How Your Workout Must Change When You're Over 40

Results take longer to see, and you have to adapt


People can’t ignore their age. Making this mistake can lead to weight gain, heart problems and chronic illnesses brought by unhealthy lifestyles.

The older you get, the more wear and tear you have, Shane McLean, certified personal trainer at Balance Guy Training, says. “You’re like a car with a lot of miles on it – the older it is, the more times it won’t start right away.”[slideshow:90809]

People lose muscle mass and function every year after their late 30s. Those who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3 to 5 percent per decade. This means you have to rebuild muscle to increase the metabolism, which helps regulate weight and blood sugar levels, but this is much easier said than done. Results take longer to see. 

“The older you get, the longer it takes for the body to get over things” and adapt to new routines, McLean says. “And the longer it takes to recover from physical activities.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends four types of training for people as they get older – strength, balance, endurance and stretching exercises.

Flexibility becomes a lot more important, McLean says. But you can get strong no matter how old you are. “You have no idea how amazing the human body is,” he adds. “You can teach it to do anything; you just have to be more careful as you age.”

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More readings:

Health Habits You Need to Break Before Turning 40

Your First Month at the Gym: What to Expect

The Most Common Workout Moves You’re Doing Wrong (and How to Fix Them)