8 FAQs about cardio and resistance training for an ageless body

I compare the aging process to the scene in Indiana Jones where Harrison Ford runs from a giant boulder chasing him through a tunnel.

The rock represents everything I hate about aging: aches, pains, depression, menopause, night sweats and depression. (I realize I mentioned depression twice, but it’s on my mind so I’m leaving it.)

It’s sometimes hard to stay in front of that rolling stone. In fact, it can roll right over your head and leave you flattened out, wondering if it’s such a bad thing to never get out of bed again.

I’m here to tell you: You are not alone. In fact, I fight off that feeling Monday through Sunday.

Menopause is a bear. Actually it’s more like Bigfoot: You won’t believe it until you experience it.

I use humor and exercise to cope, both of which keep me one step ahead of the rock. (Not The Rock, although dealing with Dwayne Johnson is probably not much different than wrestling Bigfoot.)

It’s worse if you haven’t worked out since the days of Flashdance and suddenly realize you’re 50 years old and leg warmers are no longer an acceptable workout accessory.

Old habits die hard.

So you Google “women + over 50” and ended up here. If so, WELCOME! Glad you’re here. You’ve come to the right place.

I would tell you I’m here to help you forget all about your troubles, but my pants would immediately burst into flames.

I’m only human.

I can, however, help you with fitness and diet advice because I’ve been there, done that. I lost over 15 pounds after going through menopause nearly 10 years ago.

So yes, you can, too.

One way? Know what you need to do. Today we focus on exercise…

I’ve written a lot about various exercises and exercise routines, but I get many emails from women asking me:

  • “How the heck can I get started when I haven’t worked out since the Jurassic Era?”
  • “How many reps and sets and how often should I weight train?”
  • “Why can’t broccoli taste as good as ice cream?”

I don’t know much about the last question, but I can help you with the others.

Even if you’re worked out for a while you may still benefit from checking yourself on these basic principles. I structured them according to the questions I get most often: 

Cardio

How much so I need?

For general heart health, 30 minutes of activity on most days of the week. This may be broken up into 3, 10-minute mini bouts, which research shows is as healthful as a 30-minute continuous workout.

What’s the best approach for weight loss?

Anything you like to do and that you can do consistently, based on your fitness level and availability of equipment. I realize that’s vague, but if I tell you camel riding burns the most calories but you hate camels, have no access to camels or otherwise find the idea repulsive, what good would it do, right? Find something you don’t hate (I won’t even say “like,” since you may never heart exercise) and do it regularly.

Include intervals, where you vary the speed in 30 to 60 second increments and do this once or twice a week in between longer, endurance workouts of 45 minutes or longer.

Anything else?

Yes, vary your workouts every month or so to avoid overuse injuries, which happens with anything you do every single day. Walk one day, bike another, and do something else active on another, etc.

Weight/resistance training

Do I need it?  

Heck, yeah, more than ever after 50. We gradually lose muscle through the natural aging process, which begins around your mid-30s. Since it takes a lot more calories to maintain muscle than fat, this loss of muscle brings down your metabolism. Plus, you get flabby without it. Weight training – which includes everything from using your own body weight (squats, push-ups) to dumbbells, barbells, fitness tubing, kettlebells, medicine balls, etc. and is the ONLY way to reverse this process.

How much weight should I use?

Start out easy until you learn the correct form, then gradually increase the resistance until you can do 12 to 15 reps where the last few are a real challenge. This level of resistance triggers a change within the muscle that enables you to see “tone” and shape. If you’re whipping through your workout without much effort you won’t see results.

What’s a “set” and “reps” and how many do I need of each?

Reps refers to the number of repetitions within a set. For example, 3 sets of 15 reps means you do 15 reps within each set. In general, start with one set of 12 to 15 reps per exercise if you’re starting out and work up to two, then three sets.

How often?

Aim for three times a week, two minimum. Each workout should include a total body workout.

Which exercises are best for starters?

My (free) 7-Day Challenge (sign up on this page) is a perfect way to learn the ropes. If you need something more personalized, email me and we’ll chat: linda@lindamelone.com or use the form on my contact page.

Got questions? Post ’em below! 

Other posts you may enjoy:

Fat-burning, low-impact, home workout

#1 Trait that determines your success no one tells you

7 Reasons you’re STILL not seeing results

Your Ageless Body Coach,

P.S. Please forward this to your Ageless besties and blast it out on social media… the good karma may come back to you in the form of firmer thighs. You never know.

8 Comments

  1. Janet OKeefe on February 23, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Just Started to go back to the Gym a Couple of weeks ago. I am 52 and Have been in Menopause for 5 years. I guess now I am in Peri-menopause, It’s been vert Hard to see results at the Gym – But I am trying and Know I need to be Patient because it’s VERY Hard to lose weight and get in shape during Menopause. I am following your Emails and hope to see results soon! Thank You! Janet O’Keefe

    • Linda Melone on February 23, 2017 at 9:27 am

      Hi Janet! Actually, perimenopause occurs before menopause, when your body is in transition. So you’re post-menopausal, like me. Keep in mind you need to cut calories as well as exercise consistently in order to see results. And yes, be patient! It will happen.

  2. Nora Castro on February 23, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    This is one of the best post of your blog. I love the way to talk about menopause. I am 50 and I am starting to have some symptoms. I am glad I found your blog. Makes me feel that I am not alone in this. You are a beautiful, fit and so healthy looking lady. I might never be able to look as wonderful as you, but I want to be healthy and be able to exercise as long as I can in my old age. I am seeing little results even though I work hard at the gym. I am sure I need to be more careful with my diet.
    Thank you for the time you take to write fun articles. You have my admiration and respect. _Nora Castro

    • Linda Melone on February 24, 2017 at 8:49 am

      Nora, your comment made my day! Thank you so much. You are definitely NOT alone. Menopause is tough. Definitely take a look at your diet, since that’s the one areas that makes the biggest difference. Keep up the good work and you will see results!

  3. Denise on March 22, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    You write really interesting and funny stuff, thanks! I am well and truly post-menopause (age 57) and am still waiting for the magic weight gain! I have been underweight all my life and would love to be a bit heavier. There are many risks to health in being underweight (osteoporosis being the most obvious in older women) and would really like more discussion on “health weight” rather than “weight loss”.
    Denise

    • Linda Melone on March 23, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Excellent point, Denise! Most women would like to lose weight, which is why I focus on the topic. And yes, underweight women with a slight frame are at higher risk of osteoporosis. A healthy weight should always be the goal :).

  4. Kimberly on April 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    I really want some tips to firm and lift butt. I’m 52 female. Suggestions?

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