How To Start Exercising When You’re Over 40

You’ve probably heard of the old adage that says ‘you’re never too old to start something new‘. This certainly holds true when it comes to starting an exercise routine. While you may not have been very active for some time – or even for the majority of your life – it’s never too late to start reaping the many rewards of regular exercise.

As a matter of fact, the older you get, the more important it becomes to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. Once we pass the age of 40, many of our body’s natural processes (like our metabolism and our production of growth hormone) slow down. This leads to many of the symptoms we associate with aging.

You don’t need to have the drive of a professional athlete, nor the flexibility of a gymnast to start exercising. Getting active and exercising is actually easier than you might think, and can be tailored to fit your personal preferences.

All you need is enough motivation to do a couple of workouts per week until it becomes a habit. Once you develop the exercise habit, it becomes part of your lifestyle. You won’t even have to think about it, you’ll just do it.

Once you start moving, it’ll cause a snowball effect. You’ll start looking and feeling better. This will motivate you to stick with it and turn regular exercise into a lifestyle habit.

Here are some tips to help you start an exercise routine:

Get a checkup

Before you start any new exercise program – especially if you haven’t been active for a while – it’s always a good idea to get a checkup. So, to start things off, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she will be able to tell you if there are any medical conditions or limitations you should be aware of that might impact your ability to exercise.

Establish your exercise goals

The second thing you’ll want to do is determine what motivates you to exercise and to establish what goals you would like to accomplish regarding your health and fitness.

There are lots of different reasons people have for wanting to start exercising. No matter what reasons you may pick, the most important thing is that they are meaningful to you. Ultimately, they are what will motivate you to stick with it.

So… take some time to think about your reasons to start exercising.

  • Do you want stay mobile and active?
  • To reduce the risk of injury in case of a fall?
  • To gain some strength?
  • Do you want to build muscle or tone your body?
  • To lose some weight or get rid of unwanted body fat?

Understanding and recognizing your goals enables you to structure a systematic time-frame to reach them. This makes your goals measurable, which in turn helps you track your progress.

You also want to make sure you keep your goals realistic. For example, say you want to drop five pounds. You’ll be much better off (and your chances of success much bigger) if you set yourself enough time to drop a healthy amount of weight each week (for instance one pound per week).  This allows you to track your weekly progress towards reaching that five pound total. It also helps keep you motivated. Setting unrealistic goals is a surefire way to set yourself up for disappointment.

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There’s a whole science to setting ‘SMART’ goals. You’ll find a great reference here.

Once you’ve been cleared to exercise and have set some personal goals, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to get there. This means finding an exercise program or workout routine that fits your personal needs and preferences.

Finding the right exercise program

If you’ve never done any kind of workout or strength training routine, you might want to consider working with a certified personal trainer.

A trainer can ensure you are exercising with proper form. They can also tailor programs to your personal needs and around specific conditions, such as a knee replacement or back problems. This not only helps reduce your chance of injury, but will probably also lead to faster results.

The next best thing to working with a personal trainer is to follow a proven method that is specifically designed to provide safe, controlled and targeted muscle movements, like the F4X System taught in Old School New Body. Not only will this help tone your body and lose unwanted body fat, this type of moderate weight resistance training will also help strengthen your joints, instead of injuring them.

Commit to exercising

If you’re like most people, you probably have a lot regularly-scheduled commitments that you can’t or don’t want to miss. Start looking at exercise the same way. Pencil your workouts in your calendar, just as you would a lunch date with a friend.

If your days tend to be really full or busy, try to make a short 10 minute workout part of your healthy morning habits. That way, no matter how hectic your day becomes, you’ll have already gotten a workout in.

Remember… even a few minutes of exercise is better than no exercise at all. Whether it’s a 10 minute yoga routine or a few sets of bodyweight exercises. If you take a look at your daily schedule, you’ll probably be surprised how many short, 10 minute gaps you can find in which you can squeeze some quick exercises.

Develop the habit

Starting a regular exercise routine can be hard. That’s why it’s so important to do it for the right personal reasons and to establish realistic, measurable goals that will keep you motivated.

It’ll be your motivation and your commitment which get you through your first few weeks  of exercising. This is the most difficult phase for most people. It’s the period during which you just have to ‘stick with it‘.

Once you’ve made it through the first few weeks, it will start to become a natural part of your daily routine. It’ll start to become hard-wired into your brain as it were. In other words – it will have become a habit.

Here are some tips that will make developing the exercise habit faster and easier for you:

  • Establish specific days for your workouts (for example: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday)
  • Establish a specific time for your workouts (for example: in the morning before breakfast)
  • Keep your goal in mind and visualize yourself as you would look/feel when you accomplish it
  • Find a workout partner. Yes… peer pressure can be an extremely powerful motivator
  • No excuses. Once you’ve decided on specific days and times to exercise, stick to it, even if the heavens fall!

Apply these simple tips, and before you know it doing your workouts will become as automatic as sitting down to watch your favorite soap opera or sitcom on TV every evening. As a matter of fact, you can even turn your tv time into exercise time.

When you think about all the benefits of exercise – like weight control, increased vitality, reduced risk of disease, stronger joints, improved mobility, increased mood & energy, just to name a few – it really is a no-brainer.

As soon as you acknowledge that there are actions you can start taking today to increase your length and quality of life, this should be motivation enough to start implementing a regular exercise regimen. Just keep in mind – although it’s never too late for you to start exercising and reaping the benefits of living a healthier life… it’s never too soon either.

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