How to Stay in Shape After Menopause

How to Stay in Shape After Menopause. Post Menopause Health & Fitness

How to Stay in Shape After Menopause. Post Menopause Health & Fitness

image of a woman stretching before a workout

Staying in shape is challenging enough but tack on sleep struggles, memory loss, anxiety, muscle loss, and weight gain…

Sounds like an uphill battle, right?

This condition is actually something more than half of the population goes through!

It’s menopause.

In this article, we dive into a few simple, proven methods for staying in shape through and after menopause. If you’re a woman who wants to avoid experiencing the many negative impacts that menopause can have, keep scrolling.

Jump to Topic:
Strength Training and Menopause
Hot Flashes
Calorie Deficit
High Protein Diet

Menopause is defined as a “biological process,” but it might also be appropriate to describe it as a “challenge” or “health issue.” Menopause produces a number of stressful outcomes, including sleep disturbances, hot flashes, increased urination, poor memory, and anxiety (Leite et al., 2010).

Following menopause, women are susceptible to a number of fitness- and health-related issues. Postmenopause, women are also likely to gain weight, lose muscle, lose bone, and are more likely to develop heart disease (Leite et al., 2010).

Other health concerns at this time are the worsening of a few heart disease risk factors, including the rise in insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes), blood glucose, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.

Unfortunately, menopause isn’t avoidable. However, the issues following menopause are avoidable.

Strength training is an especially important part of maintaining health after menopause. There are several reasons why strength training helps.

Image of a happy woman about to lead a workout class

How Strength Training Can Help Post-Menopause

Health and fitness

As mentioned, menopause is often followed by a loss of muscle, bone, weight gain, and a number of health issues. Strength training reverses all of these trends. Specifically, postmenopausal women can gain muscle, strengthen bones, lose fat, and increase metabolism (fighting against weight gain) with strength training (Leite et al., 2010; Watson et al., 2017).

Weight lifting is also shown to combat all of the health concerns, leading to healthier levels of blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, and insulin resistance. As a whole, strength training can help women reduce their risk of developing heart disease.

Hot flashes

Hot flashes are known for causing lost sleep, nausea, headaches, anxiety, headaches and weakness (Berin et al., 2019). Frequency varies, but some women can have them as often as every hour!

While this is not a commonly known benefit, strength training can actually reduce hot flash episodes (Berin et al., 2019). One study showed that twice-weekly strength training led to a 44% decrease in hot flashes! Strength training raises endorphin levels, which might fight against some of the internal changes that occur before a hot flash.

We know strength training is important, but nutrition is also a huge piece of your wellbeing. If you'd like help  learning how to implement these new habits, schedule a Nutrition Intro session today! Email [email protected]com to get started.

Other Ways to Maintain Post-Menopausal Health

Exercise is most effective for post-menopausal fitness when combined with dietary changes. Specifically, exercise and diet changes combined can maximize fat loss, maintaining or building muscle, and enhancing measures of health (Deibert et al., 2007; Foster-Schubert et al., 2012; Smith et al., 2016). Specifically, two approaches are especially helpful.

Calorie Deficit

Reducing calories is an effective way to lose fat and maintain a healthy level of body fat and inflammation (Foster-Schubert et al., 2012; Van Gemert et al., 2016). When combined with exercise, calorie control is an effective way to specifically reduce midsection body fat, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose, and blood pressure (Deibert et al., 2007).

In research, a few strategies were effective for reducing calorie intake. Among the effective strategies were working with nutrition coaches, tracking their own behaviors (food journaling, etc.), learning strategies for changing behavior, using meal replacement supplements in place of two meals per day, receiving social support and accountability from others, and documenting weekly weigh-ins (Deibert et al., 2007; Foster-Schubert et al., 2012; Van Gemert et al., 2016).

High Protein Diet

Calorie restriction that includes a low daily intake of protein led to a large amount of muscle loss (Smith et al., 2016). Eating a “high-protein diet” while restricting calories can greatly reduce the amount of muscle lost during weight loss (Smith et al., 2016). A desirable protein intake for maintaining muscle during weight loss or weight maintenance is around 0.7-1.0 grams/lb of body weight per day.

For example, if you weigh 200 lbs and your goal is to maintain that weight, you should consume 140-200 grams of protein per day.

Other Ways to Maintain Post-Menopausal Health

If no intentional actions are taken, women might gain weight, lose muscle, and experience a big decline in health during menopause. Thankfully, a few actions can help women stay in shape during and after menopause.

