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Never too late

Over the past few years, an increasing number of middle-aged and older women have started weight training. Prema Kodical on how ageing can become a win-win deal for women.

health and fitness Updated: Mar 09, 2009 21:06 IST
Prema K

Over the past few years, I’ve seen a new trend in my gym. An increasing number of middle-aged and older women have started weight training now...and they seem to be serious about it. So weight training is not limited to hunks and young svelte women any more.

I realised this wasn’t a fad but something that the doctor had recommended. Strength training helps older women to tone, shape up and strengthen muscle fibres. This helps minimise flabby muscles. Women taking brisk walks are another common sight.

But unfortunately, the percentage of physically motivated women in India is still small as compared to their western counterparts.

Constant battle
Back home, not many women think about the effects of ageing till they get close to 50. But research has shown that the sooner you take action, the better will be the results on your body.
Accessory designer Pinky Saraf has an 11-year-old daughter and looks years younger than her 41 years. She attributes this to a stringent diet and exercise routine. But she confesses that keeping the bulge away has been a constant battle, especially after she crossed her 30s.

She says, “It gets worse if it’s in your genes. I have obese parents. I don’t diet but I eat healthy food everyday except over weekends.”

Saraf’s workout comprises a one-hour spinning session in the morning followed by 20 minutes of yoga.
She states, “Spinning is a great cardio workout.. and yoga makes my body feel stretched and taut. Over a period of time, my work and workouts have come to mean the world to me. I also have a slightly spiritual bent of mind. I guess all this makes me feel younger than my years.”

Reebok Master trainer Vinata Shetty believes that one cannot make lifestyle changes suddenly at 50. It’s best to adopt a healthy lifestyle at an early age.

She explains, “It’s important to realise the benefits of eating healthy and working out regularly as early as possible. In women, bone growth is at its peak between 14 and 25, and continues till 35 or 40. But lots of women go on crash diets and don’t exercise.”

Start now
The number of women suffering from osteoporosis at 40 is on the rise, in comparison to the past when women in their 70s were afflicted with it.

Shetty recommends weight training to increase bone density in women.

She is shocked to hear women at 40 complaining of backache, heart diseases, diabetes and blood pressure, because of an unhealthy lifestyle. She stresses on the fact that older women who haven’t started working out can start now. It’s never too late.

She concludes saying, “As for your diet, don’t just give up eating your favourite food overnight. Eliminate unhealthy items from your diet, one by one. Otherwise you’ll go on a binge after a while. Indulge yourself occasionally.”