It can become increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy fitness routine as we get older. Somehow, we get busier and busier—juggling work, life, family, and fitness can be an overwhelming challenge. In the face of children and career commitments, fitness can take a (justifiable) back seat. Even if we find the time to exercise, many of us develop bad fitness habits when we’re young and can ignore or avoid the consequences. That’s no longer the case when you’re pushing forty!
So, how do we stay fit after forty? We’ve got five simple tips.
First, try not to think like you’re still 25. This can be a good thing. You can avoid the same mistakes you made when you were young. You can achieve your heath goals with less pain and reduced chance of injury. It’s time to fight smart.
Second, when you’re middle-aged, you need to pay closer attention to your exercise regimen by ramping up your fitness level gradually, preparing your body for specific challenges, and avoiding injury and burnout. Got a big run coming up? Start slow and keep training. This doesn’t mean you have to stay slow. It means you’ve got to ramp up to your optimal fitness level more gradually. It’s a lot easier to recover from a stupid mistake when you’re a little younger, but a major injury over forty is a lot more dangerous. (If you get injured, wait to heal before getting back in the groove.)
Third, commit to a low-intensity workout. Don’t shoot for the most reps or the heaviest weights. It’s not a sprint anymore, it’s a marathon. You shouldn’t be in a lot of pain and you can’t afford to push through the pain.
Fourth, remember to cool down. Don’t just hit the shower after a tough workout. This applies to everyone, but it’s a lot easier to ignore when you’re younger. When you’re over forty, it’s even more important to practice a proper recovery after a tough workout. This can involve yoga, foam-rolling, or meditating, it’s up to you. A proper cooldown can prevent injury and reduce pain.
Fifth, eat more protein! You can’t exercise like you’re 25 and you can’t eat like your 25. A healthy diet rich in protein can help maintain muscle mass and energy levels. That’s the first step towards healthy living, but don’t stop there—it’s time to hit the gym.