Written by Alex Simpson
Workout Tips For The Over 40’s
Whilst you may consider yourself the human equivalent of a fine wine – in that you get better with age, if you aren’t careful, rather than a vintage Italian red, the only wine you will resemble once you hit 40 will be a bargain basement carton from the value section of your local supermarket. Yes, they say that with age comes wisdom, and whilst that may indeed be the case, so too comes osteoporosis and high blood pressure. This is an exaggeration for some of you, but you must admit that health and fitness in your forties are nowhere near as easy as it was when you were in your twenties, or even your thirties for that matter.
Just because working out and staying/getting in shape may be tougher, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother. If you want to transform your body and get yourself into the best shape of your life, both physically and mentally, no matter how old you may be, it can be done. To help you along, here are a few workout and fitness tips for the over 40s out there reading this, so take a look and see what you can do to get yourself into the best shape of your life.
#1 Always Warm Up
Go on, be honest, how many of you youngsters reading this can honestly say that you warm up extensively before you begin a workout of any kind? Warming up at any age before training is extremely important, but if you’re over 40, it becomes more important than ever. As you grow older, you’ll find that your body is more susceptible to injury and that your muscle fibres may not be as strong as they once were. To help avoid injury and any form of discomfort, make sure you warm up extensively before you begin working out. Perform stretches, get the blood flowing and your core temperature up with slow cardio, and always begin with light sets before you jump into working sets.
#2 Consider Using More Machines
When lifting, whether you’re trying to build muscle, tone up, burn fat, or increase your strength, as you grow older, you should ideally try to use more machines. Younger lifters can get away with performing more heavy compound lifts using free weights, but as you grow older, this isn’t always as practical. You see, with free weight compound exercises, more stabiliser muscles are recruited and they will naturally have weakened with time. This, in turn, can mean that your tendons and ligaments will be more vulnerable. Using machines and performing isolation exercises will reduce this risk. Of course, free weights can still be used, and should still be used, but try not to base your entire workouts around free weights.
#3 Form Must Be Perfect
As you now no longer have youth on your side, you can’t get away with cheat curls and poor form and posture when you perform your lifts. Your joints, tendons and muscles will now all be naturally more susceptible to injury due to your age, so you must ensure your form and posture is perfect with every exercise you perform. If your form is jeopardised, reduce the weight and try again.
#4 Get More Rest
Though taking more time off from the gym may seem counterproductive, trust us, it is really going to help. Just as recovering from a hangover will take longer as you grow older, so
too will recovering from a strenuous workout in the gym. Ideally, you will want to be training no more than five days per week, though four, or even three, will still be hugely beneficial, and you must also be getting enough sleep each night, as that is when your muscles recover and rebuild themselves.
#5 Reduce The Weight
Lifting heavy weights does your joints no good at all, so as you become older, your training should be adapted so that you are placing less stress on the joints. This means reducing the amount of weight you are training with. The easiest way of making this transition is to simply lift slightly lighter weights and to perform more reps and perhaps more sets. You will still build muscle and burn calories, it just means you will do so slightly differently.
#6 Don’t Forget The Cardio
Cardio is important in terms of fat loss, but for the over forties, cardio is more important than ever. To begin with, once you hit 40 your metabolism will have slowed down, so it will be easier to gain weight, and harder to lose it, so you will need to work harder to keep your body fat under control. On top of that, however, cardio is important because it looks after your heart and helps keep it, and everything connected to it, in perfect working order. The word cardio actually comes from the ancient Greek word ‘Kardia’ which meant heart, so the clue’s right there. To help reduce your risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and heart attack, at least 3 low-intensity cardio sessions lasting around 30 minutes, should be included. You may wish to try your hand at HIIT, in which case 3 20 minute HIIT sessions should be performed each week.
#7 Clean Up Your Diet
Of course, you can enjoy the odd treat here and there, but 90% of the time, try to consume fresh, healthy, and wholesome ingredients packed full of nutrients. You should also drink plenty of fresh water, and consider an all-in-one supplement packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to ensure you are meeting your daily micronutrient requirements.