As our bodies age, we lose muscle tone and our metabolisms slow. For aging athletes, this situation is depressing enough, but for those of entering our fifth decade out of shape it can seem absolutely bleak. Fortunately, the reality is much different. Getting fit over 40 may be a little bit more difficult, but it is no different from getting fit in your twenties.The key components are the same: sensible diet, sensible exercises and listening to your body.
Get a medical checkup. A doctor can catch high blood pressure, heart disease and other potentially serious conditions which may require you to modify your exercise program. A medical checkup is always important when starting on a new workout program, but it is even more important as you age.
Eat a sensible diet. Cut down on red meat in favor of fish, chicken and pork. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and eliminate processed or fatty food. Don't bother with fad diets--establishing healthy eating habits will let you trim down and keep the excess weight off.
Find aerobic exercises that you can do. If you are out of shape, taking a brisk walk or a relatively low-intensity bike ride could be a great way to get started. Exercise classes, dancing, swimming and any other activities you enjoy are also a great way to get a cardio workout.
Set up an exercise schedule. To begin with, you should try to work out for 30 minutes three times a week. In addition, you should stretch for a few minutes before and after your exercises. If this seems like too much, start with 10 minutes at a time and slowly work up to 30 minutes. As long as you stick to your schedule, you will get there eventually.
Add some strength training. Start by lifting weights twice a week. As you get used to that, consider adding a third day. If you prefer, you can try an activity such as yoga or pilates to strengthen and tone your body.
Listen to your body. It is normal to feel a little sore for a day or even two or three days after a workout, particularly when you are starting out. If you experience severe pain, swelling, or any other worrying condition, however, lay off and see a doctor. If you push a workout too far or come down with an illness, take off a few days until you feel better.
Tips & Warnings
If you can afford it, hire a personal trainer for a few sessions. He will help you design the perfect personalized over 40 workout.