By the time your 40th birthday rolls around, you probably already have a fitness plan in place or you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum and exercise is a thing of your past or possibly was never a thing for you at all.
So, does fitness need to change at 40? I think so, especially for those of you that do not currently work out. The plan is easy for you, just get started!
The good news is it’s never to late to start and your body will thank you. If you’ve always had a fitness routine it may also need to change a bit when your reach 40ish. Like lots of phases of life, 40 is another time when your hormones change and that might mean your workout/nutrition needs to change as well.
Your body slows production of estrogen, as estrogen declines cortisol and insulin increase and both can lead to fat, particularly belly fat. I hear very active women say all the time that once they hit 40 they started to gain weight even though there had been no changes in their nutrition or workout routine.
As we age we slowly lose lean muscle tissue. The more muscle tissue you have the faster your body is capable of burning fat. The worst part about this is that not only to we lose muscle tissue but it is sometimes replaced with fat. You don’t have to sit back and just watch this happen though. This is were the whole use it or lose it saying comes into play.
Use your muscles and you won’t lose them. Strength training is a great option for everyone but especially women over 40, make sure to include it in your routine at least 3 times per week. Another change that happens around that same time is your body’s recovery time. In your 20s and 30s as long as you don’t do anything to crazy in the gym your body seems to recover well without you putting much thought into it. Your body can still recover well at 40 and beyond you just have to give it a little help with stretching and hydration, which is really what we should all be doing away.
Take up yoga, its good for the mind, body, and soul. Foam rolling can also work wonders to help your body recover. I’ll post more about that next week. 🙂 The last change to make in your workout routine at 40 is to work out with functional movements. Functional strength training is training your muscles to work in ways that you actually use them. For example squats are probably one of the most functional exercises you can do. Standing from a seated position or picking something up off the ground both use the muscles you build doing squats.
Small changes in your fitness routine can make 40 and beyond your best decades yet!