Inspiration and info for midlife women who lift—or want to start

Category: Older, Wiser & Stronger

How we can get stronger with age, stay healthy, and embrace the wisdom and freedom that come with getting older.

Woman with insomnia, maybe suffering with menopause, lying in bed with a pillow over her head, anxious and upset because she can't sleep.

My insomnia battle

Hello, dear reader. You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven’t posted any new content here for quite a while… much longer than I intended or wanted.

This has not been due to lack of desire to post. Quite the opposite, in fact.

It’s been the result of hitting a metaphorical brick wall: wicked and at times intractable insomnia.

How Lifting Weights Protects Your Heart and Brain

In parts one and two of this series on the benefits of strength training over 40, we talked about preventing frailty and osteoporosis. But did you know lifting weights also helps protect your heart and your brain?!

Lifting in the Middle

Australian powerlifting great Liz Craven posted something on Instagram recently that hit me, as the young folks these days say, “in the feels.”

She recalled breaking some IPF All-time World Records back in 2017, just before a forced six-year hiatus from World competition due to powerlifting politics and Covid (during which time she also overcame some incredibly challenging health problems).

Liz is finally heading back to IPF Worlds this year, and at 48 will be competing against lifters half her age. She writes:

there is a whole new generation up there.

Very few of the old guard (my friends) will be there, I will be around the middle these days and sometimes it is hard to find the drive to work that hard to be in the middle.

Everything hurts more, everything is harder. Will I even get to weight?

I have been trying to change my perspective though.

It is a privilege to still be able to get there, one other people would love.

So I’ll keep working hard and we will see what I can do after all this time.

Working hard to be in the middle

Working hard to be in the middle is what I do literally every time I train. That’s why this caption resonated so much.

The four stages of osteoporosis

Lift Weights to Prevent Osteoporosis

In part one of this series on why strength training is critical in midlife, we talked about muscle loss, or sarcopenia. Muscle loss affects both men and women, not equally, but significantly.

There’s another catastrophic loss that affects females more profoundly than males, especially after menopause.

Yup, we women can add another fun Greek word to the list of things we have to deal with as we age: “osteopenia,” and its uglier relative, “osteoporosis.”

Dumbbell rack in a weightroom

Over 40? 8 Reasons to Lift Weights

In my 30s, I exercised to look good. In my 50s, to stay fit. In my 70s, to stay ambulatory. In my 80s, to avoid assisted living. Now, in my 90s, I’m just doing it out of pure defiance.

Dick Van Dyke

Let’s face it. Many women, especially those of us over 40, find the idea of lifting weights unfamiliar at best, and scary at worst. 

In general, our culture has not historically encouraged girls and women to get strong. Thankfully, the public perception of strength training for younger women and girls has been evolving at a pretty rapid clip over the past 10-15 years. But lifting doesn’t even occur to most older women—think Gen X and up.

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