Trying to get in shape after 40 can be a real catch 22.
As your body ages, it can’t handle intensive workouts the way it did when you were 20.
It feels as though you’ll never make any noticeable progress at a slow and gentle pace. Many of us give up on exercise completely, which only makes us more out of shape.
I’m not going to lie, exercise can be hard on your body as you get older. While it’s not impossible for your muscles and joints to stay in good condition as you age, most older people have more frequent aches and pains, plus a higher chance of injury.
Older men and women have decreasing bone density and connective tissues that are less pliant and sturdy. Loss of muscle mass also begins around age 30 and continues for the rest of your life. Because of this, it is very important that you tailor your exercise program to your own body.
This is not an excuse to stop exercising as you get older. It simply means that you need to put some thought into your routine. There are hundreds of workouts designed to go easy on aging muscles and joints. You have plenty of choice. Let’s start with some of the basics when it comes to choosing an exercise plan that will make you feel fitter and younger.
1. Stay Hydrated
Older adults have a harder time staying hydrated. As we age, our bodies aren’t able to conserve water as well. Another strange change is that we don’t feel thirst to the same extent as younger people.
You can see why it’s doubly important to drink enough water before, during, and after exercise. Dehydration can take a toll on almost all of your body systems, reducing your stamina and making you feel older.
2. Choose Low Impact Exercises
Some types of exercise can be particularly hard on your body. For example, running takes a toll on your knees and back. Most forms of repetitive cardio cause serious stress on your joints.
That’s not to say that there’s no place for these high impact exercises in a fitness routine for older people. Science has found that these types of exercises help strengthen bones and joints. The key is to practice them in moderation to prevent injury. Strength training is crucial for older people to retain their muscle, bone, and joint health.
3. Take Frequent Breaks
It’s important to take breaks during exercise at any age, however it becomes a crucial part of your exercise routine as you get older. Overexerting yourself won’t do anything but make you feel exhausted rather than revitalized.
Science has shown that taking breaks during exercise helps your body to burn fat more effectively. The best technique is to engage in a short exercise session, take a break, then get back to your workout.
4. Don’t Fall For the Latest Trends
As is always the case where diet and exercise are concerned, the latest trend isn’t necessarily the best one to follow. These trends were most likely designed to make the creator a quick buck without taking into account the health needs of older people.
5. Don’t Stop, Keep Exercising
Breaks during exercise are okay, but when it comes to skipping your planned workout session completely, this is rarely a good idea.
The harsh truth is that it will be significantly more difficult to get your body back into shape ten years from now than it is today. If you don’t keep your body in shape now, in ten years your strength and health may have declined to the point where exercising is no longer an option.
I don’t mean to scare you but physical activity is crucial to seniors. The best way to be able to engage in healthy exercises as a senior is to take care of your body during middle age.
6. Use High Quality Equipment
Along with avoiding fad diet and exercise plans, it’s equally important to stay away from cheap, gimmicky workout equipment. As I’ve already mentioned, injuries happen more easily with age and the required recovery time and tissue damage can put a halt to your exercise plan, making your body feel older for months afterwards.
Final Thoughts on Getting In Shape Later In Life
I think the points above have shown that getting in shape after 40 is far from impossible. With a bit of planning and some expert advice, you can create an exercise plan that will help you improve your fitness and health for years to come.