Strength training helps women maintain muscle, avoid weight gain, and reduce the frequency of hot flashes. Eating in a calorie deficit, using strategies such as working with a coach and using a food journal, can lead to fat loss or maintain your desired weight. Combining exercise and calorie restriction can ensure great health, including maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood glucose.

Menopause can wreak havoc on a woman’s body, but that havoc is not inevitable. Strength training and calorie-reducing habits can lead to great health and fitness well beyond menopause.

  • Berin, E., Hammar, M., Lindblom, H., Lindh-Astrand, L, Ruber, M., & Spetz Holm, A.C. (2019). Resistance training for hot flushes in postmenopausal women: a randomised controlled trial. Maturitas, 126, 55-60.
  • Deibert, P., König, D., Vitolins, M. Z., Landmann, U., Frey, I., Zahradnik, H. P., & Berg, A. (2007). Effect of a weight loss intervention on anthropometric measures and metabolic risk factors in pre-versus postmenopausal women. Nutrition Journal, 6(1), 1-7.
  • Foster Schubert, K. E., Alfano, C. M., Duggan, C. R., Xiao, L., Campbell, K. L., Kong, A., … & McTiernan, A. (2012). Effect of diet and exercise, alone or combined, on weight and body composition in overweight to obese postmenopausal women. Obesity, 20(8), 1628-1638.
  • Leite, R.D., Prestes, J., Pereira, G.B., Shiguemoto, G.E., & Perez, S.E. (2010). Menopause: highlighting the effects of resistance training. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 31, 761-767.
  • Smith, G. I., Yoshino, J., Kelly, S. C., Reeds, D. N., Okunade, A., Patterson, B. W., … & Mittendorfer, B. (2016). High-protein intake during weight loss therapy eliminates the weight-loss-induced improvement in insulin action in obese postmenopausal women. Cell Reports, 17(3), 849-861.
  • Van Gemert, W. A., May, A. M., Schuit, A. J., Oosterhof, B. Y., Peeters, P. H., & Monninkhof, E. M. (2016). Effect of weight loss with or without exercise on inflammatory markers and adipokines in postmenopausal women: the SHAPE-2 trial, a randomized controlled trial. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers, 25(5), 799-806.
  • Watson, S.L., Weeks, B.K., Weis, L.J., Harding, A.T., Horan, S.A., & Beck, B.R. (2017). High-intensity resistance training and impact training improves bone mineral density and physical function in postmenopausal women wiht osteopenia and osteoporosis: the LIFTMOR Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.3284

Getting Hurt in the Gym to Safely Getting Results

From Always Getting Hurt in the Gym to Safely Getting Results

Female member on leg press machine with personal trainer

“I was doing pilates 2-3 times a week and weightlifting 3 days a week… and I was always hurting.

I even had a trainer but it felt like they were more focused on me lifting heavier and heavier weights than doing anything with proper form. And I was doing a lot of fast movements.

A friend of mine who I did pilates with, referred me to The Perfect Workout.

After learning about the method in my Introductory Workout, I really liked the slow, controlled movements. And with this workout, I could get the benefit of working with heavier weights… safely.

Over the years I had several foot injuries which caused problems in my legs. When I began training at the SW Ft. Worth studio, if I told the trainers something hurt, they would immediately modify the exercise.

I get more accomplished at The Perfect Workout than my old workout because all the trainers are aware of little nuances that make a big difference. They know when to modify an exercise and when to make it more challenging.

I feel very safe here because they constantly watch my form, make sure I’m doing everything correctly, and make sure my injuries aren't getting worse or let me get injured at all.

One of my areas of concern was my rear end, so a goal of mine was to target my glute muscles- get them firmer and stronger!

Knowing this was a big goal of mine, the trainers positioned me meticulously on the machines to help target, tighten, and lift my glutes. And I am thrilled at the results.”

Graph of progress on leg press machine, trending upwards
This image shows Michelle's strength progression on the Leg Press over the course of 3 years.

Since incorporating slow-motion strength training, Michelle:

  • Increased her Leg Press strength 164%. Starting weight was 167lbs. Now she pushes 410lbs
  • Got 81% stronger on Hip Abduction, pushing 97lbs when she started. Today, she pushes 167lbs.
  • Lost over 3 inches at her waist

“I've been with The Perfect Workout for several years now and I don't see myself ever leaving.

To me, The Perfect Workout is truly perfect because of the amount of time it takes (or doesn’t take). I originally thought that there's no way twice a week would ever work.

But it's proven to work, and I don't hurt myself anymore. I'm working out a third of the time I used to so I don't see myself ever doing something different.”

