Working out after 40. It kind of sucks when you start noticing that your body is changing. I mean, we all went through it when we were young, but then we became adults and that should be it, right?
Women in their 20s and even 30s can generally eat a little bit less and exercise a little bit more and their weight balances out. As you age, you might find that all of this becomes much harder. The good news is that you can absolutely get fit and lose weight as you age. It just takes a different approach.
WORKING OUT AFTER 40
WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BODY?
- Your muscles keep growing until the age of roughly 30 and after that you start to lose muscle (sarcopenia).
- If you live a sedentary lifestyle then the muscle deterioration happens faster.
- Over time, your balance and coordination start to decline.
- After 30, you lose muscle fibers and your body doesn’t respond as quickly.
- With a decrease in enzymes and protein turnover your muscles don’t heal as fast.
- Your appearance changes with the loss of muscle and general elasticity. Since your muscles often get replaced by fat and fat takes up more room, you may start to look bigger.
Now that you want to curl up into a small ball and just stay that way, all is not lost. It’s not even that tough to maintain (or regain) your health and fitness levels.
Keep Moving. This doesn’t mean that you should start exercising more or even harder but rather, it’s about exercising smarter, paying closer attention to how your muscles are responding and your diet.
Functional Training. The basic definition of functional training is to perform exercises that will strengthen the muscles for the movements that you perform in your everyday life. Think about a simple movement like putting away a plate. You need to keep your shoulders strong to lift the plate and your abs and back strong for support. Workouts based on Pilates exercises are always a good bet. Read: WHAT IS PILATES
Use Weights. Remember that the more muscles you have, the more you’ll slow down the signs of age related weight gain. Sure, you can do a workout without using weights, but exercises with added resistance will go a long way to helping you stay fit.
You can also do an entire workout using resistance bands. You can find a total body workout here: THERABAND WORKOUT
Stretch. You’ll absolutely want to focus more on your flexibility and the best way to do this is to adopt a regular stretching routine that you do several times a week, if not every day. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated, but the benefits are far too important to ignore. You’ll find that your mobility and balance will improve and in addition, it will help keep injuries at bay.
- While static stretching (where you hold your stretch for up to a minute) can feel great, remember you should only do it when you are warmed up post workout. Read: HOW IMPORTANT IS A WARMUP
- Dynamic stretching is great if you are short on time and it can be substituted for a workout. Try adding walking lunges, arm circles or squats to your regular workout.
You can also try a dance based workout. This ballet inspired one is easy enough to do at home and will leave you with a toned lower body and improved posture. Read: BALLET INSPIRED LEG WORKOUT
Foam Roller. A foam roller can be your best ally for releasing tight muscles and easing joint pain.
Watch this video for a full foam roller overview:
For a more complete overview of how to become more flexible read: HOW TO INCREASE FLEXIBILITY
The other important component to staying healthy as we age is, of course, diet. What worked in your 20s and even 30s may not be what’s best for you as you hit your 40s and beyond.
- Be patient. The basics, calories in calories out, remain the same, but it is harder to lose weight as you get older. Slow and steady wins the race, so instead of dieting focus on eating mindfully.
- Eliminate underlining health issues. find out if you have any food allergies/sensitivities or any hormonal imbalances like an under active thyroid, as they could be impeding weight loss.
- Improve your eating habits. As little as a 100 calorie surplus a day (think a large apple) can cause a 9-10 lbs weight gain over the course of a year.
- Don’t deprive yourself. Focus on a healthier approach to food. Instead of dieting, allow yourself the luxury of enjoying your food in moderation.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep is an important piece of the weight loss puzzle and a key ingredient in keeping your metabolism revved up.
Read the full article: LOSING WEIGHT IN YOUR 40s