5 Tips on Building an Over 40 Fitness Plan
Statistics show that almost a quarter of the American population is inactive. That statistic gets worse with age, spiraling to nearly 40% after the age of 40. But what the over 40 population may not realize is that a study reported in The New York Times found even moderate exercise improves the quality of life by delaying the onset of chronic illness and reducing the longevity of killers such as heart disease, hypertension, and cancer. With that in mind here are five tips on building an over 40 fitness plan guaranteed to get you off the couch:
1. Easy on the joints
As you age, your joints and connective tissue such as cartilage, tendons, and ligaments lose their elasticity and the high impact activity you did in your 20s and 30s can put you at risk of injury in later years. Never fear, you can still get fit by modifying your activities by incorporating walking, swimming, cycling, Pilates, etc.
2. Build muscle/strength
You may have heard about losing bone density with the aging process, but you also lose muscle mass. Incorporating light weight training and resistance training in your workout not only slows down muscle loss, but can reverse the process. Dr. Michael Murray, author of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine says, "The benefits of strength training are vast, particularly for women and for people over 50."
3. Moderate and diversify
Intensity is not the only path to fitness and as you age you want to scale back the workouts of your youth and diversify your activity as well. This gives you double benefit: it tricks your body in not becoming complacent with a workout it already knows and it builds strengths in all parts of your body. Cross fit plans, stretching, and building your core are great ways to keep you active and prevent your body from becoming bored.
4. Focus on balance
One of the best things an over 40 athlete can do is to focus part of plan on maintaining and improving balance. Basic balance exercises or a yoga regimen can help prevent injury and improve performance in all activities.
5. Find a coach
Just like an Olympian hopeful requires specific expertise and coaching, so does the over 40 demographic. Look for a fitness coach that understands the specific health benefits of staying fit while aging and don't be afraid to ask for referrals of other clients within your age group.