STAY FIT & FIERCE AFTER 40
We’ve found the simple workout you can do at home
Since hitting my 40s, I’ve come to crave the endorphins that are created by vigorous exercise – running, jumping, the usual fat-burning stuff – but I’m not so fond of a workout that involves grunting and heavy lifting. Not only is it intimidating lining up at the squat rack with a bunch of body-building blokes, but there’s risk of injury if you don’t know what you’re doing. And I don’t. Plus, weight training looks hard. And a bit boring. Having said that, there are other matters to consider once you’re well into your fourth decade, such as balance, posture and muscle loss. While I’m relatively fit for a woman my age, in the past 18 months I’ve fallen three times while jogging and pulled the ligaments in my left ankle twice. Plus, my job is desk-bound, so my posture is pretty shocking and though I maintain a healthy weight, no amount of high-intensity interval training will firm up the wobbly bits. Not only is strength training necessary for optimising health as you age, it’s really the only route to toning up. So, with muscle strengthening and posture correcting as my goal, I decide to consult Dalton Wong, A-list trainer and founder of Twenty Two Training. He’s the man Jennifer Lawrence and Game of Thrones star Kit Harington call to whip them into shape before they start filming.
While he’s an expert at honing and toning celebrity limbs, Dalton wants his resistance training method to be accessible to all, so he’s created a clever at-home program that requires no more than a fancy elastic band.
His Mini-Band Workout includes beginner, intermediate and advanced bands and a booklet of workouts that focus on three key areas: Posture, fat burning, and toning (targeting the hips, bum, core, and upper body). The idea is that you mix and match exercises to suit your goals and available time.
“After the age of 35, your muscle mass deteriorates a little every year, so it’s important to take up strength training to maintain lean muscle mass and keep your metabolism from slowing down,” Dalton says.
While this workout is suitable for all, it’s particulary useful for women who can be put off by heavy weights and naturally end up with less muscle mass than men, says Dalton: “Resistance band training is the perfect alternative to lifting weights – it strengthens the muscles as well as improving posture and stability without bulking up.”
Pro athletes now use the bands to warm up their muscles and prevent injury, and models love the lean, toned aesthetic they give. “The bands give you a better version of the body you naturally have, which is what many of my female clients want,” Dalton adds.
But it’s not all about looks. They also improve balance, joint stability and posture – all hugely beneficial for women over 40, who can experience reduced bone and muscle strength.