You’re over 40, you haven’t worked out in a while and you want to get fit, lose weight and get toned. What type of exercise should you be doing?
Should you do aerobic or cardiovascular training type activities like biking, swimming, running or walking? Or should you be focusing on resistance training and weight training? Which would be the better use of your time?
Both cardio and resistance training are really good activities. However, there’s a clear winner. What they both do is cardiovascular adaptations and cardiopulmonary adaptations. Meaning they both create stronger heart, lungs and blood vessels.
However, the thing that most cardiovascular activity cannot do and that resistance or weight training CAN is skeletal and muscle hypertrophy, aka… build stronger muscles and bones.
Use it or lose it
Once you pass 40 your bone density and muscle mass start to deteriorate. This has adverse effects on your strength and mobility. That is why it’s essential that, as you grow older, you do some type of workout that helps maintain both strong bones and muscles.
Now, of course doing both cardio and resistance training would be best. However, if you had to make a choice, it should absolutely be resistance training… but you need to do it intelligently.
In his article 5 Steps To Looking 10 Years Younger strength training expert and Iron Man editor in chief Steve Holman explains why you should ditch long, steady state cardio workouts and start doing shorter, smarter workouts instead.
We’re not talking about bodybuilding here. That’s a different lifestyle and a different approach. We are talking about intelligent resistance training to keep you toned, maintain lean muscle mass and keep your bones and joints strong and healthy.
All your muscles need to be worked adequately and appropriately without overdoing it and without causing too much stress on your joints. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through moderate weight, high fatigue resistance training, like the F4X system taught in Old School New Body.
How should you exercise if you’re over 40?
The last thing you want is to go to the gym, enroll in a high intensity CrossFit program and then quit after a few weeks with an injury or a lack of motivation. You might even blame it on yourself, but really it was the program.
Especially if your over 40 and not in the best shape, trying to fit yourself into a pre-established program can be a recipe for failure, unless it’s specifically designed to safely ease you into resistance training, like the F4X system mentioned above.
Resistance training is not debatable. If you’re over 40 you MUST be weight training. Sarcopenia is the natural loss of muscle mass after the age of 40. It’s unavoidable. If you’re over 40, it’s happening to you! So you NEED to be doing resistance training.
Many women are worried about weight training making them look bulky. If this is you, check out Becky’s transformation to see what really happens when women start lifting weights.
3 X 30
The best way to go is to start with 3 workouts per week, each one lasting about 30 minutes. Pick specific days and times you will be working out… and stick to them! Humans are creatures of habit.
Try incorporating a lot of compound movements into your workouts. These are movements that engage a lot of different muscle groups, as opposed to isolation exercises which target only a single muscle at a time.
- Best Full Body Exercises Without Weights
- The 5 Best Equipment Free Bodyweight Exercises for Burning Fat Fast
- 4 Simple Ways To Make Your Workouts More Effective
Besides two or three resistance workouts per week, another key to staying fit after 40 is to stay as physically active as possible. This can include hiking, jogging, swimming, cycling, golfing or any other form of physical activity.
There are lots of things you can do to increase your daily activity, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking/cycling instead of driving whenever possible. Also, consider taking a 30 minute walk after dinner or during your lunch break.
Try to establish a walking program that has you walking five days a week for at least 30 minutes every single time.
So, the best way to exercise when you’re over 40 is by starting a resistance training program using moderate weights and focusing on compound movements. Also, aim for at least five 30 minute walks per week and look for ways to increase your daily levels of physical activity.