An active lifestyle can prolong health and youth. After 40, you can and should go in for sports. You just need to consider some age nuances, which we will tell you about in this article.
The changes associated with aging are inevitable. What happens to our bodies when we cross the line of the fifties?
• The indicator of muscle mass falls. This is due to a less mobile way of life and slower movements.
• But the indicator of fat mass, on the contrary, is growing. And the less active movements, the more fat accumulation in the body.
• The flexibility of the body decreases, so do not neglect stretching after 40 years.
• Bones become more fragile, and the body needs additional calcium.
• There are negative dynamics in movements’ accuracy due to the uneven strength of various muscles (for example, the muscles on the right limb are more developed than on the left).
All these changes are inevitable, but they can be slowed down so that the body stays healthy, strong, and beautiful longer.
The benefits of sports for those over 40
Why can and should I go in for sports after 40 years? What are the benefits of regular exercise for the body?
• Certain exercises can have a positive effect on the flexibility of joints and ligaments.
• Strength exercises will strengthen the muscles, which will better support the bones and the entire musculoskeletal system and protect it from injury.
• Muscle strength will have a positive effect on the accuracy of the movements.
• Cardio training contributes to the development of endurance, has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, and increases the body’s overall tone.
• Regular exercise can help you lose weight and prolong youth.
• Exercise helps you deal with spine and joint problems.
Results will not belong incoming if you follow the correct training system after 40.
The specificity of training after 40 years
It is quite clear that training at 40 in the same way as at 20 will not work. Here, extreme care is required to avoid injuries, the risk of which is increased by the changes above in the body. Here are some things to watch out for:
• The training program should be designed according to the indicators of gender, age, height and weight, level of physical fitness, individual characteristics of the body, and suffered injuries or diseases.
• The main goals of the classes should be to improve the condition of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, strengthen the heart muscle, increase the amount of muscle mass in the body, reduce fat, increase endurance, strengthen joints, and improve flexibility.
• The load and training frequency should be increased gradually, regardless of whether the person has trained before.
• Exercise should include doing cardio (aerobic exercise). The intensity should not be high to avoid shortness of breath. Examples of cardio training include cycling, jogging, brisk walking, swimming, stair walking, dancing. For this purpose, you can use exercise equipment that is safe for this age, such as a treadmill, exercise bike, orbitrek (elliptical trainer), or a stepper.
• It is imperative to devote time to stretching, increasing the flexibility of joints and ligaments, increasing muscle elasticity.
• Also, do not forget about training to improve balance and coordination of movements. Pilates or yoga are ideal choices at this age.
• Strength (anaerobic) training should also be part of an active lifestyle. Their intensity should be medium; in rare cases – high, exercise speed should be medium. If it is not possible to go to the gym, then at home, you can perform strength exercises with dumbbells, weights, wall bars, or a special bench installation.
• It is essential to follow your exercise technique to avoid injuries and strains. Therefore, before starting training, it is necessary to consult with a trainer, and in the case of practicing at home, perform exercises in front of a mirror.
• Recovery after training is the key to the correct course of the entire healing process. It includes proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and muscle relaxation, for example, in the form of massage (this can be either a trip to a specialist or buying a personal massager for all parts of the body).
The number of approaches in one workout can be different – it all depends on your physical fitness level. The optimal solution is to hire a personal trainer who will select an individual program and monitor the correctness of the technique. The rest between sets should be long enough to avoid shortness of breath or muscle cramps and cramps. Once every 2-3 months, the training program must be changed so that the body does not adapt to the stress, and the progress does not stop. Include all muscle groups in work without focusing only on specific areas. Combine strength and cardio workouts.
Fitness myths for those over 40
Unfortunately, many people over the age of 40 forget about the need for regular sports and training. Because of this, there are many myths and misconceptions around fitness for those over 40. We decided to dispel the most important of them to understand why the sport is necessary and how to do it right.
Myth # 1: Any physical exercise strengthens muscles.
Fact: Fitness activities like Pilates and stretching are great for developing and maintaining flexibility, but they don’t impact muscle building.
Myth # 2: Strength training can help you lose weight.
Fact: Anaerobic fitness helps build muscle that is heavier than fat. Weight can, on the contrary, increase, although there will be less body fat. For weight loss, cardio (aerobic) training is more appropriate.
