Page 1
Beauty Style Fitness Wellness Living #RealTalk #EmbraceYourAge
Stay up to date

Get on the List

Unlock our weekly newsletter packed with tips on living authentically, healthfully, and stylishly at every age.Get on the List: The best beauty, fashion, wellness and fitness tips straight to your inbox

3 Reasons You’re Not Getting the Exercise Results You Want

You work out just as hard as that 20-something in class next to you. Week by week, you see her arms getting more toned, her waist getting more whittled. And though you feel fitter, you really don’t look it. What gives?

“There are as many reasons why a woman of a certain age might not respond the same to an exercise program as there are women of a certain age!” says certified exercise physiologist Gillian Hood.

That said, here are some top contenders.

Falling Hormones Levels

As you are no doubt aware, estrogen levels drop rapidly as women approach menopause. The part that’s a bit less well publicized: “The body tries to compensate for this drop, and one way it does this is by using fat cells to produce estrogen,” says Hood. Unfortunately, “it’s nowhere near enough, compared to what had been produced earlier in life, so the body will be less likely to allow body fat to be utilized as fuel or to be released.”

In a nutshell, your body is hanging onto your fat cells and working against your shaping-up efforts.

Rising Stress Levels 

Another midlife situation can wreak havoc on your body’s hormones: stress. “Under stress, the body attempts to keep the fat and store more, assuming a famine or other disaster is on the way or here,” Hood says. “In addition, an after-effect of the stress response is the release of cortisol, which causes us to crave carbohydrates.” (She notes this means that your desire for post-workout macarons is not a sign of poor willpower but a physiological need — sugar is the fastest way to get carbs into your system.) Hood’s surprising recommendation: Work out less hard.

“Dieting, overexercising, and all the things we do to try to lose weight don’t work, and a major reason for this is because they are stressful to the body and the mind,” she says. “[At age 45] I decided that since my female hormones were already all over the place due to perimenopause, why attempt to lose weight and cause my stress hormones to have a field day as well?” Now, Hood says, about three and a half years later, her hormones have calmed down and the weight is coming off naturally.

“It’s been very comforting to know that the body will take care of itself if we stop trying to beat it into submission.”

Flagging Metabolism 

“By the time many, many women are premenopausal or perimenopausal, they have been on diet after diet after diet,” Hood says. “And the more dieting you do, the lower your metabolism.”

Here’s how that works: You diet and exercise, you lose weight from everywhere — both from fat and muscle. The less lean muscle you have, the fewer calories your body burns at rest — i.e., the slower your metabolism. You stop dieting and exercising, you gain weight back, but in the form of fat only — and often more than you had in the first place. “The net effect is a higher body fat percentage, even if you don’t gain more pounds on the scale than when you began the diet — and it becomes harder and harder to lose weight with every diet.”

The long-term solution here: Make lifestyle changes that work for you and don’t involve extreme dietary restrictions, and keep up your activity levels, particularly resistance/weight training over cardio, as stronger muscles stoke the metabolism.

Photo: LZF

You Might Also Like

How to Get Started With Exercise at 75
Fitness

How to Get Started With Exercise at 75

When you hit your mid-70s, you may feel like your daily routine...

read
7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio
Fitness

7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio

Cardio is any form of exercise that raises your pulse and conditions...

read
Women Who Inspire: Chef Babette Davis
Living

Women Who Inspire: Chef Babette Davis

It’s often said that behind every great man is a great woman,...

read
Fall’s Coziest Workout Gear
Fitness

Fall’s Coziest Workout Gear

Keep calm and exercise on in fall’s coziest workout gear. Whether a...

read
You’re Not Too Old For ... Strength Training With Dumbbells
Fitness

You’re Not Too Old For ... Strength Training With Dumbbells

In our ongoing video series with trainer Julie Diamond, we focus on...

read
Learn to Embrace Active Recovery Days
Fitness

Learn to Embrace Active Recovery Days

In today’s “go big or go home” mentality, it is easy to...

read
5 Hormone-Balancing Foods
Wellness

5 Hormone-Balancing Foods

Are your hormones out of whack? Often the best place to start...