Michelle Pittman
SW FT. Worth, TX

If you’re a current member and you’d like to share how The Perfect Workout has helped you achieve results- inside and out, please apply by filling out this form.

If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

From No Accountability to Consistently Exercising

From No Accountability to Consistently Exercising

Lori Zalewski - Female Client at The Perfect Workout

Lori Zalewski, 55, looked to gain strength and maintain her activity levels.

Her father-in-law recently passed away and she observed first-hand some of the challenges he went through.


“He was overweight and weak and it took many nurses to move him from the bed to a chair. I don't want that to happen to me.”


But Lori faced struggles of her own- staying consistent and accountable.


“I have tons of hand weights at home, but I just won't do it by myself.”


Lori’s sister was working with a personal trainer doing slow-motion weight training and recommended Lori give it a try too

Since her sister’s trainer was too far away, Lori did her research and found a personal training studio near her in Park Ridge, IL.

Now, she exercises with her own personal trainer at The Perfect Workout.


After staying consistent with her workouts and gaining strength all over, Lori:

  • Can move all of her camping equipment by herself
  • Can carry a full water bucket to the utility sink without spilling it
  • Can do heavy house cleaning for days on end and not feel sore.

“The Perfect Workout is worth trying if you are leery about lifting weights. You can get a good workout in without breaking a sweat in 20 minutes.”


As for how Lori feels now…


“I am stronger and feel more confident.”

If you want more information on how to incorporate slow-motion strength training into your workout routine, we have a free introductory session. If you’d like to know more about how to work with a trainer online, get a free consultation call with a Personal Trainer.

Best Exercises for Women over 60 + Workouts To Avoid

Best Exercises for Women over 60 & and The Workouts To Avoid

Woman Running in athletic wear

One of the most common questions we get from someone beginning an exercise routine is “What are the best exercises for me?” 

While there are tons of resources on the best exercises for losing weight or the best exercises for specific conditions, women in their 60s are in a unique time in their life. Not considered a young adult, but just barely considered a senior. Not to mention being post-menopausal and all the bodily changes that come with it. This requires specific guidance.


There are certain requirements for women over 60 to exercise effectively and lose weight. So what
are they?  


There are many factors to consider while answering this question: cardio vs. weight training, what to do and what not to do, how often to exercise, how to lose weight and keep it off, and what’s worked for real-life people.


In this article, we’ll cover it all. 


If you’re a woman over 60 this is for you. If you’re not, well, stick around, you may be able to help someone who is.

 

Jump to a Topic:

weight loss woman over 60

How to Lose Weight in your 60s and Keep it Off

Losing weight in your 40s, 50s, and 60s can prove to be a much bigger challenge than it used to be. Why is that?

There are a few reasons why your post-menopausal body seems to be a bit more resistant to losing weight and keeping it off.

Sleep

Many women during and after menopause have trouble sleeping. Decreased sleep quality and duration can lead to unexpected weight gain.

Hormones

We don’t have to tell you that as a woman, your hormones are constantly going through a wild ride. From menstrual cycles to childbearing and menopause, it can feel like a rollercoaster. Estrogen in particular can be a cause of increased body fat when levels are very low or very high.

Age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia)

Muscle tissue changes from decade to decade, no matter who you are. Muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60. Muscle loss can also contribute to limited physical ability, low energy, and decreased metabolism.

Insulin Resistance

Women naturally become more resistant to insulin as they get older, resulting in an increase in insulin and blood sugar levels. This can lead to additional weight gain.

 

Although these factors may feel like roadblocks to looking and feeling the way you want to, know we have some simple solutions to combat them.

Making changes to your diet and nutrition is a necessary part of making any long-lasting changes to your body. This may take some experimentation and guidance from your Doctor or a Dietician to decipher what works best for you.

As for the exercises, we’ve got you covered.

Strength Training is hands-down the most effective way to combat sarcopenia (age-related- muscle loss). It helps maintain and increase lean muscle mass.

With the addition of lean muscle mass, your body naturally burns more calories, which helps aid in fat loss and sustainable maintenance.

Strength training is also a very effective sleep aid. In fact, just two slow-motion sessions a week can help you to sleep better and longer. AND if that’s not enough, improved sleep helps to steady blood sugar levels, which we know is one of those pesky side effects of getting older.

So, prioritize strength training in order to maintain muscle mass, improve sleep, regulate blood sugar levels and make changes to your diet based on your nutritional needs. (We suggest starting with your protein intake!)

woman over 60 lifting weights with a personal trainer

Should Women Over 60 Lift Weights?

