Fitness Over Forty – Five Tips for Feeling Lean & Loving Your Body

Those wonderful lines that slowly appear giving our faces the distinguished, “I’m 40 plus,” look. Skin starting to lose elasticity, joints that are more susceptible to injury and the predisposition for storing fat easier are just a few of the wonderful benefits that come along with the aging process. Due to this ever-changing process and being more susceptible to injury, we definitely need to know which aspects of exercise are going to be more beneficial for us as we age.

Since strength typically decreases with age, not only should we hold on to the muscle we have, but building muscle in these years to come is more important than ever! What should we replace high-impact cardio with? The irrefutable answer is strength training! Men and women over forty can reverse the loss of muscle mass that accompanies aging and do it in less time than one might think. With the demands of life and juggling forty-plus hour work weeks, families and a social life, there isn’t a lot of time to waste on marginally effective exercise programs.

High-quality exercises are those that hit multiple muscle groups simultaneously. By building a weight training program around appropriate exercises, all the major muscle groups of your body will benefit in the most effective and efficient way possible sand will continue to produce the results we so desire. These exercises also result in a greater energy expenditure and a more favorable hormonal response. Meaning you’ll build more muscle, get stronger and burn more fat.

 

With the aging process taken into consideration, even if you are moderately or extremely fit now, the body is going to present some new boundaries in the years to come. Also as we progress through life, balance becomes another small hurdle that we take into consideration when designing our exercise regimen.

 

Many people first feel the effects of age in their joints. As we age, our connective tissue (like cartilage, tendons and ligaments) becomes less elastic which can lead to a greater risk of injury to the joints. That’s why  it is important to shift your focus from those high impact group fitness classes or running five miles a day to cycling, using an elliptical trainer or continuing a version of your running program on a much more forgiving surface that a commercial grade treadmill offers. Higher-impact exercises don’t feel as good as they once did. In fact, the aging of the baby boomer generation is one reason low-impact fitness choices like elliptical trainers, recumbent bikes, functional training and working with a personal trainer have become so popular. However, softening the impact is not the only way we should change our routines as we age. It’s also more important than ever to do strength training. As you grow older, you lose muscle mass and there’s a decline in
metabolic rate.

 

Just being  aerobically active does not prevent loss of muscle mass which is directly correlated to your metabolism. If you do nothing but cardiovascular/aerobic activity, you will lose muscle mass and increase fat storage. Strength training is the only way to preserve and increase your muscle mass. Our goal for you is to understand the correlation of metabolic potential (or speed of your metabolism) and the amount of lean muscle mass you carry with you throughout your day.

 

Studies have shown that resistance training helps with joint elasticity, flexibility and bone density. Through our fitness studies, we’ve taken people that are extremely weak or have not exercised in years and put them through our functional training, 360 HEAT, program. Just three weeks has shown to have a greater effect on lean muscle mass than aerobic exercise alone and remarkably positive effects on fat loss at every level. The old catchphrase ,“use it or lose it,” has some perspective now. You need to use it or you will lose it, but you don’t have to use it at the same degree you did when you were in high school or even college. Here are some tips for our forty and up fitness fans. Whether you’re getting started or an experienced exerciser:

 

1. Warm up and stretch.

Be sure to warm up before a workout and stretch afterward to reduce the risk of injury. Stretching after a workout increases your range of motion and aids in recovery.

 

2. Modify moves that cause discomfort.

 

3. When is it time to make changes?

Listen to your body and stay in tune with what your muscles and joints are telling you.

 

4. Haven’t been weight training? GET STARTED!

Strength training not only preserves and increases muscle mass and bone density, it boosts your metabolism and you burn more calories. I suggest three times per week.

 

5. Proper Form

Concentrate on smooth movement in both the contraction and extension of the muscles during any resistance exercise. Slow controlled movement is far more important than increasing the weight.

 

6. Get advice from a Personal Trainer!

If possible, hire a personal trainer to create a program for you that demonstrates proper form and control. If you don’t belong to a health club, check them out! Being a member to your club of choice can be very fun and rewarding! Take advantage of the programs offered. 360º Fitness offers a free fitness consultation, including body fat testing, with our personal trainers to help you learn to use the equipment.

 

If you haven’t been in shape and decide it’s time to give it a go, you have made the wisest decision of your life! There has been much research conducted on the benefits of exercising to baby boomers. Recent studies have shown that exercise and physical activity can help you increase or partly restore your balance, strength, flexibility and even improve your quality of sleep. If  you are sleeping better, you’ll feel better overall, deal with stress better, and have more energy with a better outlook on life. When you turn forty, you have to realize that your joints are also forty years old, and you may need to modify your exercise intensity and routine in keeping with the physical, physiological and hormonal changes that have and are taking place. Since there is a tendency to gain about 10-15 pounds per decade after age forty, (primarily due to loss in muscle mass – if you gain 10 pounds after forty, the net gain is usually from adding 15 pounds of fat and losing five pounds of muscle which further decreases your metabolism)!

The normal reaction to this phenomenon is dieting, which leads to further muscle loss. Each lost pound of muscle decreases the body’s fat burning potential by about forty calories per day.

 

7. A clean diet and proper supplementation with healthy fats are important.

 

8. Consume five or six small meals per day.

 

9. Make sure your daily protein (meat) intake is 1.0-1.2 grams of protein per pound of lean body weight … ie: have your body fat tested!

 

10. Protein intake should be thirty percent of daily dietary intake, carbohydrates about fifty percent and fats twenty percent.

 

11. Drink a protein shake after your workout.

 

12. Increase intake of fibrous carbs and limit the intake of simple sugars.

 

13. Eat slower burning glycemic index foods such as beans, regular and sweet potatoes, oats, brown rice and whole grain breads.

 

14. You must lift weights on a regular and consistent basis.

 

15. You must increase your protein intake to feed your muscles.

 

16. You must drink a gallon of water per day.

 

 

 

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