We live in a fast-paced world where finding the time to keep up a fitness routine is difficult, no matter what kind of shape you’re in or how old you are. But if you happen to be over the age of 40, life can present a few additional challenges that make it even more difficult to stay fit. Aching muscles, poor sleep, and a job that sucks up any semblance of free time are just a few of those challenges. But it’s not impossible to be a member of the “over 40” crowd and keep fit. Here are some tips on how to do it.
Not Working Out Is Just As Important
When you’re over 40, it can be just as important to not work out as it is to hit the gym. In other words, don’t overlook the importance of recovery time. If you hit the gym for an intense weight-lifting session, make sure you follow that session up with some serious stretching, massage, ice therapy, etc. You want to make sure you’re focusing on maintaining your range of motion along with your physical strength and flexibility. Stretching is important no matter how old you are, but keep in mind that you can recover much faster when you’re 20. At 40+, it’s even more important.
Balance The Intensity
Like it or not, you can’t go 110% all the time. It’s important that you balance your high-intensity workouts with a higher percentage of low-intensity workouts. Shoot for an 80/20 low to high ratio here. Some older athletes find that it’s easier on them to go even harder than they’re used to on the intense days, but do it for a shorter time period. Keep your workouts focused, and on easy days, go easy! If you don’t, you won’t be able to go as hard on your intense days.
Eating right is a no brainer, but when you’re over 40, you should specifically be focusing on foods that will help you maintain muscle. That will likely mean kicking up the amount of protein you’re consuming. If you have a sweet tooth, the occasional cookie is fine, but consider smearing a bit of peanut butter on it to keep the protein level up, plus it will help prevent that dreaded “sugar crash.”
Change It Up…A Lot
Repetitive motion injuries are a very real thing, and you’re even more prone the older you get. If you’ve been doing the exact same workouts for years, you could be putting your body at risk. Incorporate new and challenging workouts to keep your body working without overdoing any one specific part. Playing new sports every few months is a great way to incorporate this kind of change.