Lifestyle Magazine

Staying Fit After 40!

September 12, 2019

After 40, some parts of our bodies become tighter and stiffer while others become rounder and squishier! There are a couple of reasons why this happens.

The metabolism slows by about 5% every decade after the age of 40. You will have to eat 100 calories less every day to maintain your weight, and much less if trying to lose weight.

As if having to eat less to maintain your weight isn’t bad enough, the average person also loses between 3–8% of muscle every decade after the age of 30. Lost muscle is usually replaced by fat, which can make you feel weaker and look rounder.

The remaining muscles and tendons get tighter, stiffer and more brittle. One hard tug could send you to the ER with a pulled muscle or torn ligament.

However, a slower metabolism, less muscle, and a stiffer body doesn’t mean it’s impossible to stay fit after 40. You just need to learn how to work with and around your new body.

Eat More Protein

Protein helps to preserve and build muscle, so we need more of it as we age. As a rule of thumb, strive for 25-30 grams of protein per meal and 10-15 grams per snack. You can achieve this by including four ounces of lentils, beans, soy, chicken, fish or lean meat in your meals, and an ounce of nuts or two tablespoons of nut butter in your snacks.

Strengthen Your Muscles

The best way to prevent muscle loss as you age is to use your muscles! And since most people over 40 don’t have many opportunities to use their muscles in their daily ives, strength training becomes a necessity.

You should focus on building functional strength rather than obsessing over the weight machines at the gym. For instance, you’re better off doing squats and lunges to strengthen your quads than spending hours on the leg press machine.

Functional strength enables you to put your shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle joints through a full range of motion without pain and stiffness. It’s the type of strength you need as you grow older because you’re likelier to find yourself picking up kids, climbing stairs, and loading heavy groceries into the car rather than pushing a sled uphill with your legs, or lifting a heavy load overhead like a competitive weight lifter.

Do Balance Exercises

Don’t wait until you begin toppling over to start working on your balance. Something as simple as standing on one leg like a stork when you’re brushing your teeth goes a long way in retaining and improving your balance. Other simple balance exercises include side leg raises, standing on your toes, and walking heel-to-toe.

You may not be able to fight the biology of aging, but you can work around it. Eat more protein, build functional strength and do balance exercises. With easy lifestyle habits like these, you won’t have to worry about your metabolism slowing down or feeling weak and wobbly with age.

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