How to Lose 40 Pounds in Your 40s

I have been the most successful in losing weight in my 40s. In this article, I will tell you how to lose 40 pounds in your 40s. Losing weight is not easy, because your body it’s different than when you are in your 20s and 30s. What worked then may not work well now. When you are in your 40s, your body processes are different due to hormonal changes. Here is what will work for you to lose 40 pounds in your 40s.

1. Stop eating sugar

Sugar is the sociopath of all foods. It appears to be one thing, but it is something completely different. When you eat sugar your brain releases the feel-good chemical dopamine. That is what makes you crave sugar. As with any other substance, over time it takes more sugar to get the same result. Apples are sweet, but they do not contain sugar. That is why you crave candy bars and not fruit. Here are some other effects of sugar that are important to you in your 40s.

Why sugar is harmful in your 40s

– Increased weight gain (the average person consumes 270 calories of sugar daily)

– Increased waist size (added sugar increases cortisol levels in the body which is responsible for belly fat)

– Consuming too much sugar increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and cognitive problems including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

– Increase risk of diabetes

Skin aging and wrinkles

2. Lift weights at least 3 times a week

People naturally lose muscle mass in their 40s, especially women going through menopause. When you get older your body’s metabolism slows down. Strength training will help you build muscle that will increase your metabolism and burn fat. Trade in some of your time on the treadmill and pick up some weights. Body weight exercises like planks, pushups, and squats will also help you build muscle. Strength training 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes will get you results.

Pro Tip: Buy a set of 5- and 10-pound weights. Get on YouTube and find some home workout videos. There are thousands to choose from. You don’t have to go to the gym, you can build muscle in the comfort of your own home.

3. Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night

Sleep is one of the most important components of a person’s overall health. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep will help your body maintain its essential functions. This includes regulating your digestive system and endocrine systems which

is responsible for your hormones. One of these hormones is our not-so-good friend the stress hormone cortisol. When you get the right amount of sleep, your cortisol will stay at an appropriate level that will help you increase your metabolism.

Losing sleep gives you less energy for physical activity than you need to lose weight. Another effect of loss of sleep is food cravings. A decrease in sleep increases your desire to eat more high-calorie foods. When you are sleep deprived your body produces more ghrelin, an appetite hormone, which causes you to overeat.

Tips to get more sleep

1. Put all devices down an hour before bed. Avoid the temptation to scroll endlessly.

2. Keep a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekend.

3. Don’t overeat or drink a couple hours before your bedtime. Avoid consuming caffeine after 2 p.m. Caffeine stays in your system 5 to 6 hours after you consume it.

4. Sleep in a dark room. Darkness cues your body to release melatonin which is your body’s sleep hormone.

5. Go to bed early. People who go to bed early decrease your temptation to indulge in late-night snacks. And it makes you a more productive person. My grandma used to say, that nothing good happens after 10 o’clock. She is right. Be honest with yourself, what do you do after 10? Binge-watch another episode or scroll aimlessly on social media.

One of the biggest changes I made was in my morning routine. I started getting up at 5 AM. I would read 10 pages of a motivational book. Then I would get my workout in before anyone else was up. I did this on my days off as well.

4. Eat more protein

As women age, they lose muscle mass. Eating more protein in your diet will help you build lean muscle. Women should eat anywhere from .5 to 1 gram of protein per body weight pound depending on their activity level. If you have a more sedentary lifestyle, you will only need around .5 grams of protein. If you have an active lifestyle that includes multiple days of strength training, you need 1 gram of protein per body pound.

Protein Calculator

If you weigh 150 pounds, .5 grams of protein per body weight pound is 75 grams of protein. 1 gram of protein per body weight pound is 150 grams.

Benefits of eating more protein

-Boosts your metabolism

-Builds lean muscle

– Strengthens bones, hair, skin, and nails

– Prevents fat accumulation around the liver

– Gives you energy all day long

– Reduces cholesterol

5. Drink more water

How much water do you need? There are a variety of answers to this question. Other conditions affect the answer to this question. Like how active are you? What is the temperature today? A safe way to make sure that you are getting the right amount of water is to divide your body weight by 2 and that is how many ounces of water you need.

