It's Different Now...
It used to be easy to eat whatever you wanted and still stay in shape, but as the years passed, it got harder and harder. If you're trying to figure out how to get and stay fit over 40, you're not alone. Here are five steps to getting into the best shape of your life.
1. Remember that you're not 20 anymore.
Just because you still feel young mentally and aren't having any major health issues doesn't mean your body can do the same things it did when you were 20. Your body has aged and your hormones are different, which makes it harder to lose fat and build muscle. Just because you could drop 10 pounds in a week when you were 20 doesn't mean it can -- or should -- still happen. Now's the time in your life to appreciate your body for all it's gone through and done for you so far, not crash diet or decide you're going to run a marathon next month.
2. Accept that it's going to be harder.
Magic bullets and amazing shortcuts just don't exist. If you want to get fit after 40, you're going to have to make the commitment to yourself and put in plain old hard work. You may have been able to skip workouts without losing fitness or changing your body composition when you were younger, but at this age, consistency is key. Choose a realistic goal and break it into more easily achievable short-term goals to help you stay motivated. Pick a plan you can stick with, and just do it.
3. Switch things up.
If you used to run 5 miles a day and stay in great shape, it's easy to get frustrated when that same plan doesn't yield the same results after 40. While cardio is still an important part of your overall fitness, weight-bearing exercises like lunges, squats and good old-fashioned planks can be done anywhere, require no equipment and are highly effective. You'll also likely want to include some mobility exercises and plenty of stretching -- warm ups and cool downs are a must -- to keep your joints and muscles moving their best. You may also find that you have to do a different workout each week or incorporate cross training like yoga or hiking. Bottom line: Your body needs to constantly be doing something different to get the best results.
4. Surround yourself with support.
Get yourself a support team that understands the particular challenges men face trying to get back in shape after 40. Maybe you can get a group of like-minded family and friends together to workout locally, but there are also ways to connect to others via social media, such as Facebook groups. At Fit Old Man, we know that support is crucial to keeping you on track, and that's why we offer online and in-person events and a way for our members to ask questions and celebrate accomplishments via Facebook. The more people you have around you who share your goals and determination to live a healthy, fit lifestyle, the easier it will be to stay on track.
5. Keep the payoff in mind.
Is getting and staying fit over 40 hard? Yes. Is it harder than when you were younger? Yes. Is it worth it? YES. Getting older doesn't have to mean being out of shape. In fact, it's possible to be in even better shape than you were 20 years ago. It takes work and dedication, but the payoff can't be beat.