Getting older shouldn’t mean exercising less. In fact, fitness should be front of mind as you age. The things we used to do for weight loss when we were younger don’t always work the same after 40. While lifestyle changes such as work and family can play a part, a slower metabolism and hormone fluctuations also contribute to weight gain. Exercise changes along with healthy habits, such as a nutritious diet and quality sleep, will help you stay in shape as you get older. Here are 10 exercise changes to make after 40.
10 Exercise Changes to Make After 40 for Weight Loss
1. Incorporate Cardio
Cardiovascular (aerobic) activity is crucial as you get older, as it helps you maintain heart health and burns calories. Unfortunately as you get older, your risk of heart disease increases, so it’s important to stay as heart healthy as possible. Aerobic exercise, including jogging, cycling, swimming and jumprope, is one of the best ways to do this. Aim for three days a week of moderate-to-intense cardio.
2. More Rest Days
As you get older, you need more recovery time because your muscle tissues take longer to heal. You may notice you have more lingering muscle soreness and feel more tired after workouts than you used to. You should always listen to your body and if you feel like you need an extra day between workouts, take it. You can also try recovery tools such as foam rollers and massage guns.
3. Mix Up Your Workouts
Aim to mix up your workouts, as variety is good for heart health and blood pressure. You should try to exercise for 150 minutes per week with a combination of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic workouts and two sessions of strength training. You can switch up your workouts in numerous ways. Go to different fitness classes, choose a hillier route to walk on a couple times a week, or try an activity like squash or dance.
4. Reduce Intense Workouts
You may find it harder to do the more intense workouts you did when you were younger, and that’s totally normal. Listen to your body and do workouts that feel good for you. As you age, you’re more injury prone due to a decrease in mobility and the natural degeneration of muscles and joints. You may find it better and easier on your body to reduce intense workouts like HIIT and bootcamp, and focus on low impact workouts like cycling, rowing, Pilates, and yoga.
5. Lift Heavy
Strength training helps you burn more calories, even once the workout is over. Since muscles require more energy to maintain, your metabolism benefits when you build them. Strength training also helps build strong bones, and since your risk of breaking a bone increases as you age, lifting weights is a must.
6. Balance and Flexibility Exercises
As we age, we lose balance function through loss of sensory elements, the ability to integrate sensory information and issue motor demands, and loss of musculoskeletal function. We also lose flexibility due to a loss of water in our tissues and spine, and increased stiffness in our joints. This makes it super important to focus on maintaining and strengthening your balance and flexibility. Exercises like yoga and Pilates, and tai chi are excellent for both of these things and also help you maintain a healthy weight.
7. Find Fun Physical Activities
Alongside more traditional workouts, find physical activities you enjoy doing and can do on a regular basis. This may include tennis, skiing, hiking, pickle ball, dance, skating, or anything else you enjoy. You want movement to be a pleasurable part of your life and these activities can make fitness more fun, especially if you’re not big on workout classes, cycling or running. It may not even feel like you’re working out at all!
8. Find Workout Partners
Having workout partners or friends you can go to classes with is super helpful to keep you motivated and consistent. Ask friends or acquaintances around your same age, who can relate to the changes you’re feeling in your body. You can talk to each other about your experiences and see if there are any adjustments you can make to get the most out of your workouts and recovery.
9. Work Your Core
Having core strength is super important at any age, but especially as you get older. A strong core helps maintain proper posture, protects the spine, and helps prevent back problems. You may notice extra weight around your midsection, and if you don’t have strength to support your core, extra weight can add to hip and back pain. Since lower back pain is super common in older individuals, abdominal training can help minimize these symptoms. Plus, it will help tone your stomach.
10. Make Sure to Stretch
Stretching should be a key part of your exercise routine as it reduces your risk of injury, so that you can continue exercising at your best. You should be stretching both before and after physical exercise to prep and recover your body. On top of this, it’s beneficial to stretch on the days you don’t workout to improve your flexibility. Flexibility also helps prevent injuries that can occur in everyday life as you get older, such as shoulder strains and back aches.
It’s important to make these exercise changes to help maintain your fitness as you get older and maintain a healthy weight!
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