to slow down once you’ve reached 40. Believe it or not, it’s always a good time to become fit, even when you are a middle-aged Netflix addict with a sedentary full time job. Fitness after 40 is possible.
That being said, we need to be more honest. We need to recognize the simple fact that at 40 or older, we aren’t go to be better than when we were at 20. There are certain limitations that aging put on us biologically speaking. The first step in becoming physically fit is understanding the multiple age-related factors: heart, lung and muscle strength. When you’re over 40, your ability to train, your reaction time, your joint mobility will likely not as they once were. So do your ability to recover, strength, endurance and coordination.
At 40 or older, if you’ve just had a bad day at work, or too tense and anxious about your daughter’s test, then it’s not really a good time to go full throttle in the gym. Get some work in, sure, but don’t do intense stuff. Mentally and physically, it’s not recommended. Decreased joint motion, coordination and flexibility contribute greatly to the narrowing of ease of movement, and it’s shown even clearer when you’re tired. With lack of ease of movement, risks of injuries can even be higher, and you don’t want that.
But it’s not all doom and gloomy town, as long as you are conscious about your age. As humans, we adapt. We can make our workouts adapt too.
Space Your Sessions
This is one of the most crucial things you need to remind yourself of all the time. Due to the depleted recovery speed, you need to emphasize recovery more, and that means allowing for more rest time between sessions and just try to ramp up your training gradually and naturally. Spacing your workouts efficiently can help you prepare your body for more specific demands while avoiding fatigue.
You can also use your rest time for yoga, foam rolling or meditating. These will help you both speed up your recovery as well as improving range of motion. Try though to schedule your program optimally so that you can do these while also being on time for your kid’s graduation.
Ease Up Intentionally
Knowing when and how to do high intensity work is of absolute importance to your fitness progress. Balance yourself. If you feel that you could do more high intensity than low intensity, knock yourself out. But consider it very seriously. Try to ask for advises from training experts beforehand.
Don’t go too hard on easy days, meaning days that you feel good mentally and physically for hard work. This is a common mistake older fitness enthusiasts make. Instead, you should be more deliberate in your training. On easy days, focus on what you need to work on and hone specific skills, target specific body muscles.
Train Your Dad Strength, Eat Your Dad Meals
These things both go hand in hand. When we lift weights, we stress the muscles and cause minute damage to muscle tissue, which then makes new proteins to heal. But at 40 years of age or more, our muscles are ready to slurp up even more protein than the amount our body is producing in excess. So to combat this problem, we should increase the protein in our diet.
So tweak your diet and add more protein to it, and your weight training results will be improved and become better. Just how much protein is ideal, and what that protein should consist of and how often should it be consumed, is up to your body state and fitness level. Consult a diet expert first before proceeding.
Try to get in light cardio work every week, be it walking, running, cycling, rowing or swimming. Get outside and breathe some air! It’s one of the most beautiful things in fitness training, being able to positively changing your body for the better with every passing minute while watching the sun rising, listening to Daft Punk or whatever you like blasting on your earphones. A few miles per week will do wonders for your overall health and fitness as well as helping you lose weight.
You’re In This For The Long Haul
If you’ve suffered setbacks in the form of injuries or physical limitations, don’t sweat it out. It’s nothing. It’s normal. What you can do in such situations is instead relax, acknowledge the causes and figure out the solutions. Sometimes there are exercises that are too hard for us at this stage. What to do then? Just not do it. Or reduce the intensity and the reps. Start focusing on what you can perform best more.
As long as you’ve acknowledged that you can’t and won’t become fit over night, and that you might not be able to do some exercises as best as you want, you will succeed. Just keep on the path, heads up and work.