For example: if you weigh 150 pounds, you need 75 ounces of water a day.

Benefits of drinking water

– Gives you more energy and improves your brain function

– Wah

– Can help you with weight loss

– Gives you healthy-looking skin

– Reduces the chance or severity of a hangover

You can get and feel the benefits of drinking water almost immediately. Other endeavors for losing weight take up to weeks before you will see a difference.

What are you going to do next?

Do not try to put in place all these at once. Know yourself and where you are at in your journey. Pick two of these tips that will make the most difference and start working on them now. Your physical fitness is a journey, not a destination. It is never over or complete. Be patient and be consistent. Once you have mastered what you are working on, try the other tips. No matter what, keep trying!

Lose 25 Pounds Working Out from Home

Do you really want to lose weight, but aren’t feeling the whole gym scene? You can lose 25 pounds or more by working out at home. You get the same results in the comfort of your own home. This is a topic that I am very passionate about. I have lost 37 pounds on my fitness journey. And I have never set foot in a gym.

I sincerely believe the idea of going to the gym is what keeps a lot of women from working out. Don’t get me wrong, working out at home isn’t easier, it just suits me better. And it may be the answer you have been looking for.

If the gym is the only thing standing in your way of starting your fitness journey, stop dreading it. Losing weight is all about creating better habits. Going to the gym can be a hurdle for someone who is a beginner in fitness.

In this article, I will cover 5 reasons why working out at home may be your solution to finally getting started. No more beating yourself up for not working out because you don’t want to deal with going to the gym. No more feeling guilty as you drive past the gym because you just can’t force yourself to go. Working out at home will give you the same results. Trust me- I did it!!

1. Saves time

Nothing makes me lose my motivation to work out quicker than having to get dressed and drive somewhere to work out. I can’t help but think in the time that it took me to do that, I could be halfway done with a workout from home. It only takes 5 minutes to get ready when you are working out from home. Compared to the half hour it would take to get dressed and commute to the gym.

Convenience

You can work out whenever in convenient for your schedule. This can be especially useful if you don’t have a set work schedule. If you are like me, my work schedule is inconsistent and my hours are long. You can look at your work schedule for the week and plan your workouts.

When you are working out from home, you don’t have to worry about “busy time” at the gym. I went to the gym with my son one time. It was busy and we spent as much time in line waiting for machines as we did working out. That downtime drove me absolutely crazy. I felt so unproductive with my time. When you work out from home an hour workout takes an hour. If you go to a gym it varies depending on how busy it is.

2. Saves Money

Please don’t make the mistake of thinking the amount of money you spend on a gym membership will motivate you enough to go. The average gym membership costs anywhere from $20 to $70 a month depending on location and amenities. Top-tier gyms can cost more than that. According to surveys 1 in 5 people pay for a gym membership and never go.

This ultimately means, that spending the money doesn’t guarantee that you will be successful making time to go to the gym. When you workout from home you can spend as little to as much money as you want. The only thing you need to start strength training is a 5-pound set of dumbbells.

3. Get a more well-rounded workout

I personally think this is the best benefit of working out from home. If you are looking for a workout program from home, the possibilities are endless. There are literally tens of thousands of workout videos on YouTube. There are workout apps and even online fitness coaching. This means there is an endless variety of workouts out there for you to discover.

You aren’t stuck doing arms or legs at the gym. The best way for women to lose weight is having variety in their fitness regimen. Having variety in your workouts also minimizes the chance of boredom and complacency.

My Experience

A year ago, I stopped doing 4 days of strength training and added variety to my workouts. Today I do

– 2 days strength training

– 1 day cardio

– 2 days of Pilates

– 1 day of Yoga

– 1 day of 30-minute stretching.

Result: I have lost 37 pounds this year and I am still moving forward.

I have lost weight and completely transformed my body by adding cardio, Pilates, and Yoga to my daily workouts. I did all of this from home using two different YouTube channels.

