You used to be able to eat your favourite foods (yep, even the sugar-laden ones) without padding your waistline, but now every spare kilojoule seems to stick around. If this is a familiar scenario, you’re in line with millions of other women facing the same struggle – and there’s a good reason for it.
As you age, hormonal shifts cause your resting metabolism – the number of kilojoules your body burns just to stay alive – to drop. The main reason your kilojoule-burning furnace douses the flames: muscle loss. Once you exit your 20s, you begin to lose about 2kg of lean tissue each decade.
Even worse, the muscle that remains becomes fatty, weak and less efficient at using energy. As a result, you burn as many as 350 fewer kilojoules per day every decade, enough to pack on up to 7kg of body fat every 10 years.
While midlife weight creep is certainly frustrating, it’s not unbeatable. Here’s the moves you need to burn more kilojoules all day long.
How to do it: Perform 10 reps of each move, resting 1 minute before moving to the next exercise.
Do the circuit 3 times. Aim to do the routine 3 times a week, with at least 1 rest day between workouts.
Targets: chest, arms and shoulders
Get down on hands and knees. Walk hands forward and lower hips until torso forms a straight diagonal line from shoulders to hips to knees. Spread hands slightly wider than shoulders, fingers pointing forward. Bend elbows out to sides as you lower your chest almost to ground. Straight arms to push back up.
Targets: butt and legs
Sit with back against tree trunk, fence or wall so knees are bent at 90 degrees and ankles are directly beneath knees. (You can use hands to help you get into position, or if the surface is smooth, slide down into position.) Hold 20 seconds, then return to standing.
Targets: arms and back
Sit on edge of bench, wall or railing with hands grasping edge, feet flat on ground. Walk feet forward a few steps, knees over ankles, and shift hips just off bench. Bend elbows back as you lower hips to just below bench level. Straighten arms, pressing body back up. (If shoulders feel strained, don’t dip as low).
Targets: abs and back
Start on hands and knees with back flat. Tighten abs. Raise and extend right leg behind you, parallel to ground. When stable, raise and extend left arm, so it’s parallel to ground. At same time, raise and lower arm and leg about 7cm. Do reps, then lower and switch sides.
Lying face up with legs bent, place hands under small of back and lift feet off ground so knees are over torso. Contract abs, pulling knees toward chest, and release without letting feet touch ground, then repeat. Avoid swinging thighs or raising hips; this is a very small movement.
© Prevention Australia
First published: 22 Oct 2019