In shape at 40

The Fit Father’s 5 Step Guide to Getting in Shape at 40

If getting in shape at 40 seems like a long shot, this article will be your saving grace. The Fit Father Project has designed a range of solutions to help you lose weight, build muscle and feel better than you have in a long time.

The Fit Father Project has already helped thousands of men to improve their physical fitness and their possibilities for the future. Men just like you are getting in shape; not just doing it for themselves, but for their families and loved ones.

They are the proof that what you want to achieve is possible.

Prevention Is Easier Than Cure

In the world of medicine, most doctors will agree that it is easier to prevent a disease from happening than it is to cure it.

Unfortunately, this is not always an option when dealing with your fitness.

There are simply too many factors which can ensure you are out of shape before you even realize it:

  • Time – As you get older and your family grows, your free-time quickly gets absorbed by so many things on your daily rota.

Between family responsibilities, work duties, and home maintenance, we understand it can be difficult to maintain a disciplined workout schedule.

BUT… Keep reading below to see how you can learn to ‘make’ time for your workouts.

  • Metabolism – It is simply a fact of life that as you age your body changes.

Two big changes that have an effect on men’s body composition are a slowing metabolism and reduced testosterone levels.

These two natural changes will, unfortunately, lead to decreased muscle mass and increased body fat.

Therefore, if you continue to eat in the same way as you have always done, this metabolic change will mean you don’t naturally shift as many calories as you previously did.

BUT… More effective exercise will help to address this metabolic shift and reduction in natural testosterone.

  • Motivation – There are so many different workouts and diet options around these days, it can be hard to know which one will suit you best.

Information overload can often lead to inactivity and a downer to your motivation.

BUT… in this article, we’ll show you simple and sustainable workout and eating habits that will be manageable and effective over the long term.

The Fit Father 5 Point Solution

Fortunately, we at the Fit Father Project are here to help.

It doesn’t need to be complicated or even hard work to start getting in shape at 40 or over.

You will, of course, need to exercise and slightly change your eating plan.

However, you will want to, you will actually enjoy it, and you will not have a problem with finding the time!

Step #1 – Mentally Prepare Yourself For Success.

You have to believe you’re going to succeed in your goal of getting in shape at 40.

Without this drive you will still struggle to develop the healthy habits and lifestyle changes that are essential to finding the new you:

The Trigger

Most men will have a trigger that focuses them on getting into shape.

It may be something as simple as wanting to run with your children. It might be a particular photo that shocks you with how you look.

Whatever the trigger is, you need to hold onto this. For example, if one picture has suddenly opened your eyes to the weight you have gained over the years, then keep it with you.

If you ever struggle with motivation, one look at this picture will ensure you are ready to exercise.

Step #2 – Give Yourself A Bedtime.

You may have thought that you no longer need a bedtime; this is something that you do for children to ensure they get enough sleep, (or to make sure you have an evening).

However, you need to get at least 6 or 7 hours sleep a night.

The best way to achieve this is to fix your sleep schedule and set yourself a bedtime.

Instead of focusing on the next film, regardless of what time it ends, know that you need to go to bed.

Of course, you should ask why getting to bed on time matters for getting into shape.

Other than possibly giving you an energy boost it may not feel that important.

But it is! When you sleep, your body balances your hormone levels.

Ghrelin levels decrease when you sleep. As this is the hormone that tells your body when you are hungry, lower levels are good!

At the same time sleeping increases your levels of leptin, which is the hormone that tells your body you have had enough to eat. In this case, higher levels are what you need.

Step #3 – Plan, Prepare and Pack Your Meals.

The Fit Father Project has designed a range of meal plans, which you can sample with our free 1-day meal plan which will illustrate the sorts of food you should be eating and how easy it is to adjust your eating habits.

The first step, which you can take right now, is to stop eating processed foods.

Don’t attempt to do this just for you; think of your family as well.

The eating habits you establish today will build their habits for the future.

To achieve this, you can:

  • Remove processed foods from your shopping and focus on vegetables and lean protein.
  • Create an eating schedule to ensure you eat properly throughout the day.
  • Prepare your meals in advance. This will take away any decisions where you might otherwise select an unhealthy ‘on-the-go’ snack.
  • Stick to foods you like. This is a lifestyle change, not a temporary diet.

