I had to rewind the audio book... Did she just say post-menopausal women need to jump more often? I was confused! All this time, in my classes full of retirees at the gym I was so focused on providing low impact modifications for every move I performed! I thought I was protecting my clients' joints and bones, but when I listened to that line again, I knew I needed to broaden my research. In my new favorite book, NEXT LEVEL by Stacy T. Sims, Chapter 7 Titled "Get a Jump on Menopausal Strength Losses - How to (literally) bound into a powerful future", there is a section called "Create a Strong Skeleton." The author states, "Research shows that women can lose up to 20% of their bone density within the first five to seven years post-menopause as estrogen levels decline. That's one-fifth of your skeletal strength. Resistance training helps. But to really improve your bone, you need to jump."
I was so intrigued, and in my head I was betting that only 2-5% of the population who should be doing this type of exercise actually is. So leave it to me to research and present to you my findings so that you may be impowered to make some great decisions regarding your training moving forward and find increased energy, strength, and confidence!
What is High-Impact or Plyometric Training?
High-impact training is a form of exercise that involves intense movements, such as jumping, running, or plyometric exercises that put stress on the body's joints and bones. This type of training is especially beneficial for women over 40 as it can help build bone density, improve cardiovascular health, and increase muscle mass, all of which can help prevent chronic illnesses and slow down muscle and bone loss.
Importance of High-Impact Training for Women over 40
1. Maintaining Bone Density
As women age, they may experience a decline in bone density, which can increase the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and makes them more prone to fractures. High-impact training can help build bone density and prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
2. Improving Cardiovascular Health
High-impact training can help improve cardiovascular health by increasing heart rate and improving circulation. This can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular illnesses.
3. Increasing Muscle Mass
As women age, they may experience a decline in muscle mass, which can lead to a decrease in overall strength and mobility. High-impact training can help increase muscle mass and improve overall strength and mobility, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.
Additional Benefits of High-Impact Training for Women over 40
1. Boosting Energy Levels
High-impact training can boost energy levels and improve mood by releasing endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals.
2. Promoting Weight Loss
High-impact training can help burn calories and promote weight loss, which can help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
3. Improving Balance and Coordination
High-impact training can help improve balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.
A Story from Class this Week of Mary "Granny" Smith
So after completing this research this past Friday, I headed to my weekly Sunday Class that I teach at our community club house. I teach a HIIT-STRENGTH-CORE class and a KICK & DEFINE class - both are a combo of cardio and strength using only body weight. What I've always prided myself on in teaching live classes is my ability to advance a move and modify a move at the same time to accommodate all levels of fitness in the same one-hour session. When Mary Smith came to her first class a few weeks ago, expressing some concern over the fact that she was decades older and not as agile and athletic as the other participants, I assured her she would be just fine! Mary kicked butt in that first class, though I also know she felt like I had kicked her butt! Mary came back the next week for her second class, excited for more, but I know she was still a little reserved about what was to come. Again, Mary did great, and mentioned that she liked the class and felt soreness the next day.
This past Sunday, in her 3rd class, there were a number of times where I gave high impact (jumping) moves and lower impact modifications. When I looked over to Mary, I saw her killing it with the HIGH IMPACT version of one of the moves! She was pushing herself, and I just wanted to shout out..."This is so good for you Mary!"...Based on what I had learned.
What are the Best Exercises for High Impact/Plyometric Training?
When it comes to high-impact training for women over 40, it's important to choose exercises that are safe and appropriate for your fitness level and any pre-existing medical conditions. Here are some examples of safe high-impact exercises for women over 40:
1. Jumping Jacks: Jumping jacks are a classic high-impact exercise that can help increase heart rate, burn calories, and improve cardiovascular health. To perform jumping jacks, stand with your feet together and your arms by your sides. Jump your feet out to the sides while simultaneously raising your arms overhead. Jump your feet back together while lowering your arms back to your sides. Repeat for several reps.
2. Burpees: Burpees are a full-body exercise that can help improve cardiovascular health, increase muscle mass, and burn calories. To perform burpees, start in a standing position, then drop down into a push-up position. Perform a push-up, then jump your feet forward to your hands and stand up, jumping at the top of the movement. Repeat for several reps.
3. Box Jumps: Box jumps can help increase lower body strength, power, and explosiveness. To perform box jumps, start in front of a sturdy box or platform. Jump onto the box, landing with both feet on top, then step back down and repeat for several reps.
4. High Knee Runs: High knee runs are a high-impact exercise that can help increase heart rate, burn calories, and improve coordination. To perform high knee runs, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides. Run in place, bringing your knees up to waist height with each step.
5. Jump Rope: Jump rope is a high-impact exercise that can help increase cardiovascular health, coordination, and endurance. To perform jump rope, start with a standard jump and progress to more advanced moves like double-unders or criss-crosses.
Remember to start with a warm-up and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your high-impact training over time. It's also important to listen to your body and rest when necessary to avoid injury. Don't Go it Alone!
Finally, consider working with a certified personal trainer like myself to create a customized exercise plan that meets your fitness goals and needs. You want to be sure your nutrition is also on point to fuel your new workouts and get you right to your goals! Schedule a chat with me here to Road Map Your Success!