Functional types of exercises are essential as we age because of the increased risk of falls, injuries, and a decline in mobility and strength. These routines are based on real-world motions, making us more resilient to daily life’s inevitable knocks and bruises.
Fitness experts recommend the following four activities for persons over the age of 40:
1. Squat and press
Experts emphasize the significance of the squat by saying, “We squat more than any other activity (other than walking) — sitting down, going to the lavatory, picking things up off the floor, getting in the vehicle.
Put your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart to complete it. Sit back as if in a chair until your thighs parallel the floor while keeping your shoulders back and chest raised.
Don’t slouch or curve your back; put your weight on your heels. Use your glutes to propel yourself back to a standing position to maintain a strong abdominal contraction.
After getting the hang of it, add some small dumbbells (2 kg to start) and make a move while standing up and pressing the weights above.
2. The Deadlift
Hinging is essential for doing tasks such as lifting up a baby, tending to a garden, or washing the toilet. Keep your feet about hip-width apart and stand tall.
Focus on your center. Keep two dumbbells at your thighs. When your chest is parallel to the floor, hinge at the hips to send your hips back while sliding the weights gently down the front of your thighs. Maintain a little knee bend, a neutral spine, and a backward shoulder tilt.
Push through your heels to stand straight up when your chest is parallel, and your core is taut. Hold the weights near your thighs and squeeze your glutes at the apex of the movement.
3. Shoulder press after a bicep curl
This is crucial for routine tasks like lugging grocery bags or lifting heavy items into a high cabinet. Place a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
Your arms should be at your sides, palms facing in. Lifting heavy objects requires bending the elbows. Avoid using momentum or a swinging action; instead, stretch above with a calm, deliberate motion.
Put yourself back where you were before. Protect your lower back by keeping your abs taut at all times.
Experts agree, saying, “This is a fantastic practice that simulates the movement of pulling weeds or hoovering. “Stand with one leg forward in a lunge stance, knees slightly bent, and a dumbbell in one hand.
“Hinge at the hip, arm outstretched, dumbbell dangling. Maintain a strong core and a straight back without slouching. Maintain a straight line from your head to your back.
You may perform a rowing motion by pressing your shoulder blades together and pulling the weight towards your hip, followed by a gentle return to the starting position.
Best Way to Prevent Muscle Loss
Exercising and consuming more protein is the best way to prevent muscle loss. Two pals get their work out on a bright day at the park. They’re using a jumping rope to exercise.
Personal trainer with Crazy Nutrition Darren Cunningham says, “When we become a bit older, it might become difficult for us to remain fit and healthy, but the necessity of keeping up a regular workout regimen rises as we age.
” In addition to the potential for boredom with one’s current exercise routine, “after 40, our bodies start to change, and we start to store more fat, our bone density declines, and we lose muscle. Working out in the open air might inject a fresh sense of independence into your routine.
The reduced danger of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in the elderly has been linked to a high-protein diet and regular exercise. “Being outside in the fresh air and sunshine will give you an endorphin rush and help you get more vitamin D into your diet.
The amount of protein we consume is also crucial. Due to age-related muscle atrophy, known medically as sarcopenia, it’s important to get more protein into one’s diet in the form of natural protein shakes and lean meats, fish, eggs, and nuts.
Raise Blood Pressure
Around 40, many people realize they may benefit from increased circulation, a stronger immune system, and general wellness — all of which can be achieved by cold exposure.
But before you jump into the ocean, it’s advisable to start any cold-water treatment carefully with a cold shower or bath, and always check with your doctor first.
Expert’s Thoughts on Fitness
Another Other Expert, Calum Sharma, says, “Cold exposure is a really accessible therapy, but you don’t want to go excessive to begin with.” In other words, you shouldn’t jump into a frozen lake without a lifeguard there.
If you’re having trouble breathing, try standing in a warm shower with the water temperature turned down. You should spend 30 seconds in the cold water before returning to the hot water.
When you’re ready, gradually increase the duration and intensity of your cold showers until you spend three minutes beneath the water.
Sharma says the advantages are worth the initial discomfort, particularly as you age. For example, when our metabolism naturally slows down as we age, “cold water immersion not only decreases inflammation, (raises) our resistance to stress, and boosts our mood, but also reduces white fat and increases metabolism,” says Sharma.
You need to take more than one or two cold showers weekly to experience the results, so consistency is essential.
When you’ve learned cold showers, try ice baths for something more challenging. Just because someone is faster doesn’t guarantee they’re in better shape. Maintaining a diverse fitness program is important at any age, but it has several advantages to taking it easy as you age.
