The 4 Aspects of a Healthy and Effective Exercise After 40
1 – Quit overeating to build mass
After some time, your body is no longer as efficient at burning calories. Your metabolism drops and it gets harder to build muscle. What is getting easier, however, is putting on fat. The mistake that many people make is paying more attention to the number on the scale rather than to body composition.
Your joints have been through a lot more wear and tear compared to a younger individual. They’ll appreciate having to support less weight. There will definitely be times when you wish you didn’t have so much weight to put pressure on your joints. Your body will become stiffer and if you enjoy activities like running, hiking, cycling, boating, and other such things that require carrying around your own body weight, you’ll appreciate having less to handle. Stop overeating to build mass. Keep your diet simple and nutritious. Get in your proteins and eat lots of vegetables – you need the fiber and the vitamins!
2 – Include more stretching and mobility work
You may have performed perfectly well without any stretching when you were younger, but those days are gone. It’s important for you to spend time recovering from exercise and making sure your muscles, ligaments, and joints are flexible. Since your body stiffens up with age, you need to keep working on your range of motion to ensure you can move around easily later on with age. Take touching your toes, for instance. It may seem a bit much, but being able to touch your toes is actually the normal range of motion you should be able to reach.
You don’t want to limit the activities you can enjoy because you don’t have a full range of motion. Make sure you include passive and dynamic stretching to reset your nervous system and keep you mobile. This will also help your body to relax and prepare you for another training session!
3 – Incorporate cardio into your workout routine
Cardiovascular disease becomes more of a concern as you grow older. It’s important that you take care of your heart health to enjoy more years. It’s important to note that if your eating habits aren’t right and you’ve been indulging in way too much of what isn’t good for you, heavy strength training could actually do more harm than good. Blood pressure rises as you control your breathing during heavy lifts. If your heart isn’t ready to deal with the pressure, it may quit on you. Avoid landing yourself in the hospital by making cardio a part of your workout routine. This will not only strengthen your heart but will help to relax your body and your nervous system, making you feel less stressed.
4 – Minimize compressive movements
Your spine has been keeping you upright for decades. It isn’t going to appreciate heavy, compressive loads frequently being placed upon it. You don’t necessarily have to cut deadlifts out of your workout routine (unless your back deems it necessary), but it’s good to minimize it. Try training deadlifts every other week. You could even swap them with other hinge movements such as kettlebell swings which will put less pressure on your spine.
The same is true for squats. Squats are an excellent compound movement and are highly recommended for the general lifter. As you age, however, you may find the ache in your quads after leg day lasts longer than before. Your joints and knees may be protesting more than usual as well. While muscles are able to recover after being damaged, joints don’t heal as well. After they’ve taken a beating, they’ll never truly be the same. You’ll have to accept that at some point, you won’t be able to train the same way you used to. Take it easy when you need to and try to swap heavy movements for ones that are lighter on your joints. Your body will thank you when you are able to avoid injury. If you feel the need to take a day off, do so and don’t feel bad about it. One off day is better than months off because of injury.
About the Author
Jack of all trades... master of none! Father of 3 awesome boys, husband to 1 amazing wife! Obstacle racer, procrastinator, computer nerd, trying not to follow the herd!