Have you felt more aches and pains as you age? Does your body feel stiff in the morning? Does it take you longer to recover from injuries or soreness? Do you want to stay active but feel like your body is not the same? If you are shaking your head and you are 40 years old or older… This blog is for you.
You might have heard the phrase, “it’s okay… you’re just getting older.” Many of our clients attribute aches and pains to the normal process of aging. However, the difficulty with staying fit and healthy into your 40’s is not aging… it’s the habits and discipline you maintain as you age. After working with thousands of athletes and clients over the last decade, I’ve created three simple ways to stay fit after 40.
1. Improve your weekly recovery after exercise
After exercise, you should take 5-10 minutes to stretch and allow the muscles and body to “cool down.” If you don’t enjoy stretching, partner with a local healthcare professional to help reduce soreness and get your body feeling great again.
Additionally, just like a car, your body needs a tune up regularly. When you exercise, you’re using fuel and placing wear and tear on your joints and muscles. Sleep, nutrition and hydration are critical to refueling your body to keep it functioning optimally. Create a goal to sleep 6-8 hours, eat healthier options, and drink 6-8 cups of water per day (depending on your activity level).
2. Decide if you want to focus on strengthening and/or cardiovascular exercise
What’s the difference between strengthening and cardio? Strengthening exercises typically require weight, such as dumbbells or a barbell, and the intensity is typically low with low amounts of repetitions. Cardiovascular exercises typically involve running, hiking, or swimming at moderate intensities for a longer duration. Both types of exercise are good for you, but which one is best for you?
The easy answer is, “it depends.” Strength training is important to keep your muscles and joints as strong as possible and cardiovascular exercises are important to keep your heart and lungs as fit as possible. The ideal routine is to combine both types of exercise so you strengthen your joints, muscles and heart to keep you healthy for the long term. If you workout with two days of running on Monday and Thursday, then it would be great to incorporate strength training on Tuesday and Friday, which gives your body three additional days of recovery.
3. Avoid becoming a “weekend warrior”
To improve your fitness you need to exercise three days per week minimum. Anything less than three days a week is “maintenance” and you will see little to no progress. Most people have difficulty sticking to a routine during the week so they only work out on the weekends (ie, “weekend warrior”). As you approach your 40’s you might have a growing family with a hectic schedule and a busy job, so your fitness and nutrition become less of a priority.
To reduce your risk of injury and create consistency with exercise, start with these three tips:
1) Sit down and design a routine that is best suited to your schedule and fitness level.
2) If you have trouble with motivation or don’t know where to start, consult with a fitness professional to keep you accountable and help you kickstart your journey with the proper principles and form.
3) Communicate with your partner or spouse that your fitness routine is a high priority so they can support you and keep you accountable.
These tips will help you stay fit into your 40’s and beyond. If you find yourself stuck, not knowing where to start, or tired of living with continued aches and pains, the team at Sports Performance Physical Therapy can help. We specialize in helping people over 40 stay healthy, active, and fit so they can continue doing the things they love without medications or surgeries. To inquire if you would be a good fit for our services, please click on the button below to schedule your FREE phone consultation today.
Keep movin’ and groovin’,
As always, we hope this helps! For any questions and all suggestions, please email us at TeamSP@SportsPerformancePT.com
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