Aging is a unique experience. For some, the effects will present themselves sooner rather than later, and for some who are luckier, the “aches and pains” and won’t present themselves as prominently.
Either way, exercise will remain an important part of your daily routine for a handful of different reasons.
“In your 40s, it's more important than ever to pay attention to form, posture and strength,” said Lisa Corsello, fitness expert and Founder of Burn Pilates in California.
Many, especially those who have been working out consistently over the long-term, will be able to keep up with their regular routine. But for those who are getting back into the swing of things after an extended period without exercise, or those who are just starting a new regimen for the very first time, there are a few factors you should keep in mind.
“Choose lower impact modifications when needed, but continue to challenge yourself,” says Corsello. “Incorporate variety into your workouts and don’t be afraid to try new things.”
Not sure where to start? We consulted a handful of fitness experts (some who are part of the “over 40 crowd” themselves) to find out which types of workouts are best for continuing an effective exercise routine as you age.
“Easy to incorporate into daily life, the TRX Suspension Trainer is an entirely portable gym in a small bag,” said Craig Cristello, exercise physiologist for Well & Being, a network of luxury wellness resorts and spas. “It consists of two nylon straps with handles that can be hung over a door, medium sized tree branch, chin-up bar, Smith machine or even a swing set outside.” He said it’s a useful tool because it can be used to perform a wide variety of full-body exercises and can be used almost anywhere. Plus, it naturally challenges balance and stability, which Cristello said is a big draw for the over 40 crowd. “Additionally, TRX allows users to slowly progress and ‘warm-up’ through increased intensity to prevent injury,” he said. “It even offers the ability to perform post-workout stretches — from basic to advanced — that improve flexibility and range of motion over time.”
Dianne Bailey, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and owner of The Conditioning Classroom in Colorado suggested Tai Chi, especially for those who are just beginning a new exercise routine. “It is a gentle, meditative form of exercise,” she said. “Many studies have proven its benefits such as stress relief, lowering blood pressure, improving mental focus and improving balance. I teach Tai Chi in my studio and it brings in a lot of people who are over 40 and have not actively exercised in years. They appreciate the gentle approach and yet recognize how it challenges their muscles and their mental focus. So many exercise facilities focus on ‘extreme’ exercise. Most people are not ready for extreme. Tai Chi is a great place to begin.” Bailey also recommends working with a trainer who has experience with age-related issues. “We can all be challenged, but it it needs to be appropriate to your individual situation,” she added.