Step #4 – Start Walking.

Although healthy eating will have the biggest effect on getting in shape at 40, you do still need to exercise, or at least perform physical activity each day.

There is a simple reason for this: exercise increases the level of lean muscle in your body.

Muscle burns more calories than fat. So, the higher your muscle (and lower your fat), the more calories you can consume without gaining weight.

This does not mean that if you exercise you can eat what you like!

The two factors must work in conjunction.

Why walking?

Walking is something you already do every day, so it should be fairly easy to increase the amount you do.

You don’t need to focus on the pedometers which show you how many steps you have taken.

There is one simple step you can take to ensure you are doing enough physical activity:

Walk for half an hour each day.

You can choose to commute on foot instead of the car, walk at lunch break or even first thing in the morning.

The important thing is to build a habit of this simple activity.

It is the cornerstone of having enough time to introduce more intensive and productive exercise.

Step #5 – Build A More Intense Workout.

There are many websites and friends who will advise you regarding the best workout you should do.

While some of them may have your best interests at heart, not all of them will.

Much of the time the issue is that you do not have the time or motivation to stick to a workout.

Fortunately, by following these guidelines, you will.

Simply replace your habitual walk with the Fit Father 24-min fat burning workout.

This workout, along with the many others that you can access through the Fit Father Project, can be achieved in less than half an hour!

It focuses on high-intensity exercises that produce maximum results in the minimal possible time; allowing you to slot it easily into your busy schedule and join the thousands of other men over 40 who have added getting in shape to their achievements; even past 40, 50 or 60!

Getting in Shape At 40 is Possible With The Fit Father Project.

The Fit Father project is here to help you.

You can get our free 1-Day meal plan and our 24-minute fat burning workout for free.

Or you can visit our FF30X program overview page and start getting in shape with our full program, today.

So, if this has fired you up to start getting in shape at 40 and become the fittest father on your block, all you need to do is follow these 5 steps.

Getting in shape has never been so easy, and we know you’ll actually enjoy it!

Most importantly, you will be there to support your children and even outrun them, for years to come.

Remember:

We are here to support you and guide you on every step of your journey; it doesn’t matter what your current level of fitness is; you can improve your lean muscle mass and reduce your body fat.

If you’ve found this article useful, we have social media buttons on the left and below. Just click them to share via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Until next time, I hope this has given you everything you need to start getting in shape at 40.

Your new friend & health coach,

Stuart Carter
Head Training Staff, The Fit Father Project
Brotherhood Nickname: “The Fit Brit”
Bragging Rights: 16 Years in the fitness industry, Author of ‘The Easy Fitness Guide’, Father of 4 boys and Husband to a Venezuelan beauty. If you’re interested in a proven and completely laid out “done-for-you” weight loss meal plan & workout routine – designed for you as a busy man…

I’d recommend you read the program overview letter for our Fit Father 30-Day Program (FF30X). Inside FF30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Father Meal Plan
  • The metabolism boosting Fit Father 30X Workout (under 90 min/week)
  • VIP email coaching where I’ll personally walk you through the program

Read the FF30X Program overview letter here to see how our plan can help you lose weight – without the complication & restriction of normal diets.

Small note about research cited in this article:
*Always remember: weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual. Just because these studies cite certain data does not mean you will experience these results/outcomes. Always consult with your doctor before making decisions about your health. This is not medical advice – simply well-researched information on getting in shape at 40. Thanks for reading!

Fitness Success After 40, Part 1: Know Your Body Type!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

  • By strength training, you add new muscle mass and increase cardiovascular endurance.
  • Be careful, an injury at forty will take much longer to heal than when you were twenty.
  • Exercise and physical activity can help build strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance.

Getting fit after the age of forty can be daunting. Not only do we have to build muscle where there is none, but due to the aging process, our skin has started to lose elasticity and has blessed us with saggy knees and behinds, networks of fine lines on our face, hands and arms, joints that are more susceptible to injury, cellulite in places other than just our thighs and, joy of joys, hormone fluctuations as our bodies try to come to terms with the fact that our child-bearing years are over. Aren’t we lucky!

But if you haven’t been in shape and decide it’s time to give it a go, you have made the wisest decision of your life! There has been much research conducted on the benefits of exercising to us Baby Boomers.


