Getting Fit Over 40 – Easy To Follow Fitness Plan
Losing weight after 40 was a much harder task for me than it was with 20 and i’m sure it won’t be any different for you. You’ve probably heard phrases like ‘twenty is the new forty’, right? Well, yes and no. It’s true that with scientific advances in health, nutrition and exercise, you can look, feel and be better at forty than ever before! People are living not just longer lives, but healthier, fitter more active lives as well. A good health, fitness and diet program plays a big role in that.
However, that doesn’t mean that a forty year old can, or even should, train exactly the same way that a twenty year old would train. This doesn’t mean you can’t workout hard at or after 40, or do a lot of the same exercises and routines you might have done when you were twenty. It also doesn’t mean you can’t get into better shape than you were in ten, fifteen, twenty years ago. But for most of us, getting incredibly fit at forty years old will require some different strategies and techniques than getting fit at twenty.
Getting fit over 40 is a little different than it was when you were 20 and what you might have done then, doesn’t mean that it will work now..
Let’s take a look at how to get fit after 40 and how you can get in shape. Below are some simple ideas you can put into your health and fitness program to set yourself up for big time success so you start getting carded at the liquor store and you can enjoy the expression on the cashier’s face when they see that you’re forty-four!
Simple Workouts & Fitness Plan to Get Fit Over 40
Warming up before any exercise session has always been important. But let’s face it, when you’re younger you can get away with skimping on, or skipping altogether, the warm up and most people do. But as you age, all those skipped warm up sessions come back to bite you and your body needs the time to get primed and ready for each workout session. You can’t just jump into heavy bench presses, sprinting, or intense body weight training.
Warming up doesn’t just mean doing lighter sets of specific exercises, like the bench press, before doing your intense work sets. It means warming up your entire body and getting the muscles loose and warm and ready for more intense training. It also means doing specific exercises on non-training days as well. A proper warm up does help to improve your workout performance while also helping to prevent any injuries (very important as you age). However, it also means working on joint mobility, as well as dynamic mobility and self- myofascial release, more commonly known as foam rolling.
Foam rolling helps to improve tissue quality and get those painful knots out that we all feel, especially in our legs and especially as we age. It’s important to do the self myofascial release every day. If you haven’t done foam rolling before, it can be very painful initially, at least in certain areas, such as the quadriceps and the IT bands. However, the more you do it, the less painful it will get because your tissue quality will be improving.
Here are the areas you’ll want to hit with foam rolling:
- Hip Flexors and Quadriceps (inner and outer)
- IT Band
- Chest and Shoulder
Initially you may not be able to apply a lot of pressure because of the pain but that will get easier over time. How much time you spend on each area becomes personal based on your own problem areas. A good place to start is twenty to thirty seconds of good rolling on each area. You can work up to a minute per area, if you need it, but thirty seconds should be adequate. Sometimes you may spend a lot more time on a one area because of a tough knot that you need to work on. Below is a video which will show you how to do foam rolling the correct way:
Once you complete your foam rolling, it’s on to some joint mobility exercises. Some great joint mobility exercises include the upper back extension on a foam roller, shoulder mobilization with a stick, split squats, lateral squats, wall slides and leg swings.
You can do joint mobility exercises on their own first or just include them in a solid full body warm up with body weight and dynamic mobility exercises. One example warm up might look like the following:
Wall Slides x 8
Hip Extensions (4 x 5 seconds each)
Lateral Squat x 8
Front to Back Leg Swings x 12 (per leg)
Alternate Front Lunge (6 per side)
Push Ups x 8
Mountain Climbers x 20 reps total
Jumping Jacks x 20 reps
Once you’re fully warmed up, it’s on to a bit of strength training. Really? Yes, really! And even for women! Strength training is crucial for everyone but especially when it comes to weight loss over 40. The bottom line, whether you are male or female, if your goal is getting fit after 40, you need to strength train.
Strength training is one of the most effective and most overlooked tools around when it comes to weight loss, especially at 40 plus. People hear strength training and they think about Olympic lifters, or powerlifting competitions, or pro bodybuilders. But that’s not it at all.
Once you hit age 25, your body starts to lose muscle mass, unless you are performing strength training. When you lose muscle mass, your body starts to take on that unhealthy skinny fat look. More importantly, your metabolism slows down. So if your goal is weight loss when your older, it’s going to be very difficult if you aren’t doing some form of strength training. Strength training helps you to retain muscle mass, which is metabolically active so it keeps your metabolism revving once you get past 40, instead of slowing down like it does for most people. It’s very difficult to lose weight over 40 if you aren’t doing some type of strength training.
Everything you do starts with strength. See how some older people struggle to get out of a low chair? It’s not that they are old, it’s that they’ve lost muscle mass and strength because they don’t do any strength training. Being stronger makes everything you do in your every day life a lot easier.
So, you’ll be carrying less weight because you’ll lose fat, and you’ll be stronger, making life a lot easier for you to handle.
Strength training doesn’t mean bench pressing 300 pounds with crazy intensity. You don’t even have to train to failure. Keep things simple. Use three basic exercises like the barbell squat, deadlift and bench press. Do one of them as your first exercise on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Perform 3 sets of 5 reps per set, with two minutes of rest between sets. Don’t go to failure. If you can’t get 5 reps on the third and final set, lower the weight for the next workout. If the last set of 5 starts to get a little easy and you feel you could do 7 or 8 reps, add a little weight for the next workout. Below is a video which will show you an example of home strength training you can start doing today.
Once you’ve done your strength training, perform 15 to 20 minutes of some type of interval training, such as a bodyweight circuit or on a stationary bike. On the bike you could do intervals such as 30 seconds of high intensity pedaling followed by 30 seconds of slow recovery pedaling.
Or you could perform bodyweight intervals – 30 seconds of exercise followed by 30 seconds of rest.
Bodyweight Squat – 2 rounds (so two rounds of 30/30)
Push Ups – 2 rounds
Jumping Jacks – 4 rounds
Mountain Climbers – 4 rounds
Split Squats 4 rounds (alternate sides)
That’s 16 minutes.
Recovery: A Very Important Step for All Workout & Fitness Activities at 40+
The final step for fitness after 40 is to make sure you recover. Every four to six weeks, take a week off from any type of resistance training, whether with weights or bodyweight. For that week, stick to a simple activity like walking or playing a sport.
You can also cut back on the length of your workouts. Even a 4 minute interval workout can be very effective. Or you can take more days off. Don’t try hitting an intense workout four or five days in a row. Your body can’t recover as quickly as it did when you were 20.
If you keep these fitness tips in mind, whether 40, 50, or even 60, you can get in high quality workouts and stay healthy and fit long past the time most people are adding to their waistlines and having trouble getting off the couch.
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