Times have changed, and 40 isn’t “old” anymore; in fact, when you’re over 40, fitness is essential to staying healthy.
The three main components of staying fit at any age are cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise, strength training, and maintaining a healthy diet. For example, because we lose muscle mass as we get older, it’s important to eat enough protein to combat this. Osteoporosis is another concern as we age; not only is it important to get enough calcium, regular weight-bearing exercises can help slow loss of bone density. As we age, flexibility decreases, so it’s important to continue to stretch on a regular basis. Our metabolism slows, making weight loss more of a challenge.
If you’re returning to exercise after an extended time off, it’s important to start slowly in order to avoid injury. As we get older, not only do we become more prone to injury, those injuries take longer to heal. Talk to your doctor to prior to beginning any exercise program.
Working with a personal trainer is a great option for staying fit. Your personal trainer will have the experience and knowledge needed to adapt your workout to your strengths and weaknesses. Your trainer can help keep you from injuring yourself by making sure you use good form and don’t push yourself too hard.
Once you get in shape, maintenance is the next step; it’s important to keep exercising regularly. Setting goals is one important step towards fitness. Keeping those goals is another. As you set your fitness goals, it’s important to make sure they’re realistic. Our bodies change as we age, and what was easily attainable at 20 may less so at 40. Motivate yourself to keep working on your goals by celebrating your successes, and give yourself added accountability by working out with a friend or trainer.