Dr. Fiona MacRae of the Marion Gluck Center claims that not all exercises should have you completely drenched in perspiration and gasping for air.
Dr. MacRae adds that the smooth, meditative motions of Qigong or Tai Chi improve mood, attention, and concentration while strengthening the core muscles that become more vital with age. Swimming is another great option.
Swimming’s combination of aerobic exercise (good for your heart and waistline) and resistance training (good for your muscles and joints) makes it a top choice for staying in shape and mobile.
Hot flushes during menopause, which may be especially challenging for women after age 40, may also make water exercise a more appealing option.
Let yourself heal
Prioritizing recovery time after a workout is especially crucial if you’re over 40. Olympic weightlifter Haylene Ryan Causer says, “Recovery, not simply stretching after a workout, becomes more important as we age.” Recovery involves sleep, water, and an adequate diet.
Unfortunately, we are no longer in our twenties, when we can recover quickly after a heavy night out. Walking daily and giving your muscles a rest from weight training to refuel their glycogen reserves is essential. Instead of high-intensity interval training, try yoga to avoid stress-related ailments.
For a strong and healthy pelvic floor, try some Kegel exercises.
Every woman should make time to work on their pelvic floor. Exercising your pelvic floor is necessary at any age, but it becomes more crucial as you age due to pregnancy and delivery, fluctuating hormone levels, and basic age-related changes to muscle strength.
According to Dr. Susanna Unsworth, a medical specialist with Intimina, “women typically simply put up with symptoms because they assume they are just a byproduct of growing older,” but many of these problems may be avoided by working on your pelvic floor.
Kegels, or exercises targeting the pelvic floor muscles, need no special equipment and may be done almost anywhere (whether seated, lying down, or even standing).
When at a loss for where to begin, consider the “elevator approach,” in which you picture your vagina as an elevator shaft and the entrance as the first level.
Gently tighten your pelvic floor muscles to bring the lever into your midsection. Hold at the peak for a moment, then gently descend. Do this five times without holding your breath or tensing your abdominal muscles.
Spend time in the yard or at the playground with the kids.
A lady working on a raised bed made from recycled scaffolding boards, adding compost to the soil. It’s okay if swimming, cycling, or lifting weights at the gym aren’t your thing; many alternative methods exist to get in shape beyond 40.
Shannah’s occupational therapist at The OT Service, Kate Sheehan, recommends gardening as a hobby. She suggests considering a new passion, like gardening, to make exercise a more natural part of your life.
“To allow activity (both cardio and strength) to be part of our day-to-day activities, they need to be fun to us and not perceived as a job,” she says.
Heavy digging will provide you with a cardiovascular and strength-training exercise in addition to providing you with a sense of accomplishment. To get in shape while doing something you enjoy—spending time with your kids or grandchildren—just take the pram to the park, pick up a kid, and push them on a swing.
The best thing you can do for your health, mobility, flexibility, and overall well-being is to keep moving, bending, stretching, and reaching.
30 minutes of exercise every day will keep your mind fit.
Adult ladies of all backgrounds are seen dancing together in a gym. They are dressed for exercise. Two ladies are dancing and having a good time together.
To maintain good health beyond 40, it’s not enough to just be physically strong. Functional Medicine Associates’ creator Pete Williams says that being physically active is one of the greatest strategies to prevent brain atrophy.
The human body was intended to spend much of its time in motion. Williams elaborates, saying, “Our genes and physiology need daily activity for peak performance, and our inability to provide it poses a threat to the health of our bodies and minds.”
“The cardiovascular system’s efficiency declines with age. It becomes less flexible and less able to transport blood efficiently to distant body parts.
If we aren’t physically active as we get older, we start to lose the small blood arteries responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrition to our organs and removing the waste products of those cells.
New research shows that memory in old age may be improved by walking for only 15 minutes three times a week.
Maintaining cognitive function requires at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity weekly aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking. The recommended amount of aerobic exercise is 30 minutes per day, five days per week, or 75 minutes per week at a high level or any combination thereof.
Walking, jogging, jumping rope, and even dancing are all acceptable options. Consistency is more important than individual actions.
It is never too late; keep that in mind.
It’s always possible to start prioritizing your health and fitness, so don’t let the abundance of information on the topic discourage you. Michael Fatica, a consultant osteopath for The Back in Shape program, says, “If you’re just starting off, then don’t hurry moving forwards.”
“Plan on working out three to five times a week or as often as your hectic schedule will allow. Begin on the low end of the intensity spectrum to avoid exhaustion.
Remember to invest half an hour to three times weekly to get results. You have the time, and if you love exercising more often, you can do more. It’s “better late than never.”