Yes, women in their 60s (and all ages, really) should lift weights. Muscles aren’t a young man’s game. Men and women can gain both strength and muscle at all stages of life.

A big reason why this is so important is muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60. Muscle loss can also contribute to limited physical ability, low energy, and decreased metabolism.

Muscle Loss Over Time Infographic

Research shows there are enormous benefits of strength training for women 60 years or older such as:

  • stronger bones
  • improved balance
  • a lower fall risk
  • enhanced memory and focus
  • reduced blood pressure and blood glucose
  • increased protection against the development of many chronic diseases.

Should Women Over 60 Do Cardio?

The short answer – it depends on why you’re doing it. The long answer, we need to dive a little deeper…

Cardio is an aerobic activity that significantly increases the heart rate, thus conditioning the cardiovascular system. The most common cardio activities are walking, biking, running, and swimming.

Many people do cardio with the intent to achieve fat loss, which is not all that efficient. But many others do cardio to meet psychological and emotional needs.

Going for a walk or run can be a great way to decrease stress, clear your mind, enjoy nature and improve your overall feeling of well-being.

A potential problem is that cardio activities create more opportunities for getting injured. High-intensity cardio like running, sprinting, jumping, or anything that involves explosive movement involves high levels of force.

And we know that force is the leading cause of injury in exercise.

Force formula translated for exercise

Because women in their 60s are at higher risk of injury such as falling (WHO), some of these activities might want to be avoided.

Running, jumping or any high-impact activity can also be hard on the joints. Genetics and pre-existing conditions also play a part here. Some of us are blessed with knees that will never give out, making it possible to withstand activities like this, with little to no challenges.

While the rest of us experience joint issues, cartilage loss, or an injury that makes activities like this painful and unsustainable.

If you’re in the latter group, activities like walking and swimming might be ideal for you, especially in your 60s. Both create little to no impact on the joints – and they’re fun!

Slow-motion strength training (SMST) can produce cardiovascular conditioning, fat loss, and muscle strength gain. When doing SMST, there is no need to do cardio or aerobics. But if it's something you like to do, then choosing one that is most enjoyable and safest on the body is ideal.

To answer the question of whether or not women in their 60s should do cardio- here’s our answer:

  • If you’re doing it to lose weight, no. Focus on increasing lean muscle mass with effective strength training and nutrition. This is a much more efficient way to lose fat.
  • If you’re doing it to meet physiological or emotional needs and enjoy an activity that does not hurt or result in injury, then go for it!

As always, partner any aerobic activity with weight-bearing exercises to avoid accelerated muscle and bone loss.

Weekly exercise schedule Monday through Sunday

How Often Should a 60-Year Old Woman Exercise?

It is recommended for women over 60 to exercise twice a week.

When we say exercise, we specifically mean high-intensity strength training. Anything else is considered recreation… and it's important to have both. Read more about exercise vs. recreation to learn the distinction and why it's so important.

Because high-intensity exercise is so demanding on the body, it requires ample time to fully recover between training sessions. By taking more time than necessary to recover, you potentially miss out on time spent doing another results-producing training session!

Training once a week is a good option for some people. Compared to working out twice a week, once a week exercisers can expect to achieve approximately 70% of the results of those who train twice a week.

This may be ideal for someone who has extremely low energy levels, is battling multiple health issues, or has a budget best suited for once-a-week training.

Graph of the body's total recovery resources

On the days in between high-intensity workouts, it is okay to be active and move the body.

Remember when we talked about doing activities that meet psychological and emotional needs? Consider rest days a great opportunity to do those activities and avoid other high-intensity or strength training exercises.

In short, most women over 60 get the best results from working out twice a week, or once every 72-96 hours.

What Are The Best Exercises For Women Over 60?

The best exercises for women in their 60s are ones that are going to help build and maintain muscle mass. These exercises should also be safe on the joints and support bone strength.

Dr. Bocchicchio, a creator of slow resistance training, also states that exercise should be something we can retain throughout a lifetime.

The best exercises should be:

  • Safe: injury and pain-free
  • Efficient: can be achieved promptly, ideally 20 minutes, twice a week
  • Effective: achieve temporary muscle failure and produce measurable results
  • Sustainable: can be done for a lifetime

Several specific strength training exercises are beneficial for a 60-something woman, but we suggest focusing on these 5 impactful exercises: Leg Press, Chest Press, Lat Pulldown, Leg Curl & Abdominals.

Leg Press

The Leg Press Machine is an incredible piece of equipment because it allows you to fully target the biggest muscle groups in the body: the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves.

