Changing what age you look is extremely difficult. For women, there are a few key traits that can make them look older. Some traits cannot be helped for the most part: wrinkles, hair loss, gray hair, etc. A few of the other characteristics, however, can be mitigated using strength training and proper diet. Before I talk about these factors, I want to make something clear. Doing a little bit of strength training will not make you look like a bodybuilder. Bodybuilders take years to become what they are and frequently employ the use of steroids, highly restrictive diets, and grueling workouts. What happened to them will not happen to you overnight.
The fat around the triceps is frequently noted as a complaint of women. Many have tried to spot reduce this area using diet and exercise without really focusing on the easy and effective solution. Instead of drastically reducing the fat on the arms, it's a lot easier to just make the triceps bigger. Doing presses and bench presses will make your triceps larger, giving them significant muscle tone. Although this may seem simple (and it is), it is the common experience of my female clients in the first few weeks. The fat is still there for the most part, but the increased muscle mass on the triceps have given the underarms a firmness that is noticed in the mirror, by coworkers, and their husbands.
Fat in any location makes someone look older, but no more so than the waist and the face. Everyone has seen the 25-year old that looks like a mid-30s, and a 35-year old that looks like a mid-40s because of their excess fat. While strength training alone won't take you from 250lb to 150lb, strength training on top of controlling your diet (which is the most important thing for fat loss) will certainly help. While you're losing fat, you'll be building the muscle beneath. As a side benefit, as more and more of the fat comes off, toned muscle from the strength training with show through and give the look of strength, vitality, and youth.
Having loose skin, in general, will give someone the impression of looking older especially in the neck area. Reducing loose skin can be done, again, by filling in the space with bigger muscle. You're not going to want to deliberately train the neck muscles with some sort of neck machine, but the bench press and the deadlift will make the neck muscles bigger and reduce the look of loose neck skin.
Perhaps the most obvious sign of older age is frailty. When you think of what an old woman looks like, what do you envision? Most likely, it's a short, thin woman who shuffles from room to room or has a walker. She asks the nice teenage bagger to help her put her groceries in her car. She may have trouble getting up the stairs or even needs a machine to drive her up the stairs. These are obviously caricatures, but there is some truth to the perception. A woman deadlifting her bodyweight for a set of three is not and does not look frail. She does not need help taking her groceries to the car, and she likely does not need a walker. She is independent, mentally and physically strong, and while her weaker counterparts are just as alive as her, her quality of life is superior.
The common factors in solving these problems are increased strength, increased muscle mass, and reduced fat. All three of these can be directly or indirectly accomplished with strength training. You might think that you'll need to do strength training for years to see these effects, but in fact, depending on your current situation, you'll likely see results in the first week or two assuming the correct exercises are being done. If you don't like the age you appear and want to look younger, take a look at these indicators (frailty, loose skin, big waist, flabby arms), see if they apply to you, and give strength training a try.
Email or call me anytime, and I'll be more than happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have at no cost. I want to help you achieve your fitness goals, and a conversation over the phone or through the internet is something I'm more than willing to do to help someone make their life better.