I recently asked my Ageless After 50 Facebook group for their biggest fitness concerns. It was nicer than asking, “Which body part would you like to donate to science and replace with a new and improved version?”
To be honest, I was pretty sure I already knew the answers, but I wanted an impromptu “study” to back me up so it sounded legit when I wrote about it here, for the scientists in this group.
Approximately 30 women responded, not a huge portion of the over 1,400 members but enough of a sampling to see a few patterns. (I assume everyone who didn’t respond was either tired of being polled for their opinions, looking up bathroom decorating ideas on Pinterest, or clipping their cat’s nails, all of which I am totally on board.)
Not surprisingly, abs ranked first, second only to triceps or “bat wings.” Legs and thighs were next, and chest and back were further down the list.
It all boils down to a single villain who exists solely to literally bring us down: GRAVITY. No, not the movie starring George Clooney, although if that image holds your interest, carry on.
It’s a little more complicated than that, but play along with me for argument’s sake.
I’ve talked on this subject before. No matter what we do, gravity has the final word in the end. Without gravity wrinkles and sagginess would not exist. Our skin would stay as smooth as a newborn’s even in our 80s.
What’s the downside, aside from living in space, without WiFi, and no Starbucks or Macy’s for a few hundred thousand light years?
Well, for one, without gravity pulling on our skeletons we also lose bone mass. We’d be fine until we tried to step foot back on earth, when we’d fold up like a cheap lawn chair. But our faces would be wrinkle free, so it’s still a small price to pay, in my opinion.
But maybe that’s just me.
Back to our arch nemesis.
Counteracting gravity takes work. The only surefire way to keep things up and off the ground involves resistance training.
Yes, that again.
Building a little muscle tightens up and gives shape to all your body parts and keeps you from shopping for dresses in the outdoor tent department at Kohl’s.
Don’t get me wrong, you need walking and cardio for your heart and to burn fat and calories, too. (Although you burn more calories at rest when you have more muscle, which I’ve talked about in prior posts.) But walking doesn’t tone your arms and does nothing else for the rest of your upper body.
What if you carry weights, you say? (Yes, I can hear you!) Spoiler alert: I am about to say something very unpopular (as if that’s a first):
Leave the weights at home.
- If you’re carrying enough weight to tone your arms (e.g. you can’t do more than 12 to 15 reps per set) while you walk, they will make you tired before you get the cardio workout you want. Pick one, cardio or toning. Both at once sacrifices one or the other.
- If you’re not carrying enough weight to tone your arms, why bother?
- If you’re carrying weights to burn more calories the difference isn’t worth it, according to the research I’ve seen.
Focus on weights when you do weights, cardio when you’re doing cardio.
This is not to say you can’t mix them up in the same workout — which is actually a great way to save time and burn more calories — just not at the same time.
I am working on a new program you’ll hear about soon (within a few weeks!), that combines everything I know about how to attain and keep an Ageless Body After 50. In the meantime, sign up HERE for my 7-Day Ageless Body Challenge.
In addition, or if you’d rather skip the challenge, check out these videos below, which I feel are the best exercises to firm up the top three, more requested, body parts…
TRICEPS (you’ll need a weighted bar or two dumbbells or water bottles for resistance)
NOTE: Follow the instructions in each video. In a total body routine, make squats one of your first exercises and standing abs at the end. Include the triceps exercise along with your other arm and shoulder moves.
What area would YOU like to firm up and help defy gravity? Let me know in the comments section below…
Other posts you may like:
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Got questions? I got answers. Send ’em my way at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Till next time…
Your Ageless Body Coach,