A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine looked at bone density changes in women between 65 and 75 years old following a year of strength training.

During the study, the trend of bone loss that comes with age not only stopped but also reversed.

The leg press was the only major lower body exercise performed. In addition, it was credited with helping the lower back, as no direct exercise was performed for the lower back muscles. By improving bone density, the leg press reduces the risk of fractures in high-risk populations… that’s women over 60.

The leg press provides as much or more bang-for-the-buck as any one exercise does.

Chest Press

The chest press is a highly effective way to strengthen the pectorals (chest muscles), triceps, and anterior deltoids. These muscles are critical in lifting movements. Your anterior deltoids are responsible for lifting your arms in front of you.

Holding groceries, blow-drying your hair, lifting a suitcase into an overhead bin, or pushing a heavy door open are examples of activities that can become easier with stronger deltoids.

Chest Press Machine and Anatomy Graphic of muscles

Lat Pulldown

The lat pulldown could be considered the “leg press” of the upper body.
This exercise targets the Latissimus Dorsi (the “lats” or wings of the back), Trapezius (“traps” or upper back), Pectoralis Major (chest), Posterior Deltoids (shoulders), Biceps brachii (front of the upper arm)

Training the lats improves the shape of your back. As lean muscle tissue is added to the lats, it gives a ‘V’ shape to your back. Gaining muscle in your lats might help make the appearance of “love handles” become less noticeable.

The pulldown also helps improve aesthetics with your arms. The biceps and shoulders are key players in this exercise and will help make your upper arm muscles more defined.

Leg Curl

The hamstrings are large muscles that make up the back of your thighs and are the primary movers worked in the Leg Curl. In addition to the hamstrings, this power exercise also targets the calves.

These main muscles targeted by the Leg Curl are largely responsible for the appearance of your thighs and lower legs and train the muscles that are partly responsible for walking, squatting and bending the knee.

The hamstrings contract to provide knee flexion, which is the technical name for the movement
performed during the Leg Curl. Each hamstring is a group of four muscles that start on your pelvis (around the bottom of your buttocks), cover the backs of your thighs, and attach to the lower leg, just below your knee. The hamstrings have two major functions: to flex your knee and pull your thigh backward (hip extension).

This exercise is crucial in maintaining overall leg strength and function.

Leg Curl Machine and anatomical graphic of muscles

Abdominal Machine

The Abdominal Machine works – you guessed it – the abdominals, specifically the rectus abdominis. Believe it or not, the rectus abdominis does not exist only to make you look good in a bathing suit. It is also functionally significant. The abs are critical muscles for respiration.

In addition, they are major stabilization muscles. Strong abdominals help with balance and stability in everyday activities, sports (like golf and tennis) and can help to prevent falls.

By consistently doing these big five exercises, you strengthen all the major muscles in the body, creating and maintaining a strong foundation for future workouts and everyday activities.

Exercises Women Over 60 Should Avoid

Are there any exercises that women over 60 should not do? This is not an easy answer, and here’s why…

We know women in their sixties who are thriving, have more energy than ever and are just as strong as they were in their 30s. We also know women in their sixties with decades of injuries, are caretakers for others or are in a fragile state.

A quick Google search will tell you to avoid all heavy lifting or to walk and do water aerobics. We’re not going to do that.

It would be crazy to say that all women 60 to 69 should never do one type of exercise. But for some of the most common injuries or limitations we see in 60-year-old women, there are some exercises to be careful with.

Joint Issues

If you’re someone who experiences joint issues such as osteoarthritis or experiences chronic inflammation, high-impact movements like running, jumping, and burpees are probably not for you.

Shoulder Injury

Postural issues, limited range of motion, rotator cuff injuries – these should all be exercised with care and adjusted to account for the specific injury. Some exercises to avoid or alter are overhead press, skull crushers, full range of motion on chest exercises, pushups, lat pulldown, chest fly, and lateral raises.

We have worked with clients with ALL of these injuries. Most are capable of doing all exercises with alterations. If possible, avoid NOT doing these and work with someone who can help you safely accomplish a workout with a shoulder injury.

Knee Injuries

Injured knees are unfortunately very common in women over 60. However, this does not mean avoiding leg exercises. Finding a way to safely exercise the lower body is extremely important because working the biggest muscles in the body has the greatest overall effect on gaining muscle and bone density… and losing fat.

With that being said, it's vital to know how to do leg exercises with proper form to avoid further injury.

