“Life starts after 40” is a common phrase. In-depth, this may mean anything from your career finally being profitable, investments making a sizable bottom line, and more. However, once you hit 40, your body changes drastically and slows down inevitably due to aging and decreased metabolism.
While age is just a number, after 40, unavoidably, you will stop feeling as vibrant and energetic as you were in your peak – skin starts to wrinkle, muscles deteriorate faster, and you ultimately have less time for fitness.
Even though you might feel at odds end in your fitness endeavor, there are simple ways to kickstart weight training for sustained well-being.
Changes Your Body Faces As You Age
Youthfulness is a fleeting phase and past forty, you will not be as robust and versatile as you used to be. In the fourth decade you may notice:
- Faster loss of muscle bulk – Loss of muscles is inevitable after 40. Muscles grow from proteins and amino acids obtained from food. With age, the muscle-building mechanism slows down and epitomizes the cascade of uncontrollable catabolism (the breakdown of muscles).
- Loss of taste buds – Taste buds comprise microscopic cells and molecules that constantly regenerate. However, with age, the cycle of regeneration decelerates. Therefore, adults over 40 may not appreciate all flavors and consequently have a decreased need to eat.
- Gradually decreasing testosterone levels – Hormones are affected by age, and none takes a hit like testosterone. This pivotal hormone is the glue that holds many male features together, features such as the growth of facial hair, sex drive, quality of voice, muscle bulk, and more. With age, testosterone is less prevalent and the endpoint is the gradual loss of male features.
- Bones become brittle – Due to inadequate nutrition and hormonal derangements, bones fracture easily because of reducing bone density. This arises from dramatic changes in metabolism and bone mineralization, as well as changes in feeding habits.
- The onset of menopause – Undoubtedly, the health of middle-aged women are affected by menopause. Fluxes in estrogen cause hot flashes, mood lability, deteriorating quality of sleep, and reduced bone density.
- Inexplicable weight gain – obesity affects people of all ages but the prevalence increases after the middle ages. Typically, fat deposits on the belly, butt, and neck, and shedding extra weight is near impossible.
Age-Specific Workout Challenges And How To Overcome Them
Before you embark on a weight training program, it is essential to state that though the benefits of fitness are far-reaching, exercise poses more risks as you age. While there can be sustained barriers to exercising, the are ways to overcome them:
- Fatigue and pain – Adults get easily fatigued because of many reasons ranging from a sedentary lifestyle, disease, impaired lactate metabolism, and more. Painful muscles, back pain, and limited range of mobility can hinder fitness. In effect, experts recommend speaking to physicians if the pain becomes aggravated. Additionally, medication and physiotherapy can alleviate much of the discomfort.
- High risk of injury – People over forty have muscles and joints that are not as robust and elastic as they previously were. However, with the right equipment and training, the risk of injury is reduced. Exercise programs should also start with low-intensity movement gradually progressing to advanced levels.
- No motivation to exercise – The will to endure through energy-sapping exercises reduces with age. At forty, an effective pick-me-up may be as simple as drafting a workout playlist, changing environments, or enlisting the services of a trainer. Better yet, you can work out with friends, workmates, relatives, or your family.
- Time constraints – Getting older overtly affects the quality of workout programs. Right off the bat, you don’t get as much time to yourself since there are other obligations. An effective resolution to this is to schedule sessions as soon as you wake up or before sleep. Moreover, simple exercises such as cycling to work, walking, or morning runs don’t need many sacrifices to partake.
Sticking To A Routine As You Get Older And Gain More Responsibilities
Fitness is akin to round-peg-in-a-square-hole because what works for you will not necessarily be the solution to another one’s problem. Therefore, the importance of customized routines is imperative because your fitness goals are unique.
An exercise regime tailored to your needs will keep you on track towards achieving top-notch mental and physical well-being. In the long run, objectives should be included in the long-term fitness routine with clear-cut milestones.
If you draft the fitness program considering all aspects of fitness (like your weight, current shape, time constraints, and more), you will efficiently gauge your progress and know how far off you are from the destination.
How Your Diet Changes As You Get Older
As you get older, your diet also takes a turn. Research shows that adults gradually eat less as they get older. This poses a risk because there will be a deficiency of vital minerals like vitamin B, D, and C, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Physiologically, adults typically eat less due to structural and neurochemical changes. Essentially, there is declining neurochemical stimulation of the digestive tract meaning satiety is achieved faster while the sensation of hunger is less pronounced.
Moreover, smell and taste get affected by a slower regeneration of smell and taste receptors. Sluggish digestion predisposes adults to early satiety and reduced consumption as well.
All these combined ultimately translate to reduced intake of food and drink increases the risk of dehydration and malnutrition.
Experts, therefore, recommends that adults consuming less food than necessary should supplement their diet with proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fibers not only to keep a healthy gut but as a means to rejuvenate their entire body.
The Importance Of Rest/ Recovery (How Much Or How Little Should You Be Doing?)