Click Image To Enlarge.
If You Haven’t Been In Shape And Decide It’s Time To Give
It A Go, You Have Made The Wisest Decision Of Your Life!


The Benefits Of Exercise

Recent studies have shown that exercise and physical activity can help you maintain or partly restore your strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance.

The American Heart Association states that regular, moderately intense physical activity can lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

And if that weren’t enough reason to exercise, you will also sleep better, feel better overall, deal with stress better, have more energy and have a better outlook on life.

When you turn 40, you have to realize that your joints are also 40 years old, and you may need to modify your exercise intensity and routine in keeping with the physical, physiological and hormonal changes that have and are taking place.

Since there is a tendency to gain about 10 pounds per decade after age 40, (primarily due to loss in muscle mass – if you gain 10 pounds after 40, the net gain is usually from adding 15 pounds of fat and losing five pounds of muscle).

The normal reaction to this phenomenon is dieting, which leads to further muscle loss. Each lost pound of muscle depresses the body’s metabolism by about 40 calories a day.


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Exercise And Physical Activity Can Help You Maintain Or Partly
Restore Your Strength, Balance, Flexibility, And Endurance.


Preserve Your Muscle Mass

An aerobic routine coupled with strength training, a healthy diet and stretching can replace the lost muscle, get the body’s metabolism back up, and keep weight off permanently. So your goal needs to be on exercise, strength training and eating right.

By strength training, you add new muscle mass and increase cardiovascular endurance, both good things. But as mentioned before, you need to be aware of your joints and take things slow and easy.

An injury at forty will take much longer to heal than when you were twenty. And chances are that being unable to exercise will cause you to slide back into your old habits – which of course will lead to putting on weight and losing the firm body you have worked so hard for.

That being said, you need to remember this: when starting a new exercise regimen, moderation is the key. Start with low-impact exercises, low weights when weight lifting and be sure to include lots of stretches before, during and after your workouts.


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By Strength Training, You Add New Muscle
Mass And Increase Cardiovascular Endurance.

Train For Your Body Type

Just as when you were younger, your body type will determine how easily – and just how much – muscle you can add. Granted, most of us over forty don’t want to look like bodybuilders, but then again there are some who do and to them I say: Go for it!

There are three basic types: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph. Typically the ectomorphs are the “hard-gainers”, those who most likely have been slim all their lives and have small frames, little fat and long, lean muscles. Picture those Ethiopian runners competing in track and field events. They epitomize ectomorphs.

A mesomorph is a body that is in most ways “average,” not overly large and muscular and not round and fat. The real difference between an ecto and a meso is the ability to gain both fat and muscle.

Ectos have difficulty gaining either while mesos can grow fat if they are inactive and overeat and likewise can transform into hard bodies with a modicum of effort. Many NFL Quarterbacks are good examples of Mesomorphs.

Lastly is the endomorph. These body types are typically rounded with belly fat, hips (for women) and double chins. They can, however, add muscle fairly easily when it is approached correctly and combined with clean eating and the addition of cardio.

Many large bodybuilders are endomorphs, having to restrict caloric intake drastically (i.e. a cutting diet) prior to a competition to reveal the massive lean muscles they have developed that lie hidden under a sheath of body fat.

Know Your Body Type

While there are a few people who are truly one body type or another, most of us are a combination of two, with one type being more dominant than the other.

Knowing your own body type will help you understand both your nutritional and exercise needs for losing fat and gaining muscle, and will also help you to plan a long-term strategy that is reasonable and does not set you up for disappointment.

In other words, if you are an ectomorph, don’t expect to have bulging biceps overnight. It is going to take time for you to add that extra lean mass.

Here are training and nutrition regimens broken out into the three major body types. These are not meant to turn you into Hercules or Sheena, these are meant to increase your strength, lean muscle mass and overall fitness level. Again, you may need to adapt your routine to coincide with your own unique body type.


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Knowing Your Own Body Type Will Help You Understand Both Your
Nutritional And Exercise Needs For Losing Fat And Gaining Muscle.