Exercises such as squats and lunges require very specific mechanics to be effective and safe. We recommend only doing those exercises if you’re very familiar with how to do them, or are working with a trained professional.

What about the exercises that are painful, no matter what? We’ve had clients over the years experience discomfort on the leg extension, despite alterations made to their range of motion, seat settings, and amount of resistance. So, we don’t do those!

Pain is a helpful indicator. Anything that hurts, besides the burning of muscles hitting temporary muscle failure, is your body’s way of saying, “Hey, something isn’t right.”

Listen to your body, and remember this rule of thumb: If the exercise isn't safe, it's not worth doing.

Woman over 60 recovering from exercise

The Perfect Workout Case Studies: Exercise Routines for Workouts for Women Age 60-69

For over 20 years we’ve helped more than 40,000 people improve their health and fitness – many being women in their 60s. Each person who works with us has a different body with limitations, a history of injuries, different wants, needs, and goals to achieve. This creates a need for customization.

Below are case studies of real clients and their ideal workouts based on their age, goals, limitations, and preferences. Identifying information has not been included to maintain client privacy.

Woman over 60 exercising with a personal trainer

Client A: Busy 64 Year Old Nurse With Multiple Injuries

64-year-old woman, from Orange County, CA
Works part-time-two 12 hours shifts as a nurse in addiction and psychiatric units. Also cares for her ill mother.

Goals:

  • Increase strength, lean muscle mass, endurance, flexibility, and improve posture
  • Strengthening of the upper body, lower body, strengthen around hips and knees.
  • Wants to be able to do everyday daily activities again without having to compensate for her injuries, ie. squat down, lift to a cabinet for a jar, reach under her sink.
  • Wants to be able to garden again.

Medical:

  • Arthritis/Joint Degeneration – neck, R-hip capsule
  • High Blood Pressure – well managed with medication
  • Joint injury – L-knee ligament, R-hip labrum tear
  • Spinal Injury – C-spine fused C3-6, surrounding discs herniated
  • Thyroid Condition – Hashimoto's thyroiditis
  • Surgeries – L-foot, hysterectomy
  • Low back pain

Customized Workout:

This Client trains 20 minutes, twice a week for maximum results in the shortest possible time.

Compound Row: Targets upper back muscles. Client performs an isometric hold, contracting the primary muscles and holding for approximately 2 minutes. This allows her to focus on working the major muscles without straining the neck, a common side effect of this exercise.

Chest Press (vertical grip): Targets chest and back of arms. Avoided for a long time due to spinal injury (neck). Recently introduced with very lightweight to gradual work on range of motion and resistance increase.

Hip Abduction: Targets outer gluteal muscles. Client performs the exercise for approximately 2 minutes, at a slightly lower intensity level to account for labrum tear and arthritis. Back support is included to adjust for spinal injuries.

Hip Adduction: Targets the inner thigh muscles. Client performs an isometric hold, contracting the primary muscles and holding for approximately 2 minutes. This allows her to maintain strength without moving the affected joint (hip)

Preacher Curl: Targets the upper arms and forearms. Client performs the exercise with a decreased range of motion (3-hole gap ~ 3-inch decrease).

Abdominal Machine: Targets abdominals. Client performs an isometric hold, contracting the abdominals for approximately 1:30-2 minutes. This helps her to engage and fatigue the muscles without overextension or flexion of the spine.

Leg Extension: Targets quadriceps and muscles surround the knee. Client performs this exercise about every 4-8 workouts adjusting for left knee ligament injury.

Leg Curl: Targets hamstrings. Client performs this exercise about every 4-8 workouts adjusting for left knee ligament injury.

Leg Press: Targets all major muscles in the lower body: glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves. Client performs the exercise with a limited range of motion (sitting further away from the footplate) to account for spinal injuries and knee injuries. Lumbar support is used.

Client B: Very Active Before Injuries

A 63-year-old woman from Chicago, IL
This client used to live a very active lifestyle: walked 20-25 miles a week, did yoga, weightlifting, and pilates.

Goals:

  • Reverse Osteoporosis
  • Be able to go on walks again
  • Build bone density and muscle in thighs and legs
  • Regain strength and fitness level she had before.
  • Improve muscle tone – shoulders, arms, thighs, calves. No timeline. Exercise pain-free!

Medical:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Osteoporosis/ Osteopenia
  • Tear in the labrum, where the biceps tendon connects. Doctor says to work on pulling motions*
    • the neck does not have complete ROM in her neck
    • pain when pressing or reaching right shoulder rotated forward

Customized Workout:

This Client trains 20 minutes, twice a week for maximum results in the shortest possible time.

