Aging is almost always accompanied with frailty and fatigue. So are these then the inevitabilities of old age or could it be the result of the various lifestyle choices that you make as you age? Having said that, there are so many examples over the web, examples of how athletes above the age of 40 are still signing up for the most premium offers in the most premium clubs. Sure, you aren’t an athlete (risking generalizing) and neither is this article trying to focus on how to get the ‘athlete bod’ if you have crossed the 40 or 45 borderline. However, as inevitable as old age is, shrinking muscle mass needn’t be.
With age, the reason and hence, the structure of your workouts change (or at least it should!). The rave that are beach muscles usually cease to stick around beyond 30, and into the 40s, you would ideally want strong (read functional here) muscles that can guard against age related muscle mass concerns. So that is why it isn’t hard to figure out why the very ‘cosmetic’ idea of muscles gradually assumes a more ‘functional and utilitarian’ dimension.
It surely won’t be a sweeping statement to make that most men over the age of 40 are also handling serious work that spans over 40 hours every week, coupled with familial responsibilities and ever reducing social life. With restrictions and constraints hitting you like a landslide, there isn’t much time you can afford to waste on a marginally functional exercise regimen that does little for your body.
In terms of information, what we have today is a problem of plenty; there are scores of websites over the web that talk about a thousand different exercises. Every kid around the block with a fancy phone could search up the internet and offer you his 2 cents worth advice. However, for older men, it is of great importance that they choose not only the most effective exercises, but also the safest ones. As you enter your 40’s (or the League of Handsome Gentlemen at that!), you need to simplify your exercise and eating. Remember, it’s no more about flexing, rather having a good time with your family without any unnecessary complication.
Build your training regimen around exercises that target many muscle groups at the same time. Result: higher energy expenditure, favorable hormone response, greater fat burn and stronger muscle mass.
Workout#1: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
Objective: Burn calories as efficiently and quick as possible
What is it?
Proven to be a great metabolic booster and beneficial for your ticker, the HIIT circuit focuses on alternate short bursts of energy (high intensity, to be precise) followed by active rest (a low intensity period).
How do I do it?
A High Intensity Interval Training circuit can be done with the usual exercises that you do; be it cardio, body weight exercise or weights. Listed below is one such sample HIIT circuit that you can do on your cardio equipment:
- Low intensity stretching and warm up- 3 minutes
- High intensity exercise- 30 seconds
- Low intensity exercises- 30 seconds
- Repeat the loop 15 times
- Low intensity (rest) period- 3 minutes
Workout#2: Strength Training for the body
Objective: Increase general body strength as well as improving muscle tone
What is it?
Strength training ensures that your muscle mass doesn’t have to take complete beating of your age. These exercises, while being functional, also make you go easy on your wife’s or girlfriend’s eye. The lean muscles of your body are the muscle clusters that increase metabolism and burn fat; and these strength training exercises do just what is needed to pile up on lean muscles while building core strength. Although these exercises can help you irrespective of your age, they assume quadruple importance as you inch towards your 50’s because of the simple reason that they insulate against a waning muscle tone that’s so common with the years rolling down. All of this implying that you will have to continuously train and use your muscles because the old maxim of ‘Use them or lose them’ is the classical truth when it concerns your brawn.
How do I do it?
Strength training exercises will be at their effective best when coupled with movements that target multiple muscle clusters. The best exercises in this regard would be squats, pull-ups and dead lifts. A sample training routine has been charted below so that you can get started on them right away:
- Warm up (skipping, rower, etc.)- 4-5 minutes
- For your legs- 3 reps of 10-15 Squats (preferably with dumbbells, barbells or kettle bells)
- For your back- 3 reps of 10-12 Rows (preferably with dumbbells)
- For your chest- 3 reps of 10 Chest Press
- For your shoulders- 3 reps of 10-12 Shoulder Press
- The Finisher- 2 reps of 10 Dead Lifts (make sure you are keeping your back straight and core tight)
- Cooling down period- 2 to 3 minutes of treadmill on low inclination and moderate speed
What if you do not have weights at your disposal?
Even without weights, you can still do them using your own body weight. A sample has been chalked out below so that you can’t blame your laziness on the lack of weights:
- Warm up- 4-5 minutes of rower, skipping
- For your legs- Jump Squats (30-40 seconds) x 2-3 reps
- For your back- Pull-Ups (10-12 x 3 reps)
- For your chest- 20 Push-ups x 3 reps
- For your shoulders- 20 Incline Push-ups (with your feet elevated) x 3 reps
- Cooling down period (walk outside for 5 minutes)
Workout#3: Mobility and Flexibility
Objective: To keep body pain and aches away while minimizing risks of injury
What is it?
It’s almost like a complementary offer; buy age and you get body aches, clicking ankles and a stiff back that you have no idea why it happened. But that doesn’t mean that you have to put up with it. Warming up before exercises never falls out of fashion, more so when you are not on the sunshine side of your 40s. Nonetheless, ineffective or insufficient warm up exercises are the perfect recipe for discomfort, pain and probable injuries. That’s because when you don’t warm up your muscles, they remain cold, just the way they were when you woke up in the morning. Exercises don’t sound good to cold muscles.
How do I do it?
Prior to your workout:
- 3 minutes of light cardio
- 5 minutes of stretching of all the joints in your body
- 5 minutes of cooling down on a treadmill with moderate speed and low inclination
- 30 seconds Static Stretches
Once you are in your 40s, the responsibilities seem to snowball in a jiffy. Considering all the constraints on time, these 3 exercises could absolutely be your ticket to fitness and health.
Also, HIIT includes exercises that are quick and easy, which makes it tempting to train every day. So one should be cautious and not over train. Overtraining increases the possibility of a ligament tear or joint dislocation. In such instances, make it a point to get in touch with a physiotherapist without delay.