All of us find that our bodies go through changes at various stages in our lives. Changes related to age can be seen after 30, but it really becomes noticeable for those at 40 and over. Getting up off the couch might be more difficult than before. This is why it is important to have regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle, to help slow down the aging process and prevent certain health issues from occurring.
Many purchase expensive products and treatments to help them look and feel younger, but a very simple method that does all of this is exercise. By implementing a healthy exercise routine, you can help to slow down any decline in cognitive behavior, as well as prevent muscle loss related to aging. Exercise is also important on a molecular level by stimulating mitochondrial biogenesis, something that is vital in slowing down the aging process.
Getting the most out of your fitness routine after 40
One of the most difficult things to do when it comes to exercise is to take the first step. You don’t have to jump into a hectic schedule, just start moving, doing something. Once you have begun, you can then tailor your routine to suit your needs.
Flexibility: sometimes overlooked
Flexibility is an important part of fitness and can even be a sort of measure to the level of your health. Studies have been made and it has been found that if you are unable to touch your toes in a seated position (legs straight in front of you), this could indicate a higher risk of developing a heart attack or stroke, as the arteries have started to harden.
The flexibility of a person can be connected to ones:
- Cardio-respiratory health
- Blood Pressure
- General heart health
When you get older, you naturally lose flexibility, if you don’t maintain a regular exercise pattern. This means you increase the chances of injury and it will become harder to move around in general.
There are things you can do to improve your flexibility:
- Using a foam roller
- Have a look at Active Isolated Stretching developed by Aaron Mattes
What is Active Isolated Stretching? Performing stretches, which you then hold for about 2 seconds. The exercises are aimed to work with your body naturally, helping to lengthen the muscles and increase circulation. Since it works with the body, it also allows the body time to repair itself, which then helps you to perform daily physical tasks. Equipment you could use that would help to increase flexibility, includes the Power Plate.
Spend less time doing Cardio after 40
Exercises which require long hours of training and endurance, such as long-distance running, can pose a problem. This type of exertion can put a strain on the heart, which in the future, can become life-threatening.
Some problems that can occur if you exercise incorrectly, too hard and long:
- Acute Volume Overload
- Thickening of the heart muscle
- Calcification of the coronary artery
- Heart arrhythmias
Your body can eventually reach a stage of tissue breakdown (catabolic state). When the body is under stress, it will start to release cortisol, which can then increase the chances of chronic diseases. Overdoing your workout can also create microscopic tears in the muscle, which if you don’t look after, will increase the chances of injury.
Whenever the body is under stress, the immune system is also affected and becomes weaker. The recommended time for exercise should be about 45 minutes. If you find an effective exercise routine, you could even decrease this time and make it even less.
Those who do intense workouts before 30 and after 40, all reap the same benefits. Also, those who exercise definitely have an advantage over those who do not exercise at all. There has been some research done, gathered from participants who were younger than 30 and older than 40. Both these groups participated in an intensive exercise routine where the benefits were recorded.
Both groups had:
- Resting heart rates of 57-58 beats per minute
- Had a higher maximum oxygen uptake
- Improvements in heart function and structure.
Those who did not perform any exercise had an increased resting heart rate of 70 beats per minute. This research was gathered in May 2014 at the EuroPRevent held in Amsterdam.
High-Intensity workouts can be done about four times a week, each intense workout only needs to last for about 4 minutes. This will help your body to better your anaerobic capacity by as much as 28% over a six-week period. In the same period of time, the body can also improve (by 15%) the VO2 max (maximum rate of oxygen consumption during exercise), as well as the maximal aerobic power.
A comparison was made between the high-intensity workout and an hour of cardio, say on a gym bike, also for six weeks. The cardio workout on the bike was done for five times during a week and it found that:
- The VO2 max only improved by 10%
- There was no effect on the anaerobic capacity
High-Intensity Workouts are also known as HIIT workouts and has become very popular in recent years. There are many benefits, as shown above, and can also include improvements in the level of human growth hormone. This hormone is important and can help with issues like muscle loss, which is something that occurs as you age. The production of this hormone, while doing a HIIT workout, can increase up to 771%. You want to see such high levels of this hormone, as it helps to improve your health and strength.
Core Workouts for midlife
When toning and performing exercises, the smallest movements can give you the best results. Exercises like ‘the plank’, are a great way to start. To do this movement, go down onto the floor, lean on your forearms and toes, shoulder length apart. Your body (trunk) should be held straight. Of course, there are easier versions to start out, for example, with the knees on the floor in the same position. Build up this exercise from 30 seconds to one or two minutes. It will help to build strong core muscles, which will help to improve your overall strength, balance, and posture.
This exercise also helps to improve and stretch the muscles in the back and shoulders. Also, the toes and hamstrings will be positively affected. More versions of the plank include a side plank and performing a plank with extensions. You can also use equipment, like a gym ball to perform the plank, adding even more benefits. Callanetics is also a great way to improve core muscles and stability with small movements.
Rest your body
Resting your body between workouts is always important, especially if it is high intensity. The High-Intensity workouts are specifically aimed at performing short and intense workouts, the shorter and more intense a workout, the longer your time of rest will be. In other words, you will need more time to recover from an increased intensity workout.
10 000 Steps in a Day
Now you know why it is a good idea to get yourself a pedometer. To improve your health, all you have to do is get those 10 000 steps every day. This is just as important as drinking those glasses of water each day. This is not to be done alone as your exercise routine but is something you include together with the regular exercise. Setting yourself this goal will only get you up and moving from sitting too much.
Include strength training
You need to include strength training in an exercise routine, without it, your body will lose mass (sarcopenia) and atrophy. Those who don’t do strength training may lose up to 15% muscle mass between the ages of 30 and 80 years old.
Anybody can start strength training, at any time.
Strength training can also help with:
- Building bone density
- Improves strength and balance
- Helps to relieve joint pain
- May help with blood sugar levels
- Production of Growth factors is increased – these help with cellular growth, differentiation, as well as proliferation.
- Growth Factors also improve the survival of neurons, which helps prevent things like dementia.
Super Slow Weight Training for those over 40
This method of weight training is perfect for those who are reaching middle-age or are older. Slowing down the process increases the intensity of the workout. All you would need to do is incorporate 4 or maybe 5 compound set of exercises. These exercises need about several muscle groups all working together.
When lifting a weight, it must be done very slowly, count for four seconds to lift and another four seconds to lower it again. Repeat movements until you feel some exhaustion, which can be anything from four to eight repetitions. When you start to feel tired, don’t try to push it to make another repetition by jerking. Instead, try to complete the movement, even if it doesn’t really go anywhere, then hold for five seconds. When using the correct weight resistance, you should be able to reach eight to ten repetitions.
Once you finished your first set move onto another muscle group and exercise and repeat the method. Those who keep up a fitness routine and are fit into heir ’40s are more likely to be healthier into their 70’s and 80’s. The whole point is to start exercising and to keep it up, no matter what age you begin your fitness journey. You will reap the rewards.