read
The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair
Beauty

The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair

There’s no question that our hair changes as we get older. It...

read
37 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
Wellness

37 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

Hormones play an enormous role in how we look, think, and feel....

read
6 Questions With... Skin Care Pioneer Jane Iredale
Beauty

6 Questions With... Skin Care Pioneer Jane Iredale

Jane Iredale began Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics in New York in 1994. As a...

read
Problem/Solution: Aging Teeth and Receding Gums
Beauty

Problem/Solution: Aging Teeth and Receding Gums

If your teeth are more dingy yellow than pearly white or you’ve...

read
Is Self-Love Overrated?
#RealTalk

Is Self-Love Overrated?

I’ve twice been told I have extraordinary arms. The first was in...

read
Office Hours: How Do I Work With a Boss Half My Age?
Living

Office Hours: How Do I Work With a Boss Half My Age?

Welcome to Office Hours, where each month, a Fairygodboss expert answers a question...

read
Eat This Now: Vegan Cornbread Dressing
Wellness

Eat This Now: Vegan Cornbread Dressing

We not only try to eat healthy, we try to be kind...

read
Beauty Buzzwords: Squalane
Beauty

Beauty Buzzwords: Squalane

Though oils are not new to the beauty counter, there is still...

read
What to Do When Your Vagina Dries Up
Wellness

What to Do When Your Vagina Dries Up

Aging skin needs nourishing. That’s not news. But when it comes to...

read
7 Water-Gel Moisturizers for Troubled Skin
Beauty

7 Water-Gel Moisturizers for Troubled Skin

Combination skin that doesn’t take kindly to rich, thick creams doesn’t change...

read
6 Natural Remedies for Sinus Pain
Wellness

6 Natural Remedies for Sinus Pain

We’re all familiar with the typical triage of cold and flu symptoms:...

read
Organic: Yay or Nay?
Wellness

Organic: Yay or Nay?

From food to beauty products, labels can be so confusing. Aren’t the...

read
Need to Know: Thyroid Health
Wellness

Need to Know: Thyroid Health

One of my patients recently summed up her experience succinctly: “I’m just...

read
‘Garden & Gun’ Showcases Strong Women Across Generations
Living

‘Garden & Gun’ Showcases Strong Women Across Generations

Unless you’re a subscriber of the publication Garden & Gun, you may...

read
WTF Is a #CuratedLife?
#RealTalk

WTF Is a #CuratedLife?

I have been working to figure out social media. God, is it...

read
Castor Oil: Your New Favorite Beauty Trick
Beauty

Castor Oil: Your New Favorite Beauty Trick

Move over, coconut oil, there’s a new sheriff in town. An elixir for...

read
Tasty Fiber-Full Foods for Weight Loss
Wellness

Tasty Fiber-Full Foods for Weight Loss

Clinical evidence shows that fiber-full foods keep you feeling fuller longer with...

read
Get Glowing With 8 Highlighters We Love
Beauty

Get Glowing With 8 Highlighters We Love

The solution to chronic fatigue requires a holistic deep dive into your...

read
Eat This Now: Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal
Wellness

Eat This Now: Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal

We at The Fine Line eat lots of oatmeal. Especially in the...

read
Women Who Inspire: BRU Bone Broth Founder Soo-Ah Landa
Living

Women Who Inspire: BRU Bone Broth Founder Soo-Ah Landa

Some might say bone broth is having a moment, but don’t tell...

read
‘Gilmore Girls’ and Me
#RealTalk

‘Gilmore Girls’ and Me

The seven-season series Gilmore Girls and its four afterglow episodes, A Year in the Life,...

read
6 Good Reasons to Eat More Fiber
Wellness

6 Good Reasons to Eat More Fiber

Fiber is the indigestible part of a carbohydrate that packs a powerful...

read
Give Yourself a Gray Hair Makeover
Beauty

Give Yourself a Gray Hair Makeover

As your hair’s pigment seemingly evaporates into thin air, you might notice...

read
Load More
share
To Top