While few (if any) of us look forward to getting older, it doesn’t mean that when we get older, we should stop embarking on our fitness journey. Physical fitness can be maintained at any age, after all, and there are wonderful stories of individuals who continue to be quite physically active at the age of 80 and beyond. But when you get older, it may mean changing your approach to your physical workouts as well. This is because when we age, we get weaker muscles and bones, and our bodies can’t hold on as effectively to minerals and vitamins when we reach middle age as well, which also means that we may be prone to injury if we aren’t careful when we exercise. But if you want to ensure that you are still fit after the age of 40, here’s how you can approach your fitness journey.
Get an initial check-up
Before you do anything on your journey towards fitness at middle age, you shouldn’t neglect to go to the doctor for a check-up. We all need more check-ups as we get older, and this is a simple fact of life. But if you are planning to get more physically active or planning to go on a new nutritional plan, it’s best to get yourself checked so you know exactly how you can tackle your personal road to fitness. Also, let’s face it – as we get older, we are at more risk for various medical conditions, so it’s best to be safe. If you have any pre-existing condition, there may be some things you can’t do or should avoid, so you should determine what these are.
This is why it’s also a good idea to have a customized fitness and exercise routine developed by someone in the know, like a personal trainer. They will be able to determine the best route you could take and come up with a fitness plan and regimen which fits your unique and personal goals. You can also try some simple exercises at home. Equipment from sites such as exilegear.co.uk can provide you all the necessary tools to start your training journey.
Don’t forget the gym!
Since we have an increased chance of injury when we get older, many of us may think that we should no longer continue working out and hitting the gym. But the answer to this is a resounding no! You shouldn’t stop going to the gym just because you’ve hit the age of 40 – on the contrary. As we get older, our muscles can get weak, and we find it harder to maintain our muscle mass. Our joints can also ache more often. But all of this remains true regardless if you work out or stay active or not. As a matter of fact, if a person doesn’t get any exercise, they can actually worsen these symptoms or signs of aging. And not only this, if you gain excess weight, the extra weight is more than likely to cause joint aches and other health issues. Rather than stop going to the gym, it would be best if you exercised in a smarter way, and a good and competent personal trainer such as someone from SNClubs.com can often help you with this as well.
Know what to focus on
If you want to have a fitness plan that’s as well-rounded as possible, you will have to include three activities: cardiovascular activities which can focus on your heart, flexibility training which can help you keep your balance and maintain your limberness, and strength training which can target your muscles and help you avoid the loss of muscle which often comes with age. Some activities which can help you with all three include jogging, brisk walking, swimming, biking, and playing tennis, as well as working out in the gym, of course.
If you want to focus on strength training, for instance, you can work out every two days, which is better for you than working out consecutively. The rest in-between days will help you get stronger because the exercise will break down your muscles and the subsequent rest will help build your muscles back up. Some great exercises for this include push-ups and sit-ups, as well as squats. Afterward, you can concentrate on certain muscles and add such exercises as triceps extensions and biceps curls. This is where a personal trainer can also create the ideal routine and exercises for you, so you can really optimize your time as you train.
Work on your mobility and flexibility
Since we tend to lose muscle and get stiffer joints as we age, this can affect our balance and flexibility. Being flexible plays a major role in fitness, and it can also decrease the likelihood of injury. One way you can improve your flexibility, therefore, is to make use of foam rollers. Using foam rollers can also help you ease your sore muscles as it relaxes the muscles and releases adhesions. When it comes to improving mobility and flexibility, you can also take advantage of CrossFit classes and mobility ‘Workouts of the Day’ or WODs. These workouts can help you concentrate on improving the range of motion of your joints as well as lengthening those muscles which interact with your joints.
Don’t neglect cooling down and warming up
If you are tempted not to do any warming up or cooling down before and after your workout in order to save some time, don’t give in to the temptation. The truth is, as we get older, it would be even better to warm up as well as cool down for a longer period so you can prevent injuries due to overuse. Even if you think you don’t have enough time to do it, it is well worth it because you don’t want to risk having a severe injury just to save a few minutes off your exercise routine.
Make it fun
More than anything else, you should enjoy your exercise and get as much fun out of it as you can. If you do something that you like, you are more liable to stick with it in the long term. Activities such as yoga can enhance your flexibility and build your muscles as well as help you relax and get relief from stress, and this makes them doubly beneficial. Exercises such as Pilates can help strengthen your muscles as well as aid in your balance and flexibility. But most of all, if you do workouts that you like, you will get a good feeling of accomplishment and will be motivated to continue.