@Juliettewooten is the channel I follow for Pilates, Yoga, and cardio

@Sydneycummingshoudyshell for strength training

Both of these ladies are result-driven, educational, and motivating.

4. Builds your confidence

One of the greatest benefits of working out at home is that you can go at your own pace and not worry about being judged. The more you work out the stronger you will become and the more confidence you will have in your abilities.

When I first started working out, I would cringe at the thought of going to the gym. Two reasons that didn’t have anything to do with being judged.

1. I simply didn’t know what I was doing. I had no idea what kind of workout to start with or which exercises I was supposed to do during “leg day.” And I didn’t want to pay for a trainer.

2. I am an introvert. I really don’t find being around a bunch of people very motivating. Coincidently this is the opposite for people who love going to the gym- they find it motivating to be working out with other people. I can definitely respect that.

Online workouts not only give you physical benefits, but they are also educational. You will learn about muscle groups and proper form all the way to how much water you should be drinking.

Bonus tip: If you are someone who really wants to go to the gym but lacks confidence. Work out at home for 6 months, make some progress, learn the techniques, and then join a class at the gym.

5. Eliminates your excuses

Working out at home forces you to immediately confront your commitment to fitness. When you hear working out from home is convenient- that is a nicer way of saying now there are no excuses. After you have decided to workout from home, you no longer have time, money, flexibility, or a crowded gym to blame for missing your workout. You are in complete control of your fitness.

Once I embraced the fact that all my excuses were gone, I realized that my fitness goals were my responsibility. That is when I learned to plan and prioritize working out and getting results.

Conclusion

This article isn’t about reasons to not join a gym. It is about making a choice that is best for you and exploring the alternative. Working out at home will get you the same results as working out in a gym. Know yourself and make the best decision for you. Ultimately the only thing that matters is losing weight and getting in shape.

In my instance, if I had to join a gym to lose weight I wouldn’t have been successful. The exact opposite is true for my son. If he had to rely on the resources of a home gym, he wouldn’t be successful. He likes going to a gym, using all the equipment, and being around people. Do what is best for you and keep trying!

5 Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holiday Season

Oh Yeah- it is that time of year already! If you are like me and you have worked hard all year eating right and getting in shape, you may be a little apprehensive about the holiday season. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the holidays. I don’t love what it does to my schedule and routines. Not to mention ALL the temptations for food and drinks for like 6 weeks! Don’t worry I have put together 5 steps that are going to get us both through this time of year and minimize the damage to our progress. Here are 5 ways to stay healthy during the holidays.

One of the reasons the holidays are such a hurdle for us is because there are about 6 or 7 weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. If you are like me, I find that intimidating and see it as multiple chances to screw up. The last thing I want is for either of us to dread the holidays. It is my favorite time of the year. So I came up with a few tips so we can plan ahead and make our holidays enjoyable!

1. Plan…Plan….Plan

Things to plan for that I will cover in this article-

-Important Dates

-Healthy Recipe Alternatives

-Grocery Trips

-Workouts

-Forgive yourself and keep going

Gather important dates

These dates are going to start popping up everywhere. Dates for your office party, invitations to friends and family gatherings, and holiday dinners will be coming in quickly. It’s the holidays after all and the whole point is gathering. So put these dates on your calendar and be ready to make a plan.

Plan ahead to make healthy recipes

When you take food to a party, make sure it is something that you can eat. That ensures you that there will be at least one option you can have. Look at your dates and start searching Pinterest for healthy recipes you can make. I try to bring a veggie or fruit tray and one other healthy dish. You will be surprised how many people are grateful for healthy options. I guarantee in a room full of people, you aren’t the only health-conscious person.

Look at your important dates and figure out how many healthy recipes you are going to need. Start planning for and trying new recipes now.

Pro Tip- If you know there are going to be a limited amount of food options for you at the party, eat a healthy meal or snack before you go. That will make it easier to focus on socializing instead of food.

Here are a few recipes that I have found on Pinterest that are delicious options.

