Life, they say, begins at forty. What is not usually said is the fact that the way your body functions radically starts to change from around age forty, and the standard diet and exercise regimen and advice that you followed in your twenties and thirties may no longer work for your body.
So what to do? How do you stay fit after forty?
The very basic things you need to know
Recent research shows that quick bursts of high intensity workout and training are beneficial to the human body as it ages. In fact, sharp short shocks to your forty-year-old body rather than long, drawn out shocks is the very best way to ensure that it is fit and toned.
This means that whatever you do, make sure that you exercise for less time than you did in your 30s but with greater intensity.
The second basic thing that you need to know that your diet has to be carefully chosen, as it takes the right mix of healthy diet and a great exercise plan to keep your body fit and ready to take on the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.
Here’s the guideline for maintaining a fit over 40 body
Go for high-intensity interval training: High-intensity interval training (abbreviated as HIIT) is extremely beneficial as we age because it produces changes at a cellular and genetic level. A recent 12-week study by Sreekumaran Nair, an endocrinologist and a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic reveals that effects of HIIT-style workouts were more pronounced in participants over the age of 64, improving activity in almost 400 genes of their genes. Meanwhile, similar changes occurred in 19 genes of the moderate trainers. There was also a distinct increase in the number as well as the health of mitochondria in the older HIIT group, meaning that their cells responded better to the training effects than those of younger participants. What this means is that the focus of your exercise needs to change as you age. Replace long hours at the gym, running or cycling with short, sharp bursts of HIIT instead. A great example of a HIIT exercise is HIIT squats.
Add weight training to your exercise regimen: Weight lifting and strength training helps to transform the entire body by aiding in calorie and fat burning, improving the body’s metabolism, lessening the risk of injuries, preventing or stopping muscle loss, boosting energy levels, keeping the heart protected and giving great posture. Weight lifting is also incredibly important as we age because it helps in the relieving of stress, reduces your risk of developing osteoporosis, and helps you sleep better and longer. It will also interest you to know that our bodies naturally lose muscle mass by the time we are in our mid-thirties as part of a process called sarcopenia. This gradual drop in muscle mass is said to increase the body’s blood lipid levels and body fat, leading to increased susceptibility to obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Weight training helps to slow down the process of sarcopenia and thus cuts the risk of developing these diseases.
Go for press ups: Press ups work both your lower and upper body as it requires you to support and lift your own body weight. This is especially good for men, as it helps to get rid of men boobs which start to show up around age forty if you do not have a regular exercise regimen. Press ups are good for women aged forty also, because this is when muffin tops usually appear. Dwindling levels of oestrogen at this point causes the body to use starches and blood sugars much less efficiently, and increases the laying down of fat around the waistline. Press ups deals effectively with both man boobs and muffin tops.
Go the healthy eating route: No fitness article is complete without mentioning that the right diet is important, so we mention it here again; exercise and the right diet are the two cornerstones of healthy living. And this becomes even truer as you clock 40 and advance in age. As the body’s metabolism slows around age 40, it is time to say goodbye to the days of gorging without gaining weight. After 40, eating fewer calories can boost the health, as long as you ensure that you are getting adequate fluids and fiber. Decrease your caloric intake from sweets and processed foods and gain them instead from meals that have a high fiber, high protein and low carb content. So, you need to make sure that daily eating plan consists of nutrient-dense food, such as lean protein, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy and whole grains.
Make turmeric your best friend: Curcumin, the active component of turmeric positively influences a normal inflammatory response, so adding turmeric to your cooking can only generate positive results. Turmeric contains bioactive compounds that have powerful medicinal properties, is a natural anti-inflammatory compound, improves brain function, significantly lowers the risk of brain diseases, increases the antioxidant capacity of the body, as well as lowers the risk of heart disease. Curcumin is also reportedly beneficial in both the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Add an apple a day to your diet: Apples contain incredibly high levels of soluble fiber that helps to prevent the settling of abdominal fat around the organs in middle age. As we get older, levels of ATF4 accumulate, preventing healthy proteins from nurturing muscles and this leads to accelerated muscle-withering and weakness. Ursolic acid, found in apple peel, helps to fight ATF4 protein, and thus regresses muscle loss and weakness.