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More Than 10 Best Exercises for Women Over 40 to Stay Fit

Finding the best exercises for women over 40 isn’t always easy. Workouts that help to increase muscle mass that has typically been lost over the last decade or so. After all, the best way to have a lean, youthful body is to tone muscle groups through some type of resistance training with regular exercise.

Women in their 40s and beyond need to find targeted exercises that focus on our changing bodies, slowed metabolism and hormonal imbalance to prevent weight gain. 

If you are a woman in your 40s, you may have started to notice that you are dealing with lowered energy levels, muscle loss and maybe even some belly fat that doesn’t seem to want to go anywhere (isn’t getting older just the best?).  

Best Exercises for Women Over 40

Some of the exercises that are work for women over 40 include core exercises, shorter cardio sessions and resistance training or strength training. There is more to it than that though. Being able to balance fat burning vs cardio workouts are important as well.

How to Lose Weight After 40

It’s possible you are as lost as I was when I set out to lose weight in my early 40s. Exercise and eating healthy was completely foreign to me. Losing weight after 40, or at any age really, is maintained and sustainable when it’s done through proper eating and exercises that will build muscle.

Muscle mass improves metabolism, which promotes fat burn and weight loss.

This entire website is focused on healthy living and weight loss after 40, so you are in the right place.

Habits for Weight Loss and Better Health:

  • Toning muscles – Rotate different muscle groups and workouts
  • Cardiovascular health – brisk walking, HIIT workouts, steady cardio
  • Nutrition – macros for weight loss or following a meal plan
  • Consistency – with a balance of cheat or fun meals
  • Don’t stop doing any of these things once you reach your goal – it’s a lifestyle
blonde lady stretching leg with earbuds in ear

Best Exercises for Women Over 40

There are plenty of exercise programs out there that can be tailored to women of any age, but for women over 40, since the focus needs to be in certain areas of fitness, certain workouts are better than others.

For example, resistance training is great for building muscle, short bursts of cardio are great for weight loss, low impact exercise is great for reducing risk of injury. We break some of those down for you later in this post. 

It’s important to remember though that a good workout routine for women over 40 is going to require some mixing up. Any of the workouts that we talk about here are going to be great to add to your fitness routines, but don’t forget to change your workout often.

Try not to do the same workout routine even two days in a row let alone every day. 

Resistance Training

If you haven’t done resistance training yet in your fitness journey, now is the time to start! Resistance training means exercise that creates external resistance against your muscles.

For example, resistance training is weight lifting, strength training, bodyweight exercises and exercises with resistance bands. They all work against muscles to break down so they will rebuild stronger.

Building muscle is an incredibly important factor when it comes to exercising in your 40s. Building muscle not only helps you to maintain bone mass, but also helps you to increase your metabolism.

Building and maintaining strength will burn more calories overall daily, helping to maintain your weight loss.

Dumbbell Press

Lie flat on your back on the floor or on a bench with your feet firmly on the ground. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, extend your arms straight above you. Lower your arms, while squeezing your shoulder blades together, bending your elbows out to the side. Once you reach 90 degree angles, it’s time to raise your arms back up to starting position. 

Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps. 

Bicep Curl

With a dumbbell in each hand, stand straight with your arms to the side of your body. Bend your elbows, bringing the dumbbells up toward your shoulders (using both arms). Hold the dumbbells at your shoulders momentarily. Slowly lower them back to the starting position. 

Be sure to keep your back straight the entire time and that the movement is done through the bicep muscles and not your back.  

Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps. 

Bent Over Row

Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, hinging your hips with your knees slightly bent. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, keep your back flat with your core engaged, torso at a 45 degree angle or parallel to the floor. Bring your elbows back toward your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower them back to the starting position. 

Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps. 

Overhead Tricep Extensions

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, keeping your core tight. Holding a single dumbbell with both hands. Fully extend your arms, palms toward the roof, elbows pointing forward, lifting the dumbbell toward the ceiling. Bend your elbows, squeezing your triceps, lower the dumbbell behind your head slowly. Carefully return to your starting position. 

Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Body Weight Exercise

Body weight exercises are exactly what they sound like. Exercises that use no equipment, just your body weight. These are great exercises for those that don’t have any extra equipment and will be working out in their homes. Here are some examples and descriptions of great bodyweight exercises that are among the best exercises for women over 40.

Push Ups

To do a push up, start in a plank position (hands below shoulders, legs stretched out behind you, core tightened, back straight). With elbows pointing back, bend your elbows, lowering your body until you are almost to the floor, watching your hands, keeping your body in a straight line. Exhale, tighten your core again and push yourself back to the starting position. 

Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps. 

