The world has turned more health-conscious, with more and more people exercising on a daily basis. But at 40, would it be too late for you to start?
40 is not too old to start working out. In fact, research shows that exercise is even more important at 40 as it helps keep you healthy, flexible, and strong. Especially if your life is sedentary, exercise could rejuvenate you, help keep your bones and muscles fit for older age, etc.
Are you ready to start? Read on to learn all about the best practices when starting a workout regimen at 40, what to embrace, what to avoid, and much more!
How to Start Working Out at 40
Getting started is the hardest part of anything. You probably have thousands of questions. The good news is that you have already taken that first step — you are considering making exercise a part of your life. However, what’s next?
See your doctor. At 40, you are still in your prime, but the muscle loss has already started, and there’s a risk of other conditions. This is why it’s best to start by visiting your chosen health professional and getting a good checkup. Ask whether exercise would suit you and which workouts specifically. They might have some good ideas or recommendations on who to see next.
Set a goal. Once you talk to your doctor, it’s time to think about what you want to achieve. Do you want to lose weight? Get stronger? Get more flexible? Think about it and then write it down. With a set goal, you can figure out what the best course of action is and tell a trainer so they can make suggestions.
Make a plan. Once you meet a trainer, you can talk with them to come up with the best plan for you. They can tell you which exercises would work for you and create a schedule. Perhaps they can also give you some tips and tell you what you can do to boost your fitness while not working out.
Find exercises that you enjoy. The most important part of this process is sticking to it, and you won’t achieve it if you do something that bores you. Do your research and find workout routines that will make you happy. It may be Zumba or Yoga or something like HIIT. Maybe you prefer jumping rope to running. Try different things and do the ones that entertain you the most.
Start slow. When just starting out, you should start slow. Trying to lift weights too heavy or run too far could cause injuries, especially if you haven’t exercised in a while. Start with some light aerobic activities like jumping rope, brisk walking, etc. Take frequent breaks and then increase the intensity as you go.
Get a partner. Whether you join a class or exercise with your partner, it would be much better for you if exercising was also a social activity. It creates accountability. When you do it alone, you have no one to push you to do more, and you might slip up. But with a workout buddy, you’ll be each other’s support, and you’ll do a lot better.
Make it a priority. With a busy life, it’s understandable that you are not so keen on exercising, especially after work. However, if you really want to get fit, you have to make it one of your priorities. Do something for your health every day, whether it’s a ten-minute yoga session or a brisk 20-minute walk.
Challenge yourself. The same old, same old can get boring pretty fast. So, try switching it up a bit and changing your routine whenever you feel that boredom has set in. Do something harder, something you haven’t been able to do before.
Benefits of Working Out at 40
With everyone looking to get healthier and fitter, you may be wondering if there are any benefits to it except looking better. Well, there are. Here are the reasons to start exercising:
Lower risk of diseases. Regular exercise can help lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and bone and muscle deterioration. At the same time, it can boost your health by lowering your cholesterol and your weight, improving bone and muscle strength, etc. Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your future and present self.
Better mental health. Working out will boost not only your physical health but also your mental health. It improves memory and cognitive function, reduces the risk of depression and anxiety, and can help you deal with stress.
Better mobility and flexibility. As people age, they become less mobile and flexible because of bone and muscle loss. But you can reduce the effects of this process — and perhaps even be in better shape than ever.
The Best Way to Exercise at 40
The best workout is the one that combines cardio, strength training, and balance training.
Cardio exercises are the best thing you can do for your heart. They involve anything that gets your blood pumping and your heart beating quickly. The gentlest form of cardio is brisk walking. You can also jog, jump rope, ride a bike, or swim. Swimming is an excellent full-body exercise, and it can be relaxing as well.
Next, strength training means boosting your muscle mass. This activity involves push-ups, situps, squats, and even weight lifting. Of course, resistance bands are more recommended because they will allow you to work on your muscles without lifting heavy things, and you can exercise with them at home, too — in many different ways.
Balance is another important aspect of your routine, and it will allow you to do better with cardio and strength training as well. You can do yoga or tai chi. These are excellent for stretching and flexibility too.
Ideally, you would do some form of cardio every day — for example, taking a brisk 30-minute walk on a daily basis — and two days of strength training. Later on, you can adjust the amount of time you spend on each.
Try exercising for at least four days a week with light cardio on rest days. Working out every day is not a smart idea since your muscles need time to rest and recover. You could injure yourself if you do it every day. But with a proper schedule that suits your abilities, you’ll get all the benefits of exercising without any downsides.
Here are some tips that will help you when starting out:
Remember to drink enough water while you exercise. Dehydration is already a big problem for people at 40 and exercises only adds to that
Eat healthy food. Junk food won’t really help you stay strong. So, eat healthy food that will nourish you and help your muscles recover.
Be patient with yourself. It takes time to achieve certain levels of flexibility and mobility, so incrementally increase the amount of exercise you do.
It’s never too late to start improving your life, and one of the ways to improve it is by exercising. Of course, make sure that you are not too hard on yourself and that you are patient. You won’t be able to do everything perfectly at first, but your skills will get better as you go.
Focus on working out properly, staying true to form, and finding the exercises that you enjoy. Getting someone to do it with you or joining a class can help you stay on track. The most important thing, however, is to have a proper mindset. Someone may try to discourage you from working out, but you should ignore it and do what feels best to you.
NCBI: Exercise Attenuates the Major Hallmarks of Aging
NCBI: Physical activity in older age: perspectives for healthy aging and frailty
NCBI: Effects of Different Modes of Exercise Training on Body Composition and Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease in Middle-aged Men
NCBI: Physical Activity and Exercise for Secondary Prevention among Patients with Cardiovascular Disease
NCBI: Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence
NCBI: Lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases
NCBI: Stretching Before and After Exercise: Effect on Muscle Soreness and Injury Risk