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Over 40? Exercise Programs Can Make Your Golden Years The Best Yet

Over 40 Exercise

If you are over 40 then you are reaching a point in your life where you must take charge of your health or you may lose it.

Exercise is an investment in your future. It is the key to keeping your independence later in life, preventing disability, and living longer.

Over 78% of men and women over 40 exercise inadequately or not at all. It is believed that sedentary people lose 15% of their muscle mass each decade after 50 and 30% each decade after 70.

Doctors state that most people over the age of 50 show signs of being pre-maturely old including stiffness, frailty, heart disease, diabetes, and many other ailments.

However, even the frailest and elderly patients have seen dramatic improvements in health and well-being once they began to exercise.

Studies have shown that, while age-related muscle deterioration is always present, that men and women well into their 80s have the same ability as an 18 year old to build muscle and reduce fat.

This increases health and agility, giving them the ability to be in control of their lives even into their 90s.

For example, a Swedish university studied very elderly patients whom had never exercised. Simply by lifting 80% of their body weight 3 times a week, they displayed a 5% increase in strength each training day.

Additionally, they found themselves able to take part in normally daily routines with less and less assistance. Nothing can prevent aging, but you can change the way your body ages through well-rounded over 40 workouts that include cardio, weight training, and stretching.

Cardio For A Healthy Heart And Weight Loss

A good Cardio routine is a vital part of any exercise program.

Cardio, as the name implies, improves cardiovascular health and burns calories. Cardio exercise increases the flow of blood, which strengthens your heart and lungs for overall heart health.

Over 40 CardioMany people suffering from all stages of heart disease have seen substantial improvement through cardio.

Also, cardio helps you lose unwanted weight if you burn more calories than you consume. Therefore, the more calories you consume, the more cardio you will have to do.

If you are eating right, most experts will agree that 30 to 90 minutes is a fantastic cardio workout. Even on your days of rest, you should try to do some light cardio such as riding a bike.

Once you reach your fitness objective, experts typically say you can do as little or as much cardio as you need to prevent weight gain.

If you exercise program is all-inclusive, you will have to determine your ideal time for cardio. Many people do weight training early in the day followed by cardio at the end of the day.

Others have found that cardio immediately before weight training helps their muscles be better prepared. This is a personal decision you must make.

You may want to try one method for a period of time and then change to another until you find what works best for you.

When you are doing cardio, try to make it as effective as possible for your total body. For example, keep your abdomen in a “crunched” position to strengthen your abs which is normally not the focus of most cardio workouts.

Many professionals recommend the use of ankle and wrist weights during cardio workouts to increase strength at the same time.

Cardio workouts are so varied that there is literally something for everyone. If you are worried about the strain on your body, there are plenty of lower-impact cardio workouts.

Swimming, spinning, elliptical trainers, canoeing, and ropes courses are all fantastic and will spare your joints. Bicycling is a great way to get from place to place. If you are feeling more adventurous, try rock climbing or kick boxing.

Of course, if your schedule is tight there is typically an aerobics or step class happening at most gyms throughout the day.

Strengthening & Toning

Strengthening and toning is typically brought about by weight training. It is through weight training that you can sculpt your body to any level of fitness you desire.

Over 40 ToningYou can have the “ripped” physique of a body builder, strive for overall firmness and tone without building muscle, or simply increase your overall body strength and fitness.

It is all up to you and it is all completely obtainable if you focus on your long-term goals.

If you are adding strengthening and toning to your routine, most people have had success when they are under the instruction of a personal trainer.

Also, most experts recommend that you work out with a partner to help you stay motivated and keep an eye on you. Typically, you will want to find a partner who is either at or slightly above your current fitness level and who is working out on the same cycle as you.

Weight training is typically done in a cycle with splits where you do a certain quantity of “sets” focusing on one body part or more (such as backs and legs) on one day, then another body part (biceps and shoulders) the next day, and so on.

This is just one example, there are countless combinations and you will have to find the combo that is right for you. Make sure that every body part gets worked out evenly by the end of your cycle.

The more popular cycles are 3 day, 4 day, 5 day, and 10 day cycles. These cycles typically include rest days, to prevent over training or injury.

Several success stories include pushups and crunches to work on abs throughout every day of the cycle. Another technique used in some of the success stories is to occasionally change up your weight routine to “shock” your body into building more muscle.

This is an uncommon approach, but one that may work for you in your over 40 workout.


Yoga, and other stretching based exercises, plays an important role in middle age exercise and health.

Men and women alike are learning the profound affect yoga and stretching can have on the body. These exercises keep your body flexible which not only promotes joint health and prevents stiffness, but is also believed to help prevent injuries in the case of a fall.

A good stretching routine also prepares your muscles for growth. Therefore, stretching should always be done before and after any strength training.

Some of the other exercises that promote stretching and flexibility are dancing and gyrotonics.

Listen To Your Body

Always keep in mind that the point of exercise is to improve the health of your body, not to put it at risk.

You should always ask your doctor before beginning any exercise regiment and continue to keep your doctor updated on your progress at your regular visits. Your doctor can give you valuable advice regarding your body’s current fitness level and which exercises you might begin with.

Also make sure you do not over train, especially during periods of stress or illness. When you over train, you run the risk of injuring yourself which can greatly delay your path to fitness.

Stress and illness further compromise your body and puts you at risk for serious injury. A personal trainer or other licensed fitness expert can give you guidance to help you prevent over training.

Find Personal Heroes

If you are over 40, exercise might seem like quite an uphill challenge. However, there are many people out there who faced that same mountain and conquered it.

People from 40 to 90 and from all walks of life have turned their aging bodies into the very picture of fitness and health. If they can do it, you can too.

Just as there is no one exercise plan that works for everyone, there is no single success story that will work for you. The best thing you can do is to study as many success stories as you can.

Learn about each person’s exercise regiments, which techniques worked for them, and which showed little result. Decide which components best match your exercise objectives and incorporate them into your plan.

This way you will develop a diverse workout program that is tailored to your needs, which will greatly improve your chances of success.

Fit Over 40The e-book Fit Over 40 is a fantastic compilation of these kinds of success stories. The author has included his own personal story of how he mastered exercise over 40, along with 52 other stories.

These stories include men and women of all ages past 40, including some in their 70s and later. In the book, each person has detailed their individual exercise program along with their personal journey to becoming physically fit.

You will read about the hurdles others had to cross, to keep you prepared and motivated on your journey. You can use Fit Over 40 as a powerful tool in your arsenal to overcome negative influences and make your body the best it has ever been. Click here to learn more…

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  • Cyndy January 16, 2012, 7:25 pm

    Is it possible at 62 with osteoarthritis to body build and how do I start? I do core strength training twice weekly and yoga once a week. I feel old and stiff and unhealthy. I am a vegetarian but need to stop feeling sluggish. HELP ME PLEASE!

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