges, and push-ups combined with rotation, and side plank on each side

Recommended Bodyweight Routine

This workout routine was developed in 2012 and is based on the principles from the book Overcoming Gravity. It is ideal if you’re looking to work on improving your strength, gaining muscle, and losing fat. Remember to take care of what you include in your diet too. A healthy and balanced diet is the best accompaniment for any workout regimen.

This routine comprises nine exercises that you can work into your workout regimen three times each week. The great thing about this routine is that there is always a less complicated exercise in case you have difficulty with a particular exercise. For instance, if you are having trouble with doing a push-up, begin with wall pushes. You can work your way to an actual push-up from there.

Take on the most difficult exercise forms in a progression of your choice, for three sets of 5-8 reps. Then carry on with the next set of exercises the next time you work out. You are allowed 90 seconds of rest after each set.

SimpleFit Workout Routine for Beginners

This simple routine only requires 3 days (each week) of working out. It is made up of three exercises every day:

The First Day
Try to accomplish as many rounds as you can cover in 20 minutes.
Pull-ups
Push-ups
Squats
The Second Day
Try covering five rounds and monitor the time you take for each round. Take a
three-minute break between rounds.
Increase the number of pull-ups
Increase the number of push-ups
Increase the number of squats
The Third Day
Take one round as fast as your stamina allows.
Increase the number of pull-ups
Increase the number of push-ups
Increase the number of squats

Intermediate & Experienced Workouts

For a Healthy Heart

Cardio workouts are the best way to keep your heart rate at a healthy level. Make time for cardio exercises about three or four times a week. You can try any form of exercise, from spinning, running, rowing, swimming, or dancing. 

One of the simplest ways to know that you need to pick up your pace is if you aren’t sweating. Give it your all, sweat it out.

To Prevent Osteoporosis

Taking calcium supplements or eating foods that are rich in this essential nutrient are good ways to ensure the health of your bone. Seal the deal by engaging in high-impact activities such as jumping, dancing, jogging, walking, or even picking up any form of racquet sports.

To Fight Arthritis

With age comes the risk of arthritis. You are especially at risk if you already suffer from chronic joint pain and stiffness. People who had a joint injury in the past or are overweight are also at high risk of developing arthritis. It’s never too early to start working out because a physically active body is a lot more equipped at fighting off an ailment or injury than an idle one.

To ward off arthritis, focus on strength training. They not only help prevent arthritis but are also helpful for people who suffer from aches and pains in the joints. Strength training workouts are as simple as doing squats, deadlift, and overhead presses. 

To Combat Back Pain

Back pains usually begin to show up once we reach the age of 30. Things can only get more intense if you don’t adopt healthier eating habits and don’t take care to get some form of physical workout. 

Strengthening your core can help alleviate back pain. One great way to do so is by holding a plank for about 90 seconds. Do this for about three times a week. Planking is beneficial because it not only works the abs, but also engages the muscles in the chest and the areas surrounding the spine. 

For the Sake of Your Mental Health

Studies indicate that women between the ages of 45 and 64 are at high risk of depression. Any form of physical activity, if done regularly, helps relieve stress and mental ‘blockages’. However, if we were to pick one activity that especially helps with improving mental health, it’s yoga. 

Yoga increases the GABA levels in the human body. The GABA is a mood-regulating neurotransmitter that is usually deficient in people who are prone to depression. Participants who took up yoga reported an improvement in their mental health over time. 

Simple Everyday Workouts for Women Over 40

Burpees

Burpees are an easy form of exercise that promotes a healthy metabolism. Do this exercise one or twice every week. Begin with 3 reps and add one repetition each time if you like.

Squats

Squatting is beneficial for a lot of reasons, but one of the popular ones is that it helps maintain the muscle mass of your backside. If done right, squats also help tone the body and improve your flexibility.

Plank

Planking for about 90 seconds three times a week is a simple way to tone your core muscles. It also strengthens your abs, chest muscles, and the muscles surrounding the spine.

Dumbbells

You don’t have to lift big weights to enjoy the benefits of good strength training. Dumbbells work just as well. Do deadlifts or overhead presses with dumbbells that are in the 1-3 kg range. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and do the aforementioned exercise two to three times a week.

Elliptical Machine

Working out on an elliptical machine is a great way to put your body through a low-impact cardio workout. If you’re looking to improve your heart rate, exercise at 80 percent of your maximum heart rate for at least 30 minutes. Do this three or four times each week.

Jump Rope

Skipping is a high-impact workout that offers all-round health benefits. It is especially helpful for increasing the strength of your bones. For maximum impact, make sure to stay close to the ground when you jump.

This form of physical exercise also allows a good cardio workout and helps maintain muscle mass. You can begin with a doable 30-seconds, and then work your way up from there. As your body gets used to this activity, try amping up your speed too. 

Take a Walk

Not a fan of working out per say? Something as simple as walking around your neighborhood should be good. Walking helps burn calories, tones the body, and aids in boosting one’s mood.

Wrapping Up

It’s never too early or late to start on or continue with your journey towards a fitter self. There are plenty of ways for women over 40 to enjoy a good workout session both outdoors and indoors. 

If you’re looking for something to blow steam off, kickboxing is an exciting way to do so. It not only helps get aggression out, but is also an excellent fat-burning exercise. Kickboxing also helps tighten and tone the muscles in your legs, butt, arms, and abs.

Exercising can seem challenging and impractical as we get older. But that is far from the truth. Exercising regularly has a ton of benefits. It helps lower the risk of diseases, it strengthens your physique, and it improves your mental health. Some experts even claim that exercising helps improve your memory.

Figuring out which exercise form you enjoy is a journey on its own – one that will hopefully be pleasant and exciting for you. Go ahead and discover the many ways you can lead a physically active and fit lifestyle. 

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AUTHOR
Tanya McIntosh

After years of coaching, I can safely say that I'm ready to help anyone who is in need of my expertise. My goal is to help you start your lifelong journey to health and fitness. With a handful of handy guides, which can help make your workout easier, whether it’s in a gym or at home.