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getting back in shape

Getting back in shape your 40s 

Getting back in shape, how to start training in your 40s. Sooner or later we all come to realize that health is not given and it’s (one of) our most precious asset. So we should treat it that way. However starting or restarting a healthier lifestyle, regular training has its traps. Not even a few. So let me give you some tips how not to become one of those dreaded new year resolutioners who flood the gyms every January and fade away by February. Doesn’t matter if you had previous training background or not, this all applies to you too. 

Getting back in shape 

In your mission for healthy training you can’t just do hours on the treadmill or bench press every day. 

People tend confuse cardio training or weight lifting with fitness. Although each has a very important role but neither is solely responsible for making you fit. Actually there are more components to fitness but for the purpose of this article we’re going to focus on the big three: 

  1. Cardiovascular endurance
  2. Muscular fitness
  3. Flexibility 

Cardiovascular endurance 

This is essentially the health of your heart. How efficient can it pump blood through your body. A fit heart needs less beats per minute to push the same amount of blood hence the lower resting heart rate of athletes. It’s a very good measure that I can’t recommend enough to keep in check. 

Anything that elevates your heart rate and keeps it there for a sustained period of time (over 30 minutes) is considered cardio training. Keep in mind that this has to be somewhere in the low-medium effort range. Anaerobic training has it’s place but that’s a different purpose. 

Muscular fitness Increase muscle vs fat

Muscular fitness is your ability to lift heavy things, fast and do these for longer period of time (strength, power and muscular endurance). Resistance training is the primary source of muscular fitness that has a lot of additional benefits: 

  • Prevents the muscle breakdown as you age 
  • Numerous studies showed the positive effects of weight training on bone density 
  • Muscle has higher resting metabolic rate which means you burn more fat 

Flexibility stretching increases your flexibility

Sometimes called mobility has major role in your well-being. Having the full range of motion of your muscles will help prevent injuries and make your training more efficient. A frequently neglected but equally important part of your training regime should be stretching and mobilization. 

Start slow build incrementally 

Before doing anything the most important thing is not to over commit. It’s easy to get carried away by the newly gained motivation and excitement but that won’t be there forever. If you jump in to training 5 times a week from 0 you will quickly exhaust yourself, start skipping days then weeks and eventually you’ll be back to coach potato status. Instead it’s a much better approach to slowly build up the frequency to a level you’re comfortable with on long term. Let’s just start with 2- 3 days a week. Learn how your body reacts and recovers from the previous session. 

Fuel your body 

With your new training it’s going to be important to fuel your body with the right nutrition. This on its own could be another full article so I’ll just mention that instead of trying a new diet I’d recommend just try to make healthier choices and change your habits. Water instead of soda, maybe skip the cake after lunch or dinner, have some eggs for breakfast instead of croissant. 

First month 

Our focus for the first month should be to prepare the body for the increased demand it will be put through. 

Stretch and strengthen 

If you’ve been sedentary in the last couple of years (no matter your training background) chances are you will have some tight and some weakened muscles due to the inactive lifestyle, sitting in an office and hunching over a keyboard for the most part of the day. It’s a good idea to address these before starting lifting heavier weights or strain your joints with excess cardio. 

To stretch: hamstrings, hip flexors, shoulders and pectoralis muscles To strengthen: glutes, abs, upper back muscles (between the shoulder blades) 

Do the following routine 2-3 times a week. Feel free to vary the stretches and exercises if you get bored as long as they target the same area. 

Sample workout 

  1. Hip flexor stretch 1 minute each side 
  2. Hamstring stretch with a towel or resistance band while laying on the 

back 2 minute each side 3. Wall pec stretch 1 minute each side 4. Glute bridge 3×10 with 4 seconds lowering 5. Plank 3×30 seconds 6. No money exercise with resistance bands 3×10 (4 seconds hold in contraction) 

Low intensity cardio 

So, how to start training in your 40s? You should start doing 2-3 times a week some very low intensity cardio exercise for at least 20-30 minutes. This can be walking your dog, taking the kids home from school with bicycle or anything that you find easy to fit to your weekly routine.

walking with dog

If you have any cardio machine at home like a treadmill, bike, rower, etc. that’s perfect too. Just choose the intensity low enough that you can relatively comfortably keep a conversation during the whole time. 

Once you’ve finished with the first month you’re ready for increasing the intensity and do some heavier workout. Check out or 12 week weight loss program: workout-program-for-men/ 


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