Fit After 40: Because Age is Just a Number
If you’re close to hitting the big 4-0 or already have, you may know staying fit is not as easy as it used to be. But achieving health and fitness goals is possible at any age. It just may take a little more work to stay fit after 40.
The challenge of staying fit after 40
So why is staying fit after 40 a challenge for many people? In part, you can blame it on biology. According to the Mayo Clinic, muscle mass gradually decreases as you get older, and metabolism slows. Hormones can also fluctuate, which may lead to weight gain.
But that’s not all. It’s common for people in their 40s to be juggling work, family responsibilities, and demanding schedules. Exercising and eating right often take a back seat to meetings, carpool, and working hard to pay the bills.
Staying fit and healthy is important at any age, but as you get older, being out of shape has consequences beyond how you look. Excess weight puts you at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Lack of exercise can also increase your chances of developing weak bones.
The reality might sound grim, but it doesn’t have to be. The first step may involve being honest about your current fitness level. Are donuts and soda the only thing you have been lifting lately? Or maybe the last time you worked out was when legwarmers were trendy. No worries. There are several things you can do to get and stay in shape.
Getting fit at 40 and beyond
Getting fit after 40 is going to take a plan and consistency. Find exercises you enjoy, so you’ll stick with it. One option to consider is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT involves alternating between bursts of high-intensity exercise, followed by recovery periods where activity is lighter. HIIT burns calories fast, builds endurance, and gives your metabolism a boost.
Strength training is also a must to incorporate into a fitness program after 40. Whether you do free weight training at the gym with barbells, use dumbbells at home, or perform body weight exercises, strength training can combat muscle loss as you age.
Don’t overlook changing nutritional needs
Nutrition plays a role in getting and staying fit at every age. But after 40, there are a few changes to consider. For example, since metabolism slows as the body ages, you may have to slightly decrease the total number of calories you eat. It’s also important to limit foods high in saturated and trans fats from your diet since they can contribute to heart disease which becomes more of a concern.
Also pay special attention to nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, and magnesium. Omega 3 fatty acids are thought to decrease bad cholesterol. Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure, and calcium is needed to keep your bones strong.
Precautions when starting a fit after 40 program
If you have any medical conditions, get the green light from your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Start slowly and build up to higher intensity workouts.
As our bodies age, it’s a little easier to get injured, especially if you’re a rookie when it comes to working out. Make sure to use good form when lifting weights. Give yourself enough recovery time between workouts. Also, adding a few flexibility and balance exercises will help you stay agile. Investing in the services of a personal trainer is a great idea and can help you get maximum benefit from your workouts while minimizing the risk of injury.
While aging is inevitable, being unfit does not have to be. Remember, you don’t have to put limits on yourself just because you’re in your 40s or beyond.
Interested in staying fit and healthy in your 40s, 50s, and beyond? The personal trainers at Elite Triangle Fitness can design and guide you through an individualized personal training program that’s right for your needs. Call us for a free consultation today!