Unfortunately aging is inevitable, but the negative associations with it such as, fatigue, weakness, loss of strength, and decline in energy can be prevented.
As we age, our resting metabolic rate (RMR) decreases about 2% to 5% every decade past age 30! This adds up to an average of 75 to 100 fewer calories burned per day. Incredibly, starting at age 40 for women and 60 in men – our bodies lose an average of 7% of our muscle mass per decade. So how do we stop this vicious cycle?
Reasons to Strength Train If You Are Over 40
If you are in your 40s or older, you need to focus on strength training at least two to three times per week. These sessions should include full body movements and exercises that incorporate quick bursts of energy. For some reason as we age, we tend to think of plyometric exercises and quick movements as not being necessary, but that is not the case.
Light plyometrics, along with strength training, can actually prevent injury, increase bone density, and help you stay more agile. This will help prevent everyday injuries or sudden falls. Just remember to start your program slowly and build yourself up.
Not only will your metabolism be fired up for hours after, but also you will be strengthening more muscle groups in less time.
If You’re Over 40 – Is It Safe To Start Exercising?
Regular physical activity significantly reduces one’s risk of disease, including diabetes, heart conditions, and high cholesterol. Other benefits include better moods, gains in muscle strength, increases in bone density, and the ability to complete more activities in a day.
There are many myths out there that as you age you become too frail for normal exercise and should only do light strength training. INow if you are starting a workout routine for the first time, you need to check with your healthcare provider so they can make you aware of any precautions you might need to take.
The United States Department of Health Services states that adults and older adults, “ should do muscle strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.” The most important thing to keep in mind is to be safe. If you need help do not be hesitant to ask a personal trainer at your gym for help!
Let’s Not Forget Balance Training
Don’t forget to incorporate balance exercises in your strength training routine. Many of you might be thinking that your balance is fine and that it is not important until you are over 65. However, in your forties, balance training is an excellent aid in keeping you active and more mobile.
Balance will help reduce joint pain, joint associated injuries, allow more flexibility, and strengthen all your stabilizer muscles. The great thing about incorporating balance into your strength training routine is that your muscles will be challenged in new ways and you can expect better muscle definition.
10 Great Exercises For Over 40 Individuals
The following are ten exercises that everyone over 40 should incorporate into their workout routines. These exercises target multiple muscle groups, challenge you in new ways, and will get your heart rate up. As with all strength training, make sure your abs are engaged at all times and that you are properly warmed up.
1. Walking Push-Ups – Start in normal push-up position. Bend your elbows and drop down, almost touching the floor. Push back up. Now move your right hand in towards your left. Move your left hand out 1 foot and perform another push up. Now walk it back to center and repeat to the right. Keep going back and forth.
Need more of a challenge? Do the routine on and off of a stepper. Also can be done on your knees for beginners.
2. One-Legged Deadlift – This is great because it has the same benefits of a normal deadlift, but you also incorporate balance and works more of the muscles surrounding your hips than a normal dead lift would.
Stand on one leg with knee slightly bent. Now come down and try to touch your toes, making sure your hips bend towards the back wall of the room. Keep your weight should be on heels then bring the hips back in to center, squeezing the glutes. Add dumbbells for more of a challenge or stand on a BOSU with the flat side up.
3. Burpees with BOSU– Your heart rate will come up with this one. Start in push up position over the BOSU. Jump your legs in and pick up the BOSU towards the ceiling. Lower the BOSU down to the floor and jump your legs back out. Repeat. It is important to keep a quick pace when doing these.
4. Walking Lunges with Squat Jump – Find a track or use a fitness room in your gym. Perform two walking lunges. Then squat down and jump as far forward as you can. When you land, lunge forward again for two and then jump. Do this all the way around your track or a couple lengths of a fitness room.
5. Bicep Curl to Press on BOSU – Stand on the BOSU on one leg or two, depending on how good your balance is. Use the opposite arm you are standing on (if on one leg) and perform a bicep curl.
At the top the bicep curl, turn your palm with the dumbbell so it is facing forward and press up toward the ceiling. Then come down to your shoulder and turn your palm back around and finish the bicep curl. Repeat. Aim for 10 – 12 per side. You will feel this in your abs as well.
6. Standing Cable Pull/Push – This exercise mimics a lot of sports and daily movements. It strengthens the back, chest, biceps, delts, triceps, core rotation, and more. Feet should be shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and abs tight. As you pull one handle towards your rib cage, push the opposite handle away. Make sure you use the same grip on both pulleys.
7. Mountain Climbers – These are great fast or slow. Begin in a push-up position on the hands and toes. Bring the right knee in towards the chest, resting the foot on the floor. Jump up and switch feet in the air, bringing the left foot in and the right foot back. Continue alternating your feet. For slow mountain climbers, bring the knee into your chest and really tighten you abdominals and then switch.
8. Plank – This exercise never gets old and everyone should be doing it. Start by lying down on your stomach. Place your elbows directly under your shoulders and lift into a straight line onto your elbows and toes. Maintain a flat back, making sure to not drop your hips towards the ground (that can cause pressure on your lower back). If you need more variation, try side planks, or bring one leg up at a time, while holding the plank position.
9. Reverse Lunges with Knee Up – Begin with your feet shoulder width apart. Bring your right leg back, dropping the knee down, close to the floor. Push back up with the front foot and bring your right knee up to a 45-degree angle. Hold for one second and repeat, without letting your right foot touch the ground. For more of a challenge, add dumbbells or a barbell. This will make your stabilizers work harder and kick up the intensity.
10. BOSU Jumps – Using the BOSU instead of a box or bench, jump on the BOSU, squat, then jump off. Make sure to land softly and give with the knees. This is one of my favorite exercises because it really gets my heart rate up and my legs working hard!
Putting It All Together
There is never a better time than now to jump start your workouts or start a new routine. As we age we tend to think that we are not able to further improve our health or fitness levels, but that is not the case. Exercise is so important for improving health conditions, weight problems, and self esteem.
We are only given one body so leave your self-doubt at the door and start having fun! Remember what it is like to be a kid again and take that enthusiasm to the gym.