It’s never too late to start exercising. However, once we hit that 40 mark it starts to get even more important for many health reasons from heart health, to lung health to bone density, to metabolism to muscle retention and much more. The key is to start small and work your way up. But most importantly the key is to just start.
A study by The Cooper Institute and UT Southwestern Medical Center that followed 18,000 men and women (average age 49) over nearly three decades found that those who exercised regularly in midlife were less likely to develop and/or sustain serious health conditions (diabetes, coronary artery disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart failure) in their Medicare years. It’s also important to note that as we approach our 40 something years metabolism starts to slow down by about 2 percent — and will continue to do so with each passing decade.
This means you’ll really have to start watching your nutrition intake to maintain your weight or lose weight, but that’s less of a burden if you’re burning more calories, eating healthier and most importantly focusing more on nutrient-dense foods such as lean proteins, vegetables, good carbs, and healthy fats.
Starting a fitness routine in our 40’s presents some mental hurdles — we still think we are invincible. I don’t know about you, but I still feel invincible and got a reality check this year with my hip challenges. The truth is as we approach our 40s (both men and women) this is when our body really begins changing. It’s important to keep in mind that a 40 something-year-old body is different than a 20-year-old body and progressing safely is a must.
Low-impact workouts like spinning/biking, brisk walking, or swimming net a high-calorie burn while keeping your joints intact, but the key is in the strength training for maximum impact in your 40s. Jump-start your metabolism by strength training 3 times a week for 30 minutes a day. Your bones and muscles will love you for it and most importantly, you’ll keep your metabolism boosted.
Strength training not only revs up metabolism but also helps combat the body’s natural decline in lean muscles mass (another fate of your 40s). And no matter what type of strength training you incorporate into your exercise (weights, resistance, or a mixture of both), listen to your body and be realistic as to how long it will take to see results.