All fitness routines should have a rest day to allow muscles to return to their original state. A fitness enthusiast who is 40 years and older should understand those rest days are integral for muscle growth.
Muscles grow when you are not working out. As a result, rest days are more important than weight training.
Recovery is vital because it results in:
- Repair and growth of muscles – During workouts, muscles experience intense stress and pressure resulting in microscopic tears. For this reason, the rationale for rest days is to allow remodeling and repair of muscles.
- Alleviation of muscle pain and soreness – The main by-product of metabolism while exercising is lactic acid. Accumulation of lactic acid causes muscle pain and soreness. Rest days allow the elimination of lactate to alleviate sore and painful muscles.
- Reduction of the risk of injury – Too much exercise puts muscles and joints through extensive stress and increases the chance of getting injured.
- Replenishment of energy stores – Exercise causes depletion of glycogen – the primary source of energy for muscles. Rest days allow the restocking of glycogen stores for your next workout.
With this in mind, workouts must have an intricate balance of exertion and rest. Therefore, you should have alternating rest and workout days, or schedule rest days after two workout days – you are not a machine!
Preventing Injury And Wear And Tear
- Incorporate warm-up and cool-down sessions – s important as the core workout session is, the pre-and post-workout phase is essential. Warming up not only activates muscles and the heart but also sets the tempo for the session. Conversely, your cool-down session prevents tight muscles and stimulates the elimination of toxic lactate buildup.
- Keep your workouts simple – Do exercises that you can see through from start to finish. While there should be a healthy variation of movement, they shouldn’t be beyond your ability. Therefore, opt for routines that don’t strain or place muscles under intense tension because, after 40, your recovery rate also slows.
- Build a routine and stick to it – The essence of working out is to boost muscle memory. Noteworthy – practice makes perfect. This means that repetitively engaging muscles and joints get them used to a diverse range of motions apart from adapting to new movements.
- Have adequate time to recover – Every time muscles are stressed, microscopic tears develop while lactic acid accumulates. Lactic acid is the main reason behind sore and painful muscles. Allowing adequate rest between workout days facilitates remodeling of muscles and elimination of lactate. Moreover, you avoid overusing muscles, reducing the risk of injury.
- Eat the right food – Your fitness goals hinge upon your diet. For example, a rich supply of fruits and vegetables provides nutrients and trace elements essential for neuromuscular activation and powerful muscle contraction. In the same light, proteins are the source of amino acids required for bulking. Apart from having a constant supply of nutrients, the ideal diet will reduce the chance of muscle fatigue during workouts.
- Reduce the load on your spine – Metabolism peaks and starts deteriorating after the fourth decade. It also implies that bone mineralization gets slower and weight-bearing structures will not be as sturdy. Fitness experts thus recommend not overworking your spine to reduce the risk of disc hernias and fractures.
The Importance Of Stretching/ Yoga/ Pilates
Unlike high-impact workouts, stretching yoga incorporates relaxing postures and movements ideally done at the end of workouts or on rest days. All these exercises are necessary for boosting elasticity. On top of increasing flexibility and range of motion, yoga and pilates catalyze the breakdown of toxic lactate hence healing sore muscles.
The advantage of yoga and pilates transcend their simplicity and as they incorporate simple movement and posture, can be done even by beginners. If done consistently, you will notice drastic changes in endurance, posture, joint mobility and flexibility, and core strength and balance.
Sample Workout And Diet Program For A Bodybuilder Over 40
Warm-up – 10-20 minutes of preparing your muscles
Stretch- never workout before stretching as this poses an increased risk for injury
Active session – aim for 8-12 reps for a maximum of 3-4 sets with a 30 second – 1minute rest between each set. The abs circuit comprises exercises done back-to-back, targeting at least 15 reps for a total of 3-4 sets with a minute’s rest between each set.
Cool-down – hold each position for at least 20 seconds.
Each week your target should be a baseline of 3-4 sessions.
|Standing quads stretch
|Lunging hamstring stretch
|Overhead bench press
|Deep glutes stretch
|Long lever plank (20-30 seconds)
|Weighted Russian twists
|Crunch with a twist
|Hanging leg raise
Ultimately, make sure to have a balanced and rich supply of nutrients and averaging 2,000 calories/day. Your caloric intake should fluctuate depending on how many calories you burn and if you’re trying to cut or bulk.
Foods to eat include meat, fish, eggs, poultry, whole grain, starch, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts, and plenty of water.
Additionally, avoid alcohol, refined carbohydrates, foods with added sugars, and deep-fried dishes.
Your Take-Home Points
Life comprises activities we do during our youth and adopting vibrant activities into our adult life. Exercise and diet are essentially the fountain of youthfulness and not just a trivial pastime. On the contrary, the benefits of fitness are far-reaching. From preventing lifestyle diseases to keeping fit, there are even more compelling reasons to stay active in your forties.
Even though you may not be able to lift as heavyweights as you could when you were twenty, remember that every effort towards a healthy lifestyle is what counts. Life starts at forty!