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What's the best exercise for fat loss over 40?

For years we've been told the best way to lose weight is to "eat less and move more."

And if you're like most women, when you hear the phrase "move more" you probably think cardio. After all it's what the diet industry has been shouting from the rooftops for decades.

The challenge is cardio alone will not burn fat. And research shows it's the type of cardio we do that matters most as we age.

You might have heard that high-intensity exercise is the best cardio for fat loss. But much like nutrition, what worked well in our twenties and thirties likely won't have the same effect in our forties and beyond. Especially when it comes to menopause.

More and more studies are showing science-backed advantages of Zone 2 training.

Zone 2 cardio exercise

What is Zone 2 cardio?

Zone 2 cardio is one of the five heart rate zones: 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. Zone 2 is at 60 to 70 percent of your max heart rate, therefore a lower-intensity, basic endurance pace without speed intervals. Think of Zone 2 cardio as a physical activity where you can put forth steady effort over a longer period of time while having a casual conversation with a friend or singing the A-B-C's.

And Zone 2 cardio is excellent for building a fitness foundation, helping you increase your aerobic capacity and improve endurance while placing less oxidative stress on the body. And guess what energy your body mainly uses during Zone 2 cardio? FAT. So if you're trying to burn fat, Zone 2 cardio is your new BFF.

Some other great benefits of Zone 2 cardio include:

  • Faster recovery time

  • Increased cardiovascular fitness

  • Reduced risk of injury

  • Improved mental health

  • Easily sustainable

But it seems counterintuitive, right? For years we've been told to work harder, push harder, push the intensity. And maybe it even worked once, until it didn't.

The truth is, studies are finding that as we age, less is often more. Less intensity that is.

Instead of running sprint intervals, huffing and puffing through squat jumps and burpees, or intense spin classes where you're in and out of the saddle, a steady-state brisk walk, light paced jog, long bike ride, swimming laps, barre exercise, etc. will do wonders for your body and mind. The key is to choose exercise that YOU enjoy. Research suggests engaging in Zone 2 exercise 3-5 days per week, for 30 to 60 minutes in duration.

Now, let's talk Strength Training.

Ladies, if you're not building muscle, you're losing muscle.

Did you know beginning at age 30, the body naturally starts to lose 3–5% of muscle mass per decade, and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60. Yikes!

What can you do about it? Lift heavy things.

Studies show strength training can do wonders for your overall health by supporting a healthier muscle vs. fat ratio in the body, boosting metabolism, fostering a healthier hormone balance, and improving your physical and mental health.

And strength training has been shown to increase bone density helping to combat osteoporosis, improve balance and coordination reducing risk of injury, improve cognitive function decreasing anxiety, depression and stress, and improve sleep quality to boost resilience.

BONUS: research shows when you engage in weekly aerobic exercise and strength training exercise, you reduce your all-cause mortality rate by 29 percent.

Exercise guidelines recommend getting two full-body strength training workouts per week. If you're short on time, combine your aerobic exercise and strength training into one session (doing strength exercises first, cardio second).

New to strength training? Start with bodyweight exercises, using lighter weight dumbbells and resistance bands. Over time, you'll want to trade those 5 and 10 lb. dumbbells for something heavier, so you can continue building and maintaining valuable muscle. As a general rule of thumb if you've been lifting the same amount of weight for 6+ weeks, and you can do 12 or more reps with ease, it's time to level up. Add on some weight and drop the reps.

Are you tired of starting over every Monday, hopping from diet to diet, wondering if you'll ever get it "right" so that you can lose the weight, FOR GOOD? Join me inside my free women’s-only Facebook community: Eat Better with Coach Mindy where I'll show you how to stop yo-yo dieting and find balance with food and fitness, so you can eat better, think better and feel your best!


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