20 Exercise Tips for People in Their 40s from 20 Exercise Tips for People in Their 40s

20 Exercise Tips for People in Their 40s

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20 Exercise Tips for People in Their 40s
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20 Exercise Tips for People in Their 40s

Welcome to your 40s. You may think your 20s were recent history, but they are actually ancient history. You might have been able to fool yourself in your 30s, but that’s over now. They don’t call it the Big 4-0 for nothing. And now that you’ve reached middle age (sorry, but it’s true; 45 is halfway to 90), there are some special concerns for staying fit. Here are 20 exercise tips for people in their 40s.

Cardio

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Cardio

Cardio has been called the fountain of youth because nothing is better for you than physical activity. For adults, the American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or some combo of both. To lower blood pressure and cholesterol, the AHA recommends an average of 40 minutes of moderate to vigorously intense aerobic activity 3 or 4 days per week.

Just get moving

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Just get moving

The most important thing is to get SOME exercise. According to the American Heart Association, a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of the heart muscle shrinking and stiffening in late-middle age and increases heart failure risk. And exercise is not just good for your body, it’s good for your brain. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, regular cardiovascular exercise is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline.

Weight training

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Weight training

But don’t just work up a sweat; keep strengthening your muscles. Cardio alone is not enough. Your bones become weaker as you age, so stronger muscles can protect you from injury. And you don’t need to be a bodybuilder. Moderate weight training will also keep you leaner.

High intensity

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High intensity

To stave off osteoporosis, you need some high-intensity, high-impact workouts as part of your routine. Occasionally trade the elliptical for the jump rope. Running has also been shown to significantly reduce the risk of hip replacement and osteoarthritis.

HIIT it

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HIIT it

Mayo Clinic researchers have found that high-intensity interval training can reverse age-related muscle deterioration. But don’t push it: Alternate between HIIT and more moderate activity. (You aren’t as young as you used to be.)

Improve your balance

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Improve your balance

According to the National Institute on Aging, each year, more than 2 million older Americans go to the emergency room because of injuries related to falls. Dangerous falls are more common in older adults, but now is the time to work on balance exercises that can help prevent falls.  The NIA recommends tai chi for improved balance.

Flexibility

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Flexibility

Flexibility is a sometimes-overlooked key to good physical health. (In fact, it’s one of the four basic categories of exercise, along with endurance, strength and balance.) Yoga is a great way to increase your flexibility.

Yoga

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Yoga

Yoga is wonderful for your body and soul. Women over 45 have an increased risk of depression. Yoga can be especially good at reducing stress and improving mood. Harvard Health calls yoga a “low-risk, high-yield approach to improving overall health.”

Work out on your way to work

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Work out on your way to work

If you’re in your 40s, you’re probably spending a lot of time at working at a desk. Try fitting exercise into your work routine. Consider biking to work. If you drive, park at the far end of the lot. Get off the bus or train at a stop farther from your office.

Work out while you work

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Work out while you work

Once you get to the office, make the most of it. Consider using an exercise ball or a standing desk instead of a basic desk chair. The Mayo Clinic says the exercise ball can tone your core muscles. If possible, consider a treadmill desk.

Swimming

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Swimming

Swimming is a particularly good exercise for aging adults. It’s endurance and strength training at the same time, and it’s easier on your aching joints than running or biking. Studies indicate swimming could even stimulate brain function because it boosts blood flow to the brain.

Workout with your kids

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Workout with your kids

Being a parent to young children doesn’t mean you have to give up exercising. Bring the kids along on your bike ride, in a pull-behind trailer or trailer bike. Get them interested in exploring trails in your area. If your kids are older, bring them along on their own bikes. You’re setting a good fitness example while spending some quality time together.

Recovery time

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Recovery time

You aren’t going to recover as quickly from that 10K as you did when you were in your 20s. Listen to your body and give it some rest. Otherwise, you won’t get any exercise if you suffer an injury.

Work out with friends

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Work out with friends

Peer pressure can be a great motivator. You’ll be more likely to fit workouts into your busy schedule if you know someone else is counting on you. Consider joining a running club or biking club in your area.

Stay hydrated

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Stay hydrated

Your body is less efficient with fluids as you age and your sense of thirst diminishes. Make sure you are getting enough water, especially during and after a vigorous workout.

Don’t smoke

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Don’t smoke

According to the American Lung Association, your lung capacity starts to diminish in your mid-30s. Smoking will only make it worse, making it that much tougher to exercise. If you haven’t kicked the habit yet, it’s time.

Make it a priority

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Make it a priority

Of course you’re busy. You’re 40! You’ve got kids, work, car pools, business trips, PTA meetings. Maybe you are getting to the age where you are caring for an aging relative, too. Make sure you are making time for exercise. Make it a priority. Don’t pencil it into your schedule; lock it in.

Keep track of your progress

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Keep track of your progress

Use an app to count steps or miles. Keep track of the distances you are biking or swimming. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Then make your next workout a little harder.

Find an activity you like

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Find an activity you like

It may sound simple, but it’s important advice: If you hate running, don’t run. You’ve reached the age where you know what appeals to you. Don’t choose an activity that feels like a chore. There are plenty of ways to exercise if you hate the gym

Shake it up

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Shake it up

You aren’t too old to try something new. Check out a yoga class or swim laps at the Y. At your age (sorry!) variety is key to staying engaged and staying active.

20 Exercise Tips for People in Their 40s