Compound Row: Targets upper back muscles and arms and helps with *pulling motion. Client performs with palms facing toward each other to keep shoulder joints closed, decreased range of motion (5-hole gap ~ 5-inch decrease).

Hip Adduction: Targets the inner thigh muscles. Client performs an isometric hold, contracting the primary muscles and holding for approximately 1-2 minutes. This allows her to maintain strength without moving the affected joint (hip).

Time Static Crunch: Targets abdominals. Client performs isometric bodyweight exercise alternative to the machine that requires overhead positioning of the arms (shoulder injury).

Leg Press: Targets all major muscles in the lower body: glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves. Client performs exercise normally, along with lumbar support.

Client also does the following exercises with no major adjustments: Hip Abduction, Tricep Extension, Leg Extension, and Leg Curl.

Client C: New to Strength Training & Ready to Enjoy Retirement

A 63-year-old woman from Dallas, TX
Recently retired and wants to be able to enjoy vacationing and everyday activities without worrying about getting injured or not being able to “keep up.”

Goals:

  • Lose 50 pounds
  • Wants to be much healthier. Strengthen and tone all over. Get back into shape.
  • Be more active. Have the energy to do her daily activities without feeling winded or like she can't do it
  • She would love to enjoy an upcoming trip by walking everywhere (many steps)
  • Strengthening up legs, toning the upper and lower body
  • Wants to feel more confident and stronger to be able to enjoy life without worrying about hurting

Medical:

  • Two knee replacements
  • Scope on Left knee: scar tissue removed a bundle of nerve fibers located directly below patella
  • Occasional right shoulder pain

Customized Workout:

This Client trains 20 minutes, twice a week for maximum results in the shortest possible time.

Chest Press (Vertical Grip): Targets chest and back of arms. Client performs the exercise with a 4-hole gap, which decreases the range of motion and helps prevent additional shoulder pain. This exercise is performed each workout to help aid her goal of overall strengthening and fat loss.

Abdominal Machine: Targets abdominals. Client performs the exercise with legs out from behind the stabilizing pads and lifts knees slightly up toward the chest. This helps to prevent any additional strain on the knee and can help achieve better muscle-mind connection.

Leg Extension: Targets thighs and muscles surrounding the knee. Client performs exercise normally but does so with caution to avoid any knee pain. This exercise is particularly important to help strengthen her legs for walking and maintain strength around the knee.

Leg Press: Targets all major muscles in the lower body: glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves. Feet are placed higher up on the footplate, creating a more open and easier angle on the knee joints. Client occasionally performs an isometric hold toward the lower turnaround of the exercise when experiencing pain or pulling sensations in the knee. This exercise is performed each workout to help aid her goal of overall strengthening and fat loss.

Tricep Rope Pulldown: Targets triceps. Client often performs this exercise instead of Tricep Extension due to shoulder pain in a raised position.

Client also does the following exercises with no major adjustments: Lat Pulldown, Leg Curl Hip Abduction, Hip Adduction, Preacher Curl, and Compound Row.

Summary

You might be thinking, all the roads we’ve taken in this article have led to slow-motion strength training. And while that might be mostly true, it's not the only thing a woman over 60 should ever do to move her body or achieve overall wellness.

Women over 60 can and should be exercising. For the purpose of exercise, high-intensity weight training is recommended. It's safe, effective, efficient, and sustainable for just about every age and injury.

Women over 60 should do cardio activities that bring them joy, stress relief, and socialization. These activities should be safe for the body and not interfere with the true purpose of exercise.

Exercising twice a week is recommended to get maximum strength training results. All other recreation should be done on a desired basis.

The best exercises for women over 60 are compound movements that target the biggest muscle groups in the body, such as leg press and lat pulldown. These help to build and maintain muscle mass, increase bone density, and help with fat loss.

Injuries and limitations should be considered when exercising. Working with a trained professional like a Certified Personal Trainer is ideal when working out around injuries. However, pain is a key indicator of when NOT to do a certain exercise or movement. So, use your best judgement.

The Perfect Workout team with in studio and virtual personal training

If you want more information on how to incorporate slow-motion strength training into your workout routine, we have a free introductory session. If you’d like to know more about how to work with a trainer online, get a free consultation call with a Personal Trainer.

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Fit at 80: Overweight & Weak to Fitness Instructor

From Overweight & Weak to Fitness Instructor in Her 80s!

From Overweight & Weak to Fitness Instructor in Her 80s!

Sally Determan Fit at 80 from strength training

Sally Determan was nearing her 80th birthday feeling “old and out of shape.”

