Safe and Effective Exercise As We Age

There is new research on exercising, particularly for women after menopause, as we age. The demand for exercising hasn’t changed, but how we exercise.

Our bodies are in constant flux, not only day to day, but as we go through different phases in our lives.

Estrogen helps to maintain, repair, and build muscles, along with all the other functions you probably already know about. So when estrogen levels lower, it leads to muscle loss and strength and increased body fat.

As we age, we want to build on functional strength, not performance levels (like an athlete). The training load has to be manipulated – the amount of work done. What is most important is how often (training frequency) and volume of training/exercising (how much).

The most important variable is the volume, according to the latest studies. How many sets and repetitions one does. The biggest difference now in training load, is the volume is higher. This is because the aging muscle needs more stimuli and longer time to respond. Therefore, training should have more reps. more frequently. In other words, it is better to train every other day for 30 minutes than every 3rd day for 2 hours.

High volume, e.g. 3 sets of 10-15 reps., had greater improvement in body fat. Volume leads to muscle development. If the volume is increasing, the intensity needs to decrease. You cannot change more than 1 variable.

Saying this, the last 3-4 reps. should be difficult but you should be able to complete them.

I mentioned above that estrogen helps in building and repairing muscle. But if you have decreased estrogen, you need to adapt to this. We said the volume needs to increase to give the aging muscle longer time to respond, but it also needs longer recovery time. There is recovery time while training, but also a muscle group should have 48 hour rest periods.

There are 2 methods you can accomplish this – you want to increase time and volume safely. You can take short rest periods within sets – e.g. set of 15 with 8 second rests every 3rd or 5th rep. Now your time in an exercise is increased giving you a higher quality set with short breaks to allow muscle minimal recovery time.

The second method is having equal rests between each repetition. Now the time in tension is better and muscle performance is improved.

One other factor to think about is varying the exercises so you work on different muscle groups or better yet do multijoint exercises, like the deadlift. This includes not in one session but subsequent sessions.

Need a checkup on your exercise routine? Not sure where to start with an exercise routine? Click here to schedule your Free 20 minute Discovery call to discuss your needs and goals and how we can help you achieve them.

To Your Health,


Cynthia Weiss

We Help Women To Increase Their Confidence In Achieving Their Goals Of Having An Independent & Mobile Lifestyle Without The Use Of Pain Medications Or Surgery.