Banana Oatmeal Cookies | Nutrition.gov

2. Start with a healthy breakfast every day.

Time constraints are real during the holidays, that’s for sure. On your weekly grocery trip, don’t forget to get the right foods for breakfast. I know when my schedule gets busy- my healthy breakfast is a black cup of coffee and a banana. It is important that every day starts with nutrient-dense foods. Do whatever works for you. If a healthy cereal works for you- keep plenty on hand. I personally meal-prepped overnight oats several times last year. It is a great option with a lot of variety and I get 4 or 5 breakfasts out of it.

3. Eat fruits and vegetables every day

It may not seem like it- but in the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, there will be more days that you can stay on track than you think. No matter what kind of diet you are following- increasing vegetables is going to be beneficial to you. On the days and weeks that you don’t have any festivities planned, it is important to eat right all day. That means getting plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Eating fruits and vegetables that have plenty of nutritious value will keep your calorie intake down. An easy way to get your vegetables is to try having two vegetables with dinner. Or try a new salad that has multiple vegetables. Eating a balanced diet will not only make you feel better- but will also help you handle the additional stress the holidays can bring.

Pro Tip- I always buy trays of precut fruits and vegetables at the grocery. Especially during the busy two weeks leading up to Christmas. It is an additional expense but well worth the convenience.

4. Stick to your workout schedule

It is important to get your workouts in on the days when you don’t have much going on. You may even want to consider increasing your workout time by 5 or 10 minutes if you have been consuming more calories. Even during the holidays, you should be working out 3 to 4 times a week at least for 120 to 180 minutes a week.

Pro Tip: If you typically go to the gym to workout, look for effective at-home workouts that will save you valuable time. You don’t have to do this every day if you don’t want. Once or twice a week will save you time and give you a good workout.

Working out while you travel

This is an obstacle that most of us can relate to at one point during the holiday season. A lot of us travel for days at a time for the holidays. You can still get your workouts in, but it is going to take some planning on your part.

1. Plan workouts that are going to accommodate your living arrangements

If you are staying in a hotel- try to book one with a gym. That is the easiest solution. If that is not available, pack a set of light dumbbells and find workout videos on YouTube that are bodyweight or low impact.

2. Plan when you are going to workout

One of the most difficult things about the holidays is that you are not always in control of all the decisions that are made. To successfully get your workout in, know your social itinerary and plan your workouts accordingly.

3. Don’t be afraid to try a new workout style

If you lift heavy weights but are staying with friends or relatives, this may not be an option. Start researching now some alternatives that you can do at home.

– Yoga

Pilates

– Walking, Jogging, or Rucking

Bodyweight or low-impact

Trying a new workout style is going to require a little bit of research on your part. Start now. Knowing what workout type of workout you will be doing will save you time and reduce stress.

5. Get right back up if you fall

This is the most important advice. If you think about the events you have coming up and you know there is one that you are really going to indulge in, go ahead!! BUT, you have to get right back on track the next day. Put it behind you and don’t think anything else about it. Don’t worry about the guilt and don’t punish yourself. THIS is how you get off track.

We hold onto an idea of perfection and when we come up short, we no longer see ourselves as perfect. This is when we want to throw in the towel. I have done this for years in a row. I go to a party and have way more to eat and drink than I had planned. Woke up the next day and thought, well that is it. I really screwed up. I may as well throw in the towel and start over at the first of the year.

You deserve to enjoy the holidays. Indulge if you want to, forgive yourself, and get right back on track. Make it a point this year to start healthy traditions that you can look forward to next year!

Why is Primal Movement the Latest Must Try Fitness Program?

Primal Movement is the latest must try fitness program that is sweeping the country. Primal movement takes working out back to the basics using movements that are natural. Think about babies. At the beginning of life we learn to move on all fours crawling, climbing, and jumping. Primal movement focuses on movement patters that our bodies have been doing for thousands of years. Our bodies can enjoy these basic movement patters.

What is Primal Movement?