Off-balance, weak, and overweight, Sally felt like she was paying a big price for years of living an unhealthy lifestyle and little to no exercise.

Fast forward 3 years, Sally is in the best shape of her life and has newfound stamina and strength to help others live a healthier lifestyle! 

As Sally approached her 80th birthday, she noticed that she was getting tired easily and everyday tasks were becoming more difficult.

“I also grew concerned about falls.”

She knew a change was needed and she couldn’t spend the rest of her life slowly declining. So, she started with trying to lose weight.

Sally began her journey at Weight Watchers where she lost some of the excess weight and incorporated water cardio into her routine.

She knew she needed to do something to increase her muscle and bone strength (to prevent falls) but lacked the motivation and know-how to lift weights at home. 

“I HATED the idea of loud, busy, glitzy gyms, filled with lycra-wearing folks 40 or more years younger than me!”

She needed guidance, privacy, and accountability.

Shortly after, Sally saw The Perfect Workout online and realized there was a Falls Church studio (not a gym!), offering a free introductory session. She figured she had nothing to lose by giving it a try, and the idea of 20 minutes, twice a week fit into her schedule.

Sally joined The Perfect Workout in January 2017 and made wonderful progress in improving her strength, stamina, and weight management.

Infographic Strength Training

After all that she’s accomplished so far, Sally is proud of her ability to keep up — actually, lead — other water cardio participants who are ten to fifteen years younger than her. 

“The entire concept that I am a physical fitness guru is astonishing!”

Knowing how important it is to have someone lead her through your workouts, and fitness journey, Sally gives a lot of credit to the team at The Perfect Workout.

“Each of the four trainers with whom I've worked have been excellent — and fun.”

Now, Sally tells people about her slow-motion strength training workouts when they ask her how she got in such good shape. She explains the method, including the concept of going as long and as hard as your muscles permit — very slowly — and how little time it takes.

The Perfect Workout Client Quote

Strong and Healthy: All the Things She Loves at 67

Strong and Healthy:
Doing all the Things She Loves at 67

Strong and Healthy woman on bicycle

Being outdoors runs through Linda’s blood. In fact, she met her husband on the ski slopes.

Over the years their lives have revolved around activities such as scuba diving, kayaking, water skiing, snow skiing, hiking, and biking. Linda is an avid gardener and their sons are both Eagle Scouts. The entire McChesney family loves being outdoors and has learned many important life lessons in their adventures together.

But her outdoor adventurers were quickly halted when Linda broke her knee in a snow skiing accident.

Shortly after, she learned that she had low bone density and was facing a battle with osteoporosis

“The experience of being immobilized for months was depressing and gave me a glimpse of a future without the things I loved doing most. Something I took for granted. That revelation and the desire for a full recovery from my injury started my serious search for a sustainable exercise program.”

Testimonial from a strong and healthy woman

Linda had been to gyms, had a personal trainer, even joined one particular gym because her friends were all there. But none of that ever stuck. One day, she saw an advertisement in the paper for The Perfect Workout, but she was skeptical…

“We’ve been taught that more is better so what could I possibly gain in 20 minutes of exercise?”

Skepticism aside, Linda ultimately joined The Perfect Workout in 2016. 

“It turns out that with the right plan and a personal trainer to instruct you, guide you, encourage you, and monitor your progress, you have a lot to gain! The program is exceptional but the personal trainers have been essential to my success. Each one has taught me something new about my body, how it works, and how to take care of it. They are partners helping me reach my individual best.”

Quote from a strong and healthy woman

Like many clients during the pandemic, Linda began Virtual workouts. The studio workouts were working for her and she doubted that she could get a solid workout at home. 

Once more, her skepticism has proven wrong. 

“I cannot say enough great things about my Virtual Trainer, Kerry Borgen, who challenges me weekly! I take her when I travel. She’s flexible when I have to move my workout due to watching grandchildren during the pandemic. She’s tough, she’s compassionate, and she’s taught me to be a stronger person, physically and mentally.”

Because of her trainer and 20-minute, twice a week workouts, Linda feels like she can really “play” with her three young grandsons.

In the past couple of years, Linda gained the strength and energy to hike the Grand Canyon, from North to South rim, and enjoy mountain biking in Sedona, AZ.

“The Perfect Workout is PERFECT and the greatest testament to that is me at 67. Healthy, strong, and doing all the things I love. Osteoporosis is on the run and my knee healed beautifully.

This past year has given us many things to be thankful for and The Perfect Workout is high on my list.”