Why should I start exercising now I'm 40?

Are you in your 40s and think it’s too late to start an exercise programme?  Well, you’re wrong because it’s never too late to start exercising, in fact, starting now will protect you later in life.

You may have breezed through your 20s and 30s, you didn’t really have to think too much about what you ate or what physical activity you engaged in, you didn’t prioritise your health and you got on just fine. Now that you’ve hit your 40s, you’re eating and doing the same things but somehow things just aren’t the same, you’re looking and feeling a bit different, the dreaded middle age spread has caught up with you.

I’m eating and doing the same things, but the weight is piling on.

As we age, our bodies naturally change. Research shows that between the ages of 30 and 50, you're likely to lose 10% of total muscle on your body, what's worse is this muscle is likely to be replaced by fat over time due to your slowing metabolism.

If you are sedentary throughout your day and you aren’t regularly using your muscles, they will begin to waste away.  If you don’t use it, you will lose it, but don't despair just yet, there is a relatively easy solution - you need to get active and start pumping some iron.

Lift some weights

Your metabolism is directly correlated to your lean muscle mass, which means you can stop, and even reverse, the decline with regular exercise.

Doing resistance training 3-4 times a week, will help you build and retain your muscles.

If the talk of building muscles conjures up an image of a ripped body builder, and you’re completely repulsed by the thought, then you’ll be pleased to know that this is not what I am referring to. 

If body building isn't your thing, you've got nothing to worry about...

If body building isn't your thing, you've got nothing to worry about...

The female body simply isn’t capable of building and gaining such muscle bulk, that is unless you really want to, in which case, you can undergo specific body building training. 

The type of resistance training you need doesn’t even require you to join a gym, you can simply use your body weight and perform exercises such as squats, push-ups and lunges, all of which can be done from the comfort of your own living room. 

If you don't want to struggle with standing up when you're older and you don't want to rely on a walking frame, you need to start resistance training now. Use your muscles now to stop and prevent further muscle wastage. 

With resistance training comes many benefits:

  • You will feel and look better.
  • Increased lean muscle will boost your metabolism – you’ll also burn fat much faster as a result.
  • You’ll be much stronger, which means you’ll more than likely be able to do things you might not have been able to do before such as carrying heavy bags.
  • Your joints will be more stable, reducing your risk of injury.
  • Resistance training will also help you build strong bones, this is important in combating osteoporosis.

Get active

Being active will help reduce the bulge and also lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Walking, running, cycling, participating in exercise classes, even cleaning your house and gardening will all help.  It doesn’t matter what you do, but it is important you find activities you enjoy doing to combat the sedentary lifestyle that many of us have come to live.

Are you eating the right foods?

Because you have started exercising doesn’t give you a free pass to simply neglect your diet.  Losing weight does not require you to cut a shed load of calories, doing so is more likely to slow your metabolism rather than help you lose weight, but you want to ensure you are getting the most from what you are eating.

Make sure you eat regularly throughout the day.  Eating every 4 hours ensures your energy supplies are constantly topped up.  Eat a varied, balanced diet.  Avoid processed food and those high in sugar.  Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks.

If you aren’t sure how much of each food you should be eating, the government have provided a guide in the form of an Eatwell Plate, which illustrates what a balanced, healthy diet should look like.

Don’t settle, you owe it to yourself

Just because you’re now a little older and your body is trying to do its own thing, it doesn’t mean you have to surrender.  Fight the bulge - get active, do some resistance training and eat a varied, balanced diet.  All of these actions, if taken appropriately now, can slow down and reverse the decline. 

If you are unsure about how to get started, a personal trainer can equip you with everything you need.  They will design a program specifically for you, show you how to carry out all the exercises safely so you don’t injure yourself and and help you gain the confidence to confidently carry out the exercises on your own.

As a Personal Trainer nearing 40, I am conscious of what nature has in store for me.  I therefore want to ensure women my age are, right now, taking the necessary action for their well being and setting themselves up for many more years of healthy living. 

I offer a free consultation and taster session, so if you live in SW London visit sqactive.com to book yours now.