Myth number 3: older adults find it challenging to work with dumbbells and weights.
Fact: if you increase the load gradually, starting from 1.5-2 kg, then over time, you can bring it up to 4-5 kg and even more. The same applies to machines with additional weights. The main thing is to adhere to the correct exercise technique so as not to get injured.
Myth # 4: Swimming is the most suitable option for people over 40.
Fact: For swimming to bring maximum benefits and the desired result, you need to spend about 2 hours in the pool, while continuously swimming in different styles. Not everyone can devote this amount of time and energy. Therefore, swimming is best perceived as a pleasant and beneficial addition to basic training.
Myth # 5: If you are tired during your workout, you must stop exercising.
Fact: Feeling tired is a sign of training effectiveness. It is worth stopping if you feel unwell, you feel dizzy, nauseous, severe local pain, or find it difficult to breathe. Common fatigue is just a factor to be overcome.
Sport is useful at any age, and after 40 years, it is merely necessary. The main thing is to approach training correctly and carefully to avoid injuries associated with age-related changes.
Dad pumped up
To cross the threshold of a sports hall for the first time when you are already in your fifties is a real test. A feeling of insecurity, embarrassment, puzzled looks of others … However, the daredevils who decide to experiment will be rewarded in full and will then be able to admire their fit figure in the mirror every day. Unexpectedly, 45-year-old Patrick McAlinan became a fitness fanatic.
According to Patrick, training is much more difficult for a 40-year-old than for a 20-year-old. After exercise, muscles need more time to recover, excess weight is reduced more slowly, and more effort is required to build muscle. But the result is worth it.
Until recently, Patrick looked pretty average. He was never distinguished by relief muscles, worked in an office, did not play sports. But he completely changed in just six weeks, following a particular program.
Had to sweat
First of all, to overcome the inner barrier and understand how to approach the machine, Patrick hired a fitness trainer. This is not a cheap pleasure, but otherwise, nothing will come of it. Patrick has an ectomorphic body type: narrow in the shoulders, relatively thin. This type of person has difficulty gaining muscle mass. This means that work with heavyweights is necessary and, accordingly, good technique, which cannot be obtained without an instructor.
In addition to pulling iron, Patrick also does circuit training for all muscle groups and cardio series. So it gets rid of body fat and increases endurance.
Money in the body
The trainer calls his system “time under tension.” This refers to the seconds when the muscles are tense. “Either your body weight is used, or additional resistance is involved. I combine different methods and achieve hypertrophy [muscle growth] much faster than during regular training,” he explains.
Another new expense item for Patrick is sports nutrition: proteins, creatine, vitamins, etc. The high-protein diet has helped to gain muscle mass and recover faster after exercise. It was not easy when meeting with friends who didn’t deny themselves anything, but Patrick understood: there would be no result without a diet.
Health on a plate
On weekdays, it isn’t easy to keep track of your diet. While cooking healthy meals does not involve much culinary skill, it is time-consuming. Therefore, Patrick began ordering food through a specialized service, making sure to provide himself with the necessary amount of calories and micronutrients to gain muscle mass.
According to Patrick, such a service is expensive and can be done without it. Fitness aficionados usually carve out time on Sundays, preparing countless food containers and smoothies for the week ahead.
Patrick understands that regular gym attendance and a strict diet are not for everyone. However, he is ready to stick to his routine in 10 and 20 years. The fantastic result inspires him that he achieved in just a month and a half.
Theo Pettaras, 53, from Sydney, has accomplished a similar feat. Despite being busy, the Australian entrepreneur found time to improve his health.
Inspired by the example of his wife’s friend who lost weight, he managed to lose 20 kilograms, gaining muscle. Now he sticks to a healthy diet and goes to the gym five times a week, giving himself no indulgences.
Salad rushes to the rescue.
A person, even with ingrained habits, can change for the better. 40-year-old Australian Luke Baileys founded a chain of restaurants that prepare healthy salads and rolls in flat cakes. He was motivated to do this because after moving to Chicago to work in an IT company, he gained 50 kilograms in four years. On a foreign mainland, he ate exclusively fast food and was steadily getting fat.