Ectomorphs

Weight Training:

  • Always warm up muscles and stretch lightly before picking up any weights
  • Employ split-training, working one or two body parts each workout to target muscle groups
  • Train each body part twice a week if possible
  • Aim for eight to ten repetitions per set and do two to three sets of each exercise
  • Get plenty of rest between workouts; never train if scheduled body part is still sore from previous workout
  • Try different routines and exercises for muscle confusion
  • Increase training intensity slowly to avoid strain or injury
  • If you stay sore for more than three days chances are you are lifting too heavy, scale back on your weight and increase slowly
  • If gains in muscle and strength seem stagnant, try adding weight until you are limited to eight reps per set
  • Work your abs three times per week, three sets of 25 of two different exercises (crunches and lying leg lifts for example)

Cardio:

  • Keep cardio activity to a minimum, no more than three times per week
  • Keep cardio conditioning at70% of your max heart rate for no more than 20 minutes per session.
  • Cool down for five minutes after your cardio session (walking is perfect)
  • Good cardio exercises include the elliptical machine, stationary or recumbent bike, the treadmill and walking outdoors

Nutrition:

  • A clean diet and proper supplementation are extremely important
  • Consume six small meals per day
  • Make sure your daily protein intake is 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight
  • Protein intake should be 30% of daily dietary intake; carbohydrates about 50%; fats 20%
  • Drink a protein shake after your workout and one at bedtime
  • Increase daily intake of fibrous carbohydrates whilst limiting the intake of simple sugars
  • Eat slower burning glycemic index foods such as beans, corn, sweet potatoes, oats, pasta, brown rice, whole grain breads
  • Drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of water per day (one gallon). Coffee and tea don’t count
  • Limit or eliminate alcohol
  • If you smoke you must give it up (you should anyway!)

Mesomorphs

Weight Training:

  • Always warm up muscles and stretch lightly before picking up any weights
  • Employ split-training, working two body parts each workout to target muscle groups, do upper body parts first then follow with lower body parts
  • Aim for three sets of eight for each exercise
  • Train each body part twice a week if possible
  • Get plenty of rest between workouts; never train if scheduled body part is sore from previous workout
  • Change your workout routine every two months by adding new exercises
  • Increase training intensity slowly to avoid strain or injury
  • If gains in muscle and strength seem stagnant, try adding weight and add one set to each of your exercises
  • Work your abs three to four times per week, three sets of 25 of two different exercises (crunches and lying leg lifts for example)

Cardio:

  • Undertake some cardio activity three times per week for 30 minutes
  • Keep cardio conditioning at70% of your max heart rate for no more than 20 minutes per session until you build your cardiovascular system, then you can raise your target heart rate.
  • Always cool down for five minutes after your cardio session (walking is perfect)
  • Good cardio exercises include the elliptical machine, stationary or recumbent bike, the treadmill, Jazzercise, jogging and brisk walking outdoors


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Keep Cardio Activity To A Minimum,
No More Than Three Times Per Week.

Nutrition:

  • A clean diet and proper supplementation are extremely important
  • Consume five or six small meals per day
  • Make sure your daily protein intake is 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight
  • Protein intake should be 25 – 30% of daily dietary intake; carbohydrates about 50%; fats 20%
  • Drink a protein shake mid-morning and after your workout
  • Use low-fat (2% milk) for your protein shakes
  • Increase daily intake of fibrous carbohydrates whilst limiting the intake of simple sugars
  • Eat slower burning glycemic index foods such as beans, corn, sweet potatoes, oats, pasta, brown rice, whole grain breads
  • Drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of water per day (one gallon). Coffee and tea don’t count
  • Limit or eliminate alcohol
  • If you smoke you must give it up (you should do this regardless)

Endomorphs

Weight Training:

  • Always warm up muscles and stretch lightly before picking up any weights
  • Employ split-training, working two body parts each workout to target muscle groups
  • Train each body part twice a week if possible
  • Aim for three sets of no more than eight repetitions. When you can easily do eight, increase the weight
  • Get plenty of rest between workouts; never train if scheduled body part is sore from previous workout
  • Try different routines and exercises for muscle confusion
  • Increase training intensity slowly to avoid strain or injury
  • Train hard for maximum fat-burning effect while building lean mass
  • Work your abs three to four times per week, three sets of 25 of two different exercises (crunches and lying leg lifts for example)


Click Image To Enlarge.
Try Different Routines And
Exercises For Muscle Confusion.

