With the ever-changing times, the once commonly perceived notion that people after 40 should slow down has changed. Nowadays, thanks to people like Dara Torres, Randy Couture and George Foreman, who have shown that it’s possible to stay active at a high level even as you get on in years, we don’t see age as a barrier to playing sports anymore.
However, we can’t lie to ourselves. If you haven’t been active in your 20’s, chances are you won’t be much different when you’re over 40. As you age, so does your body. It will take longer to build muscle, the body will recover more slowly, and to see a drastic change, you need to put in more effort. But it’s possible – and this is how you can do it.
Bear in Mind You’re Not 20 Anymore 😢
The first step towards leading a fit life once you’re 40 or older is to be realistic about what you can and cannot do. You aren’t 20 anymore, so you should cut yourself some slack. If you are tired after a long day at work or have other things to take care of, you shouldn’t stress about hitting the gym that particular day. There is plenty of time for gym – just don’t get lazy.
Balance Is in the 3 Bs: Bend, Build and Breathe
Working out should be a mix of the three Bs. You should always stretch, as flexibility is an important factor when working out; you should build muscle by doing strength training and you should sweat a little too (a.k.a. do cardio exercises). All of these are important, no matter how much you might disregard the need of stretching.
You can easily summarize this as three simple rules:
- Stretch every workout session.
- Split the time you allocate to muscle building and fitness exercises evenly.
- Only do one hard session of strength and cardio per week.
Furthermore, having a balanced and healthy diet helps more than you think. Remember that if you want to get fit, everything starts in the kitchen.
Approach Strength Training Correctly
Strength training is a good way to proceed after you finish stretching. Try picking two exercises that go well together. For example, you could go for one of these pairs: front squats and Romanian deadlifts, front squats and pull-ups, deadlifts and presses, or presses and pull-ups.
You should aim to repeat each exercise for three to five sets of three to five reps. In addition, if you have a day when you feel like working out extra, challenge yourself by adding a few extra sets.
Don’t Neglect the Cardio Exercises
Similarly to how you approach strength training, you should cycle between easier and more difficult cardio exercises. There are many activities you can perform, which will work wonders on your health (and weight).
If you are not a fan of jogging, you could opt for cycling, skiing, swimming or even rowing. Since you can do all of these activities outside, you get the added benefits of vitamin D and fresh air.
Try to alternate three days of strength with three days of cardio exercises, and in due time, you will be in great shape. The secret to remaining fit after 40 is getting used to being active daily.