Building muscle after 40 years of age feels like an impossible task. But I’m here to tell you it’s not. And if you care about healing your pelvic floor and putting a stop to leaking every time you cough, sneeze, or laugh, then it’s time you started thinking about building muscle.
Because the best exercises for your pelvic floor aren’t just Kegels.
You need to build muscle in your entire body so that your body can hold and support the new, strong pelvic floor you’re creating with your pelvic floor self-care routine.
Can You Build Muscle Over 40?
Building muscle after 40 for females might sound like a pipe dream. But it’s entirely possible. And it’s necessary. Building muscles isn’t just for men. (1)
You see, when you focus on building muscle (instead of “losing weight”) you’ll find the following benefits:
- Less frailty in your golden years (2,3)
- Improved mental health (4)
- Better respiratory function (5)
- Increased strength and balance (6)
- Stronger bones (7,8,9)
- Lowered body fat (10)
How Long Does It Take To Build Muscle After 40?
The great news is that it doesn’t take years to build muscle after age 40. Some studies indicate measurable results in as little as 16 weeks. (11)
But the longer you work on building muscle, the better your results will be.
Resistance training is one of those things that continues to build upon itself, so you’ll constantly be motivated by the results you see.
Pelvic Floor Exercises That Aren’t Kegels
Here’s more great news: “certain” kinds of resistance training are also amazing for helping your pelvic floor.
You’ll notice I say “certain” kinds of training here because most of the time, when you think about resistance training, you think about lifting heavy weights in the gym.
I do NOT recommend doing that unless you’re already at a certain level of fitness — because lifting things that are too heavy for you can strain your pelvic floor muscles and your pelvic organs, creating more damage, which is the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve here.
But there are pelvic floor exercises besides Kegels.
These include bodyweight exercises, and standing ab work — hallmarks of my popular Fit, Strong, Balance at-home exercise program.
I always recommend that my clients incorporate these kinds of pelvic floor exercises into their routine in addition to Kegels.
Diet For Building Muscle After 40
When you’re focusing on building muscles throughout your entire body and your pelvic floor, you have to tighten up your diet to see real results.
Scientists have discovered that your body doesn’t process protein as efficiently as it once did as you age. (12)
That means that you’re probably not eating enough protein…since the most recent recommendations indicate older adults should be getting in about one gram of protein for every kilogram of body weight. (13)
Now, it’s important to note here that we’re not talking about packing in low-quality, processed meats here.
When increasing your protein intake, don’t reach for cheeseburgers from a fast food restaurant. Focusing on a whole-food diet full of organic, grass-fed, free-range meats, beans, high-quality dairy products, and eggs is the best strategy. And, of course, complement your protein with lots of vegetables and fiber, too!
Avoid Gym Mishaps: Prioritize Pelvic Floor-Safe Exercises for Women Over 40
It’s essential for women, particularly those who are older, to prioritize pelvic floor-safe strengthening exercises that do not damage the pelvic floor and cause bladder leaks, prolapse pressure, or pelvic pain. Unfortunately, research shows up to 80% of women experience pee leaks while exercising at the gym (14).
Leaking while working out can be discouraging and even embarrassing for women, so it’s important to engage in pelvic floor-safe exercises that help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and reduce the likelihood of bladder leaks. These are the types of exercises that are part of the Fit Strong Balance program.
Strength Training For Older Women
When it comes to a strength training program designed specifically for women with pelvic floor dysfunction, there is none better than my Fit, Strong, Balance Program.
This is an at-home strength-building program that will help you increase your muscle mass, strengthen your pelvic floor, and teach you how to work out without hurting your pelvic floor and pelvic organs.
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your body, your mind, and your pelvic floor.
And once you’ve committed to strengthening your body — it can be intimidating to walk into the gym and *hope* you don’t pee yourself while you’re in a fitness class.
It’s even more intimating when the whole fitness industry focuses on twenty-something bodies and doesn’t take into consideration the needs of older women.
It can be even scarier to start working out and risk injuring yourself — or experiencing a setback in your pelvic floor improvements because of your workouts.
So most women stay home and don’t get enough exercise to really make a difference in their overall health.
They aren’t working out enough. Sitting way too much. And your body’s suffering as a result.
Here’s the thing — I know that you want to be strong and vibrant well into your golden years.
I know that you don’t want to deal with broken bones and frailty when you get older.
And I know that the sooner you start resistance training…the sooner you’ll meet that strong and vibrant version of yourself.
With the Fit, Strong, Balance Program — you’ll never have to worry about embarrassing yourself in public because it’s all at home.
And you’ll never have to worry about your workout counteracting your Kegel work — because it’s completely designed by a certified pelvic floor therapist (that’s me!)
Fit, Strong, Balance Exercise Program is perfect for you if:
- If you want to work out without damaging your pelvic floor and want to STOP experiencing pee leaks, pressure, or pain while working out.
- You know you need to work out more but struggle to find the time
- You want to start seeing results quickly
- You can spare a few square feet of space inside your home to work out. This is an at-home workout that requires no equipment.
- You work in your garden and do housework, but you don’t really devote time to exercise.
The Fit Strong Balance Program is simple to do — and if you follow the exact steps I’ve laid out for you in this routine, and you’re consistent with the program, you’ll be rewarded with a body that will look and feel years younger.
- “Sex Differences in Adaptations in Muscle Strength and Size ….” 17 Dec. 2020, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-020-01388-4.
- “Study highlights need for strength training in older women to ward ….” 23 Apr. 2018, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180423125107.htm.
- “How can strength training build healthier bodies as we age?.” 30 Jun. 2022, https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/how-can-strength-training-build-healthier-bodies-we-age.
- “The effect of resistance training on health-related quality of life in ….” 23 Jan. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6377696/.
- “Resistance training of peripheral muscles benefits respiratory ….” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167494322001868.
- “The effects of progressive resistance training on bone density.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9927006/.
- “Bone mineral density is increased after a 16-week resistance ….” https://eje.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/eje/175/6/571.xml.
- “Effects of one year of resistance training on the relation between ….” https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/34/1/18.
- “Effects of Resistance Exercise on Bone Health – PMC – NCBI.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6279907/.
- “Effects of resistance training in healthy older people with sarcopenia.” 11 Nov. 2021, https://eurapa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s11556-021-00277-7.
- “Effects of 16 Weeks of Resistance Training on Muscle Quality and ….” 23 Jun. 2021, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8267934/.
- “Protein Consumption and the Elderly: What Is the Optimal Level of ….” 8 Jun. 2016, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4924200/.
- “Protein Requirements and Recommendations for Older People – NCBI.” 14 Aug. 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4555150/.
- Urinary incontinence in elite nulliparous athletes. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 84(2), 183-187 Nygaard, I. E., Thompson, F. L., Sviggum, H., & Albright, J. P. (1994).
The information provided on this blog is intended for general knowledge and educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this blog. The author and publisher of this blog are not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of any suggestions, products, or procedures mentioned in this blog.