You’ve probably noticed a few changes in your fitness level after reaching your 40th birthday. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stay active and fit in your 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond.
This is a great time to focus on a few simple changes that will help you enjoy life more for years to come. Don’t let your age or current fitness level keep you from taking steps to improve your overall health.
Adjust your mindset
The idea that it’s all downhill from here needs to be kicked to the curb. While it’s true that you may not be able to compete in an Ironman, you can still set attainable fitness goals. Don’t power through a tough workout when you’re physically exhausted or mentally drained. Instead, give yourself some slack. Enjoy an easy stroll or a relaxing stretch session before bedtime.
Ways you can prevent injuries
The chances of injury increase with age but you can minimize the risks with these tips:
- Warm-up — Muscles and tendons become less flexible as we age so warming up before exercise is more important than ever. Spend at least 10 minutes walking, marching in place, riding a stationary bike, or an elliptical to warm up your muscles. Increase your pace as you get warmer to get the blood pumping through your body.
- Cooldown — Flexibility is key for staying active. Making sure you cool down your muscles will help keep soft tissues flexible and healthy. Do some long, slow stretches. Try to avoid bouncing when you’re stretching. This will help keep joints, tendons, and muscles safe.
- Percussion massagers — Increasing blood flow helps to minimize soreness and increase range of motion. Massage can be used before and after your workout.
- Listen to your body — If it hurts, stop. Pushing through a workout that hurts won’t help you stay fit. If you experience pain that lingers for more than a few days, check with your doctor to make sure it’s nothing serious.
Workouts for all
Here are a few of our favorite ways to keep your body strong and flexible for years to come:
- Walking — It’s an effective exercise for your heart health, it burns calories, boosts muscle, and improves endurance. You can even improve digestion by walking for at least 10 minutes after every meal. Plus, it’s a great mood booster and an easy activity to do with family and friends. Aim for at least 30 minutes of walking each day. It won’t take long to start noticing the benefits.
- Strength training — Muscle mass and bone density decline as we age so don’t skip your strength training. Heavier weights are not necessary to reap the rewards. Using lighter weights or resistance bands will lessen your risk of injury. Be sure to avoid swinging any type of weights. If you’re unsure how to perform an exercise properly, find a trainer or a good video that breaks the down proper form.
- Water workout — Take your workout to the pool. Water-based workouts are easy on your joints and offer added resistance for your entire body. Choose from water aerobics, water walking or jogging, or swimming laps for a full-body workout.
- Barre — The benefits of barre are endless. Barre is a blend of ballet, Pilates, and yoga. This low-impact workout strengthens your core, builds muscle, increases bone density, improves your balance, and helps you build endurance. It’s also an effective cardio workout.
- Yoga — From chair yoga to power yoga, there’s a form to fit your needs. Yoga strengthens your bones, muscles, joints, spine, flexibility and it improves your balance. There’s little to no equipment required so you can do it almost anywhere.
Just keep moving
No matter your age, health, or fitness level, just keep moving your body. Remember, small sustainable changes can make a big impact on your health and quality of life. So, whether it’s a trip to the gym or walking after dinner, just make the commitment to yourself. Your body will thank you for years to come.