CW: mention of diets and quoting of bogus articles’ judgy and false statements about body sizes and ages and (oddly enough) heights.
I don’t necessarily hate internet exercise advice; often I can pick and choose the good stuff from the bin of otherwise useless or ill-fitting or totally-not-for-me tips, and go about my merry way.
Not today, though.
Why not today? I came across (courtesy of Sam), a pair of totally bogus 2019 exercise articles:
An exercise guide to get a 40-year-old woman fit (I kid you not on the title); AND…
How do short women stay in shape? (their tone of incredulity was, at the very least, surprising)
First of all, what’s with the titles? The first one seems to be enlisting unnamed third parties for rounding up the 40-year-old women and subjecting them to fitness-inducing procedures. Thank goodness I’m no longer 40 is all I have to say about that.
Of course that’s not true; I have a lot more to say about that.
And the second article– is it curious that such a thing (namely, short women “staying in shape” — ew!) is possible? Or is there a darker tone of skepticism here?
Moving on… I have to tell you, these writers really know how to hit you with the lede. Here’s the over-40 article opener:
If you’re a 40-year-old woman who wants to get in shape, it’s crucial to do workouts that are targeted to your changing body and slowed metabolism levels. As you age, it’s normal to experience muscle loss, stubborn belly fat and reduced energy levels (hurrah, getting older!).
It’s a miracle I had the energy to keep reading.
The short-women article opens with encouragement:
Every woman should strive to stay in shape, no matter her height.
Well, that’s a new twist on fitspo. Then, there’s some carefully couched phrasing about exercise and eating (did they call in the lawyers on this?):
In general, shorter women will need to aim for a lower weight than taller women, which may mean that you need to exercise more or eat less than they do.
Both articles start from the premise that “getting fit” (which also means for them getting thin) is going to be, at best, a grim uphill battle, involving lots of hard workouts and very restricted eating. Both articles make false statements about how exercise will help reduce belly fat (BO-GUS!) and how exercise will result in lowered body weights (DOUBLE BO-GUS!).
The worst part of the getting-women-over-40-fit article is this: it assumes that 40-something women aren’t or can’t or wouldn’t otherwise be athletes, or physically active, or functionally able to do all sorts of vigorous sports and activities. So it offers a grim regime of exercises, all aimed at staving off the dreaded belly fat. This makes me sad.
Luckily, none of what that article says is true or necessary. We of the over-40 women’s roundup group have loads of fun activities open to us. Just look at our blog for ideas. Or these recent pictures of me (in my mid-50s) attempting all sorts of moving-around-things:
Can all sorts of activities be done over 40? Yes.
Will there be belly fat? Yes, probably.
Does that inhibit movement and render one incapable of activity? No.
You know what? I’m going to go out on a high note here and not talk about the short-women screed. Okay, I can’t resist sharing this one totally bogus tidbit:
Short women will do well in Ashtanga yoga, which requires you to move from pose to pose in the space of one breath to the next. Your compact shape will enable you to move in and out of poses more quickly than taller women.
I’ve taken a lot of yoga classes, and must say I don’t recall shorter colleagues moving in a blur around me. If you are either a) shorter and move with ninja speed; or b) have witnessed examples of a), please do share your story with us.