It can be exciting when we reach a new max weight for bench press or bicep curl. But think about it, how practical are those exercises? How do they benefit our bodies? Unless we are going to push off something heavy that has fallen on our chest, it really doesn’t serve much purpose. What is the benefit of lifting heavy weight or doing the trendiest workouts if you can’t bend over and pick something off the floor?

Primal movement is how we bend, push, pull, rotate, and walk in our everyday life. When we translate these primal movements into workout patterns they become- lunge, squat, push, pull, rotate, hinge, and walk. The workout method is no new concept. Our bodies are wired to move in these basic movement patters.

Benefits of Primal Movement

One of the reasons that this trend is catching on so quick is because you can literally do it anywhere. There are no weights required. You can do these workouts at home if you are beginning your fitness journey or you can do them when traveling if you are a fitness pro.

Primal movement is perfect to counteract the sedentary lives we lead. These movement patters will help you develop strength, coordination and stability. If you are used to working out this is also referred to as functional movement patters. These useful everyday tactics will help you increase your you mobility and flexibility. This is important because the number one cause of injuries are due to bending over and picking something up. A close second cause of injury is falls. Improved balance, mobility and coordination help greatly to reduce these injuries.

What are the 7 Primal Movements?

Pull Movements

Pull movements involve your upper body- back, biceps, forearms and traps. This involves pulling weight towards your core or supporting your weight while you pull your core towards and object.

-Pull ups

– Weighted rows

– Rope climb

– Superman

Push Movements

Pushing movements involve your upper body weight pushing away from your core. These movements also focus on your chest as well as upper body.

– Variety of push ups- traditional, diamond, and tricep

– Weighted shoulder press

– Tricep dips

Squat Movements

A squat is a movement that uses the entire leg but focuses primarily on the quadricep. A proper squat is done by keeping the upper body straight, bending at the knees and lowering the body towards the ground. Going as low as your flexibility and range of motion will allow. Then pushing yourself back up to the standing position through your heels.

It is important to build strength in the quadricep. When you lift something heavy, you can use your legs and not worry about injuring your back. There are many variations of squats- goblet, split, and one legged.

Lunge

Like squats, lunges focus on the lower body. Unlike squats, lunges work the glutes and the hamstrings, not the quadricep. Lunges can be done by stepping one foot forward, or by stepping one foot backward. You can do static lunges in place or walking lunges.

Hinge

A hinge is a bending movement that revolves primarily around the core, lower back, and glutes. A proper hinge includes keeping the upper body straight and steady while bending through the hip flexors. Bend over and bring your upper body towards the ground.

Popular hinging exercises include good mornings, deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, and single leg dead lifts. Hinging is important to build strength in your lower back and they help improve your posture. Hinges give you the mobility to pick things up off the ground safely.

Rotation

Rotation is a core exercise that focuses heavily on the abs and obliques. Rotations can be done in various positions, but always involve bringing one side of your body to the other side. For example, swinging your right elbow to your left lifted knee.

Rotations help develop core strength which improves posture and the health of your internal organs. Some popular twisting exercises include Russian twists, elbow to knee crunches, rotating side planks, and wood choppers.

Gait

This is the easiest and most simple to perform. Gait refers to walking, how easily you move your body. If you have a strong gait, it is easier on your joints and improves your posture. Popular gait exercises involve walking, jogging, running, and rucking.

Best Way to Add These Exercises to Your Routine

If you are a beginner, it is important to start slow and focus on your form. Speak to a qualified fitness professional that can help you with your technique. This will allow you to do the exercises safely and build your strength. Start with a low amount of reps 8 to 10 and increase your reps as your strength improves. If you experienced in fitness, start with a lighter set of weights (3-5 pounds) and increase weight and reps as you get stronger.

Watch this Primal Movement Video to get you started!

https://youtu.be/sMq3qGa10ws

Why Primal Movement is more that just the latest fad?

Primal Movement is assessable to everyone. There is no equipment needed to get started and little equipment needed to advance. It can be done in the comfort of your own home. The workouts focus on movements that are meant to improve your stability, posture, and mind/body connection. Everyone can experience the benefits and improve their mobility in daily activities.

