Optimizing Your Workout After 40

Author: judyjudy

Optimizing Your Workout After 40


Embracing middle age doesn’t mean slowing down; in fact, making strategic adjustments to your fitness routine and mindset can pave the way for long-term mobility with less pain. Experts advise envisioning your future athletic self and training wisely in the present. Kate Baird, an exercise physiologist, encourages considering your aspirations, like hiking in retirement, and ensuring your fitness aligns with those dreams.

Here’s a comprehensive guide from exercise scientists and trainers on navigating fitness beyond 40:

Assess Your Fitness

Start by testing your strength, stability, mobility, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Professional evaluations or at-home assessments can highlight potential weaknesses, guiding you to create a personalized training program. Aging well involves intentional efforts to build and maintain these fitness components.

Grayson Wickham, a physical therapist in New York City and the creator of Movement Vault, emphasizes the importance of being proactive about your future. The human body is resilient, but this resilience can sometimes lead to overlooking potential issues until they become problematic. Assessing your fitness shines a light on areas that need boosting, preventing injuries before they occur.

For example, if your stability is shaky, incorporate balance-boosting exercises like single-leg stands and weight shifts or activities like tai chi and Pilates. If flexibility is an issue, embrace yoga or dynamic stretches. To measure cardiorespiratory fitness, consider testing your VO2 max with a professional or using wearable fitness trackers.

Diversify Your Workout

Aim for 150 minutes of weekly exercise with a mix of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic workouts and strength training sessions. Variety is key; the body is great at adaptation, but keeping it guessing maximizes benefits. Sarah Witkowski, an exercise physiologist and associate professor at Smith College, notes that even small changes can be beneficial. Engage with fitness professionals to learn new exercises that challenge different muscle groups, strengthening the mind-muscle connection.

Consider altering your routine—try different directions for lunges or combine them with overhead dumbbell presses. If walking is your go-to exercise, opt for a hillier route or walk as fast as you can once or twice a week. The goal is to continually challenge your body, promoting both longevity and quality of life.

Look Beyond Aesthetics

Approach strength training strategically by balancing isolated muscle exercises with compound movements. Amanda Thebe, a personal trainer specializing in people over 40, highlights the shift in motivations as we age. While aesthetics may drive us when younger, focusing on core muscles and compound movements becomes crucial for overall health and strength.

“There’s nothing wrong with doing your bicep curls and your deltoid raises if you want to be pumped for summer,” says Thebe. However, incorporating exercises like deadlifts and squats, which work several joints and muscles simultaneously, contributes to overall strength as we age. Planks and pelvic floor exercises are also valuable additions.

Lauren Lynass, a physical therapist with the fitness platform [P]rehab, emphasizes the need for a progressive plan. Continually increasing the weight you lift or the number of reps ensures that you challenge your body intentionally as you age, equipping yourself for whatever physical feats your future self wants to take on.

As you navigate fitness beyond 40, what adjustments have you found most beneficial? Share your insights and tips with the community! How has your approach to exercise evolved, and what impact has it had on your overall well-being?

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/01/well/move/workout-fitness-over-40.html?searchResultPosit ion=59