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    Healthy for Life: Fitness Needs for Every Decade of a Woman’s Life

    Get moving: Fitness for women at any stage of life

    A lifetime of fitness continued...

    Fitness for women: The 30s

    When you hit your 30s, you may find increasing job and family responsibilities have cut into your available work out time. Pregnancy and childbirth may also have left you with weaker abs and that pesky "baby weight." By focusing on time-efficient core exercises - such as Pilates - you can build abdominal strength. And strong abs mean a stronger back as well.

    Don't forget the cardiovascular workouts either, says DiDio. Running, she says, is a good way to get the most benefit in the least amount of time. DiDio also recommends working out in the morning. Not only will you rev up your metabolism for the entire day, but you also will be less likely to find an excuse not to exercise --- as you might if you wait until later in the day. Additionally, exercising in the morning will help you make better food choices throughout the day since you will be motivated not to derail your good efforts.

    Fitness for women: The 40s

    The 40s are the decade when your metabolism starts to slow down and muscle mass begins to decrease significantly. So weight training becomes increasingly important. DiDio recommends three strength-training sessions a week.

    According to the American Council on Exercise, there are three primary benefits to a regular resistance-training program.

    1) Increased strength of bones, muscles, and connective tissue. Exercise not only decreases the risk of eventually developing osteoporosis, it decreases your risk of injury in everything you do.

    2) Increased muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns at rest. That can make it easier to control your weight.

    3. Enhanced quality of life. This becomes increasingly important as we get older. What this means is that the things we do every day --- like carrying groceries in from the car --- will become easier as our overall strength improves.

    In your 40s, you are also more prone to injuries. So consider giving up high-impact activities - like jogging or aerobics. DiDio advises switching to low-impact programs such as Pilates or using a treadmill or stationary bike.

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