Looking for a Workout that Builds Muscle and Cardio Endurance, Try Rucking.

If you have never heard of rucking, you are not alone. I will explain the physical activity of rucking and its multiple health benefits. This is a workout that I am truly passionate about and I have seen firsthand the benefits to my health. Rucking is accessible to everyone. It can be done by anyone anywhere. It is also inexpensive and scalable.  Rucking will build your muscles and improve your muscular endurance.

I first heard about rucking from my son who joined the Army last year. He talked about these 12-mile walks that they had to do with their rucksacks. I asked him what it meant and he said simply they walk for miles carrying a weighted backpack. That is essentially what rucking is. I have been rucking for 4 months and I love it! Rucking along with Pilates, and HIIT workouts have helped me lose more than 26 pounds.

Rucking originated in the military. Every military all over the world uses rucking as a form of training. Rucking is cheap, easy to access, and highly effective. It is a workout that strengthens your muscles and improves your cardiovascular system.  Rucking is also a high-calorie burn activity.

Get Started Rucking

The standard military ruck is 45 pounds. The military requirement is a 12-mile ruck in 3 hours. DO NOT try this when you are first getting started. The rule of thumb for the amount of weight to begin is 10-15% of your body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds. You should start with 15 pounds in your backpack. You can increase the weight as you get stronger.

If you have experience in strength training, you can start a little heavier. I weigh 155 pounds and I started with a 25-pound plate. Be mindful of the amount of weight you increase. Do increments of no more than 10 pounds at a time. Many people who start rucking begin with weights that are too heavy. This causes muscle soreness, fatigue, and discomfort when you ruck. Start out low and build your way up.

            A good pace when you first start is 15 minutes per mile. If it takes you longer than 20 minutes per mile. You need to decrease your weight.  Start out slow by rucking no more than 30 minutes at a time until you have built up your stamina and increase your time and weight gradually.

 Rucking 2 times a week is recommended for beginners. Rucking more than that will put stress on your muscles and not give them time to recover. Muscle recovery is important for your longevity. When you become more advanced, rucking 4 to 5 times a week builds your strength and cardiovascular system.

How does rucking build muscle and cardio endurance?

Rucking is a great workout because it involves resistance training and cardio endurance. Here are the multiple benefits:

Improves Muscle StrengthRucking is a compound exercise that requires you to stimulate and use multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Your leg muscles are utilized when using a hip belt to carry the load. Your shoulders (deltoids) are strengthened from constantly carrying the load. Learn more about how each muscle is improved when rucking.
Improves Cardiovascular FitnessRucking is a LISS (Low Intensity Steady-State) workout. Meaning that it typically requires you to exercise for longer periods of time compared to sprints and runs.
Rucking helps you get in shapeRucking is a great way to get in shape, this is because LISS workouts promotes body recomposition.
Aids in Posture ImprovementThe weight of the backpack / rucksack pulls the shoulders back while walking. The longer you ruck, the longer you practice fixing your posture.
AccessibleYou can start rucking as long as you can walk and have a rucksack to get you started.
Socially StimulatingThere are tons of local events that gets everyone together and people ruck together.

Rucking has mental health benefits as well. Working out outside lowers stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that spending just 5 minutes outside helps reset the brain and we start thinking differently.

How does rucking compare to running?

As someone who hates to run, I am particularly ecstatic about these statistics. If you hate to run but still want to get the calorie burn, rucking is your answer. Rucking at the same distance as running, carrying 20% of your body weight, burns just under 100 calories less than if you run.

 Rucking is also lower in intensity, therefore easier on your joints and muscles. When you run, each stride puts 7 to 10 times more pressure on your joints especially your knees and ankles. That is why running is so hard on you. When you ruck, you are only putting 2 to 3 times more pressure on your joints. I ruck anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, 3 times a week. My joints are never sore. I have some stiffness in my shoulders when I increase weight, but that’s the only side effect I have from rucking.

Now that we know what rucking is? What do you need to get started?

A tan colored backpack used as a camera bag and stored on a low shelf.