Sit Ups

Lie on your back, bend your knees, placing your feet firmly on the floor to stabilize your lower body. Cross your hands over your chest or place them behind your ears (be sure to not put strain on your neck). Tighten your core, curling your torso toward your knees, exhaling as you move. Lower yourself back down to the starting point slowly, inhaling as you do. 

Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps. 


Hold yourself up on your hands and knees (hands on the floor directly underneath your shoulders). Lift your knees, extending your knees behind you. Lift your body up off the ground with your arms and legs with your toes tucked under. Or, for a more challenging plank, you can lower yourself down onto your forearms, keeping your shoulders above your elbows. The most important thing to remember during plank exercises is to keep your core engaged and to not allow your spine or hips to sag. Try and hold onto this position for a minimum of 30 seconds. (Like this free 30 day Plank Challenge)

Aim to do 3 to 5 planks each day. 


Tighten your core and stand with your feet shoulder width apart, turn your toes slightly outward. Begin to shift your weight back into your heels and push your hips back as you squat down. Continue lowering yourself until your upper legs are close to parallel to the floor, with your feet remaining flat on the floor and your knees over your toes. Pushing your chest out and your spine neutral while pushing through your heels to return to starting position. Be sure to keep your core engaged throughout each repetition.

Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.  

High Intensity Interval Training – HIIT / Cardiovascular Exercises

Cardiovascular exercises, or aerobic exercises, is any vigorous activity that causes your heart rate to increase. With these types of exercises you can also expect your respiration, oxygen and blood flow to increase as well.

Cardiovascular exercise typically uses the larger muscle groups in our bodies to move repetitively. This type of exercise challenges and improves the function of the heart, lungs, circulatory system. Cardio is also known to improve other aspects of health such as mental health and mood, metabolism and even sleep cycles. 

You should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes per day of this type of cardiovascular exercise. 

You can choose between many different cardio exercises to fit into a HIIT workout, it’s simply a matter of doing it the right way. It’s not a matter of doing a particular workout for 30 minutes straight, instead you need to combine shorter sprints of time with slow recovery times between the sprints. 

Many people who do HIIT exercises do so with walking, cycling, swimming or using a cardio machine. Curious about how to do a workout like this? Regardless of the cardiovascular exercise you choose to do, here is an example workout session:

  • Start with a warm up (be sure to keep it low-intensity) – 5 minutes
  • Step it up to high-intensity – 30 to 60 seconds
  • Drop your intensity back down to low/medium – 2 minutes
  • Continue this low/medium to high intensity interval pattern – up to 30 minutes
  • Now it’s time for your cool down – 5 minutes

Find more walking and treadmill workouts in this section of the website.

Low-Impact Exercises 

Even if strength training and cardio just aren’t your thing yet, that’s okay! Low-impact exercises are a good alternative! The important thing is to move your body. 

Examples of low-impact exercises:


When you are trying to get fit or work on your fitness in your 40s, walking is a great option. Walking just a half hour every day can improve muscle tone, improve your heart health, lower your body fat and increase your endurance. 

You should aim to walk at 30 to 60 minutes per day. Here’s a great 30 Day Walking Challenge.


Yoga is a great workout for women over 40. While it is a calorie burning workout, it is still relaxing and a good idea for those times when you are feeling tired or overly stressed. Yoga can also relieve stress, while increasing your flexibility and strength. 

woman over 40 doing yoga stretch in home

Tai Chi

You have heard of Tai Chi being described as “meditation in motion.” It is a great practice for mental health and it has also been found to help in prevention of many health issues. The movements in Tai Chi are never forced and typically circular, allowing your muscles to stay relaxed and your joints will never fully bend or extend, meaning that this is a workout that most people, even those with limitations can do. 

Why is a Healthy Lifestyle So Important?

How many people do you know that actually look forward to aging? Probably not many. Let’s face it, we all expect our bodies to start to slow down. The thing is though, with a healthy lifestyle, it can be much better than you think and you can feel younger than ever!

With a healthy diet and plenty of physical activity, these exercises can help you to get your  body into its maximum condition, regardless of age. Aging doesn’t have to be scary, with a few adjustments to lifestyle and routine, we can make all the difference in the aging process.

We don’t have to lose strength or endurance just because we are in our 40s. In fact, it’s one of the most important times to strengthen muscles and our cardiovascular health for heart health, cognitive function, lower blood pressure and overall health improvement.

The aging process shouldn’t reduce our physical activities due to risk of injury. With a regular exercise program such as a full-body workout appropriate for your current fitness level, things like chronic joint pain, cardiovascular health and loss of bone density can be addressed and improved.

A good diet should consist of balanced nutrition of whole foods along with the best supplements for women and overall health.

Resources for Workouts:

Before you start a new exercise program, be sure and consult your healthcare provider. 

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Friday 5th of April 2024

I don't think the title of your article matches the content lol. Just kidding, mainly because I had some doubts after reading the article.

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