Find out how to get the most out of your workouts at any age… 

Roaring Twenties

Push the weights to build muscle – From the age of 25, women start to lose a percentile of muscle-mass each year, lowering metabolisms, so donâ??t forget to include at least two sessions of strength training each week. Weight-bearing exercises in particular help to maintain mobility, good posture and guard against osteoporosis in your later years. These are performed on your feet so your bones and muscles must work against gravity such as walking, jogging, aerobics and weight-training. 

Keep your body guessing – If you are exercising regularly, you need to keep training routines varied. Our bodies slip easily into routine, and you risk reaching a plateau in your weight loss or fitness effort. Shake up monotonous routines â?? not forgetting rest days â?? and keep your body guessing and metabolism fired up.  

Push yourself – Maximize the intensity of your workouts. Your body is at its strongest in its twenties and less susceptible to injury, so set the fitness bar high and break some boundaries. This is necessary for continued or greater results in weight loss and will optimize your health benefits. Increase the intensity by increasing the weight lifted or reducing the rest periods between sets. 

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Women over 35 

Keep back pain at bay – In addition to the regular cardio and strength training you should be practising to maintain your weight and build lean muscle mass, you need to strengthen your core. More than 50% of women in their 30s suffer from lower-back pain, and core exercises are key components in preventing it. It is not just muscular strength you need, but endurance, and core exercises will strengthen all the muscles surrounding the spine. Aim for spending 10 to 20 minutes per day working your abdominal muscles to strengthen your core and support your back.  

Get your heart racing – Inactivity puts women at risk of losing up to six percent of their aerobic capacity, significantly decreasing physical stamina. Again, interval training is a great addition to your workout. Pushing your body to 90% percent of its full capacity in short bursts followed by a quick recovery will put your lungs and heart to work, pushing your heart and lung capacity to their maximums.  

Facing menopause – 45-60

Adapt your exercise – With menopause comes common health risks, like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. This means that while optimal fitness is still a must, not every fitness program is ideal. In typical instances, high-impact exercise is not recommended to anyone in this age group because of the amount of stress placed on the joints. If you have already been diagnosed with osteoarthritis – wear and tear of the joints – stop-start activities like high-impact aerobics or squash can aggravate inflamed joints.

For those with osteoporosis – characterized by low bone mass and brittleness of bones – yoga and similar activities can actually cause fractures, due to the bending and twisting that some poses call for. This is not to say that you shouldnâ??t forego flexibility exercises. In fact, actively increasing range of motion in various joints can significantly reduce discomfort. Focus on daily gentle stretches of the toes, ankles, knees, hips, fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders and spine.

Maintain your weight – Keeping your weight balanced is especially important after menopause, as there is a significant rise in the risk of cardiovascular disease. A balance of cardio and strength is essential in combating weight gain and warding off heart disease. Slower strength training and fewer repetitions serve this age group better as it is thought to improve the quality of the movement while also reducing risk. 

For more exercise tips and health advice from Lifestyle and Wellness Expert, TV personality and author Lisa Raleigh, visit www.lisaraleigh.co.za, join her Facebook page, watch her on YouTube or follow @LisaRaleighSA on Twitter.  

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.