 All you really need is a backpack and your fitness shoes to get started. If you are interested in this activity but aren’t sure if it’s for you, you can start with what you have around the house. Get a backpack and put a kettlebell or a set of lighter free weights and start walking.

For weights more than 10 pounds it is advised that you purchase a rucksack or weighted backpack. The seams in these bags are stronger and can hold extra weight. You can purchase these on Amazon, or any other sports retailer and the prices range anywhere from $30 to hundreds of dollars. Available online also, are the ruck plates. It is a weighted plate that goes in the backpack. The weights vary from 10 to 45 pounds.

I bought my rucksack on Amazon. It was the Army tactical backpack for $30. I bought a 25-pound ruck plate for $38. It cost me less than $70 dollars to get started. Instead of buying another 10-pound plate like I need to, I have just added a set of my 5-pound free weights to my backpack to increase my resistance. I won’t buy another plate until I am ready for the additional 20 pounds. My goal is to ruck with the military standard 45 pounds.  

Conclusion

Active tourist with backpack standing at mountain lake and pine wood background

Whether you are looking for a whole new workout, or just looking to add variety in your workout schedule, rucking has the benefits. You can walk anywhere, in your neighborhood, the park, or a hiking trail. You can spend as little or as much money as you want to get started.

My goal is to meet the standard military weight of 45 pounds. Rucking is more challenging than I thought it would be. After 3 months I just increased from 25 to 35 pounds. My rucking routine is simple. I ruck when I walk my dog. Two times a week, rucking is my main workout and I ruck for an hour. My dog loves those days.  Two to three times a week I ruck for 30 minutes when I walk my dog. This is in addition to whatever my primary workout is that day.

I have gained lean muscle in my legs and back that I have never had before. And I get to spend time outside with my dog. Those are two of my favorite things. So grab a backpack, put some weights in it and get started!

Top 10 Reasons Why Pilates is Beneficial for Women

Pilates has many benefits for women of all ages. The practice of Pilates incorporates breath, balance, and a mind-body connection. Pilates is based on the idea that we should be working all of the muscles in the body together centering the focus on the abdomen. The benefits Pilates offers women are both physical and mental. This article will explain the top 10 reasons why Pilates is beneficial to women.

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a low-impact exercise that focuses on controlled movements that enhance your balance, core strength, mobility, flexibility, and even mood. Pilates is used to build the smaller and deeper muscles that support your structure and enhance your overall health. These exercises, combine your breath and target your smaller and deeper stabilization muscles. For this reason, Pilates is often explained as working from the inside out. The 6 principles of Pilates; are concentration, control, center, flow, precision, and breathing.

Here is a list of the Pilates Health Benefits for Women:

1. Changes Your Body Composition

Pilates burns fat and replaces it with lean toned muscle. Pilates focuses on strengthening and lengthening which leads to more streamlined and defined muscles. Strengthening smaller muscles is what gives the body definition. Pilates also improves your posture which makes the body longer and leaner. Improved posture not only looks great but also makes you feel more confident.

2. Increase Core Strength

Pilates strengthens the “powerhouse,” by working the 3 abdominal muscle groups: transverse abdominus, (deepest muscle layer), rectus abdominus, (6 pack muscles), and external oblique,(side muscles). The core refers to the group of powerful muscles found in and around your midsection, including your abs, lower back, hip, and pelvic floor muscles. Because it stabilizes your upper and lower body, the core is also known as the body’s powerhouse and central support system.

Developing your core strength is important because:

  • A strong core allows your body to produce a central force to complete everyday movements, exercises, and activities
  • Core strength enables you to hold yourself upright
  • Core strength allows you to stabilize, coordinate and move efficiently

3. Improves Your Balance

When you think about improving your physical fitness, you probably haven’t put much thought into your balance. Don’t overlook it! Good balance is an important key to being physically fit and living a longer healthier life. If you are looking to improve functional movement which helps you complete everyday tasks such as squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, hinging, twisting, and walking, Pilates is the answer. Pilates will help your movements become more fluid and you will develop balance and stability.

