Fitness should be a priority during every stage of life for everyone. However, especially given hormonal shifts that occur in the later stages of a woman's life, there are a host of considerations to think about in terms of fitness goals and strategies. Here are just a few of the ways that women can focus on their health to age gracefully and stay fit and healthy.

The 40s:

In a woman's 40s, it's especially important to make sure that we're not experiencing muscle loss. Decline in muscle strength becomes more rapid around the age of 40 and, if not addressed, this decline can continue at about five pounds of muscle per decade. The good news is that studies show that this loss is totally preventable, given a steady regime of strength and resistance training four-to-five times a week.

The 50s:

Menopause usually occurs in a woman's fifties, although it can occur earlier or later. No one is quite sure why, but after menopause, women's risk of cardiovascular disease increases exponentially. The good news is that if you keep moving, your risk will remain low, and there will be plenty of other perks to boot!

Tags: fitness, older women fitness, muscle loss, strength, resistance, cardiovascular disease