Just because you are in your forties, it doesn’t mean you can’t have that lean, fit, well shaped body you have always wanted. Age might slow you down a bit and it my take a little longer to build your physique, but building muscle and getting into shape is relatively the same process as when you were in your twenties, with a few minor tweaks.
Older muscles are more prone to microtrauma and require longer recovery time to repair. Lifting very heavy weights when you are older may cause you injury and it is unnecessary to push your body beyond its capability. However, with the right type of training and staying in tune with your body, you can build strength and muscles well into your forties and fifties. Lift lighter weights and do higher reps – it may take you longer for you to achieve the muscle tone, but you will eventually get there without burning yourself out.
If you do an intense workout most days of the week at the gym, it is important to give your body a little bit of a rest either for a couples of days a week or every three weeks or so. This is not to say that you shouldn’t go to the gym for an entire week, but rather to slow down and take it easy as your body is not a machine and is not designed to work full strength for 52 weeks a year. Look for signs of over-training, including dwindling workout motivation, trouble sleeping, aches that won’t go away and less energy. Take a small break and return motivated and ready to build yourself up again.
Before you jump into your exercise routine, make sure you do some warm up and stretching exercises first. This will prevent injuries down the line. If the environment is cold, you might need a little longer. In a gym, starting with a 10 minute low intensity bike ride or rowing machine is usually enough to get your body warmed up. Then move onto the first exercise of bench press or squats,.gradually increasing the weight build up. This prepares your muscles and joints for your workout session and reduces the risk of injury. If a particular exercise causes you pain, either reduce the intensity or switch it out of your routine for a different exercise. There isn’t a single “must do” exercise that can’t be exchanged for a similar one that is more comfortable to do.
When you decide to begin you new exercise routine, make sure you increase your calorie intake. Working out burns more calories and it is important to eat more protein to in order to give your body additional fuel to burn. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet not only helps with your workout sessions, but also improves your overall health.
Don’t give up on your ambition to get fit and firm in your forties and even fifties – just remember, a little bit of hard work goes a long way and starting a training session that is suited to your particular needs, will help you achieve this.