4. Promotes mindfulness and body awareness.

Another benefit of Pilates is that it encourages you to stay in touch with your body as you build strength.

Other strength training workouts, like weightlifting, encourage a mentality of pushing your body to its limits. This means you might not always be listening to your body, making it easier to ignore your body cues.

Pilates is a type of strength training exercise that encourages you to identify and work within the limits of your body. There is also an inherent mindfulness to it and a lot of breath work, which can help relieve tension and stress.

5. Helps Build Muscle

Pilates is a great workout if you are interested in building muscle strength and endurance. When practicing Pilates lean muscle is built through the focus of control in your movements. Your muscle time under tension is longer with Pilates than with strength training. Pilates movements last anywhere from 60 seconds to 2 minutes. In order to build muscle with strength training, more weight is applied in a shorter duration of time. For example, 12 reps of 20-pound bicep curls.

6. Increases Bone Density

Increasing bone density occurs when body parts move against the force of gravity. Increasing strength and muscle mass will in turn help your bones. Unlike HIIT and cardio workouts that require jumping which leads to more stress on joints, Pilates is a low-intensity workout. This means that you are getting the benefits of resistance training without the stress on your joints.

The focus of Pilates is to strengthen the core, once the core is stronger, there is less pressure on your joints and bones when you move because your movement is coming from your center. Improved balance which we have already discussed, means a more even distribution of weight throughout the body when you move. Uneven distribution of weight or imbalance causes stress and pressure on the joints.

7. Increases Energy Levels

Pilates movements improve the circulation of blood which increases the amount of oxygen in your blood. Increased oxygen means increased energy levels. One of the Pilates principles is breath, improved breathing will make you feel more energized. As with all other forms of exercise, there is a release of endorphins after a workout is complete. These endorphins give you a natural high.

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8. Improves your Mental Health

Many people do Pilates for the physical benefits, but there are mental benefits as well. Pilates focuses on breathing which automatically calms the mind. Deep breathing will help regulate the nervous system and reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone), in your body. Research has shown that the Pilates practice can reduce anxiety and depression along with improving the quality of life for patients who are overweight.

9. Weight Loss

Let’s face it, losing weight is one of the most important benefits of any type of workout. When Pilates is practiced 3 times a week and combined with a healthy diet, it does improve weight loss results. An hour session of Pilates burns anywhere from 200-450 calories depending on the difficulty of the class. Pilates builds longer leaner muscles which increases calorie burn up to 24 hours after working out. Increased calorie burn leads to weight loss.

10. Improves Quality of Sleep

Pilates can improve sleep quality by reducing stress which is the number one cause of sleep disorders. Pilates and other physical activity tires the body and promotes sleep. While the body exercises, the mind rests. A study showed that after 8 weeks of practicing Pilates, most components of sleep quality improved significantly. After only 4 weeks of practicing Pilates there was a decrease in signs of fatigue.

Conclusion

Practicing Pilates has a holistic effect on the body. To get started the average person can practice Pilates 3 times a week for twenty minutes. This amount of time will allow muscles to strengthen making it easier to increase your workout time to 30 minutes up to an hour. It will take an average of 2 to 3 weeks to feel the effects of Pilates and an average of 10-12 weeks to see the effects of Pilates. As with many types of workouts, the results that aren’t evident to the naked eye are as important as the ones we can see physically. Reduced stress, better balance, improved range of motion, and improved mental health are all just as important as weight loss. Pilates offers all of these benefits for women.

10 of the Best Motivational Quotes

“Change your thoughts, and you change your world.”

Norman Vincent Peale

“What you get by achieving your goals isn’t nearly as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

Zig Ziggler

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill

“Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.”

Vince Lombardi Jr.

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.”

Jerry Rice

“Go the extra mile. It is never crowded.”

Wayne Dryer

“Action is the fundamental key to all success.”

Pablo PIcasso

“It is supposed to be hard, if it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

Tom Hanks

“Don’t count the days. Make the days count.”

Muhammad Ali

“Be prepared everyday to confront your own self sabotage.”

Unkown