Cardio:

  • Undertake some cardio activity a minimum of three times per week for 30 minutes – five times is best
  • Keep cardio conditioning at70% of your max heart rate for no more than 20 minutes per session until you build your cardiovascular system, then you can raise your target heart rate.
  • Always cool down for five minutes after your cardio session (walking is perfect)
  • Good cardio exercises include the elliptical machine, stationary or recumbent bike, the treadmill, Jazzercise, running, biking and jogging
  • For added fat burning find a good HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) program and work into it slowly

Nutrition:

  • A clean diet and proper supplementation are crucial
  • Consume five or six small meals per day, watching your calorie intake closely
  • Make sure your daily protein intake is 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight
  • Protein intake should be 25 – 30% of daily dietary intake; carbohydrates about 50%; fats 20%
  • Drink a protein shake after your workout and one at bedtime
  • Use non-fat milk for your protein shakes
  • Increase daily intake of fibrous carbohydrates whilst limiting the intake of simple sugars
  • Eat slower burning glycemic index foods such as beans, corn, sweet potatoes, oats, pasta, brown rice, whole grain breads
  • Drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of water per day (one gallon). Coffee and tea don’t count
  • Limit or eliminate alcohol
  • If you smoke you must give it up (you should do this regardless)


Click Image To Enlarge.
A Clean Diet And Proper
Supplementation Are Crucial.

Conclusion

Regardless of your individual body type, there are several constants that cross the Ecto, Meso and Endo boundaries:

  • You must lift weights on a regular and consistent basis.
  • You must always warm up and stretch prior to working out.
  • You must undertake some cardio activity a minimum of 3 times per week.
  • You must eat clean and supplement your diet.
  • You must increase your protein intake to feed your muscles.
  • You must start out slow and avoid injury.
  • You must drink a gallon of water per day.
  • You must limit or eliminate alcohol.
  • You must quit smoking if you are a smoker.
  • After the age of forty, adding muscle and losing fat will take a little longer – the important thing to remember is don’t rush it.

Yes, it may take a little longer to achieve the hard body you desire, but with patience and determination it can be done. No matter your age, make a commitment to fitness that lasts a lifetime.

Coming up in Part Two: Muscle-Building Basics – Sue Wilkerson will give you insight into how and why muscles grow and what to expect when embarking on your muscle-building journey.

Recommended Articles:

Mom of 2 Gets Fit After 40: ‘It’s Never Too Late’

Sloane Davis Source: Sloane Davis/Instagram

Sloane Davis had always considered herself healthy, but was frustrated because she couldn’t seem to get a toned tummy.

“I was always taking exercise classes, but I really wanted to see my abs — as silly as that sounds — and I was always told that abs were made in the kitchen, so I thought that by getting leaner and leaner I would be able to see them,” Davis, 45, tells PEOPLE.

The New York-based mom-of-two said she was losing weight but wasn’t seeing the results she wanted, so when she was 40, she decided to seek out advice from a professional.

“He told me that I was ‘skinny fat,’ that I wasn’t eating enough, and that I needed to build muscle,” she says. “That’s when I found flexible dieting, macronutrients, which are proteins, fats and carbs.”

Davis says she actually wasn’t eating enough carbs to gain muscle tone.

“I learned that carbs fuel your energy and your workouts, and if you don’t have enough you can’t fuel a heavy workout,” she says. “I learned that food is fuel. Instead of always trying to negate what we eat, I learned to use it to fuel a heavy workout.”

Davis also began adding weight lifting to her workouts.

WATCH: Want to Lose Weight by Eating Pizza?

“Over time my body definitely changed,” she says. “Muscle takes up less space in your body, so you’re able to become much leaner, smaller and tighter all around. Muscle burns more energy while resting – the more muscle you have in your body, the more energy you’re burning. The only way to truly transform your body is by lifting weights.”

Davis’ transformation was so stunning that many people began asking her how she did it.

“I really didn’t have any credibility to tell anybody what to do, but I felt like I had a little secret inside of me that I wanted to share,” she says. “I went back to school, and got nutrition and personal training. I started a business on social media, and have over 200 clients now in a year and a half. It’s been great!”

The Pancakes and Push-Ups founder assures her clients that they are never too old to get healthy.

“It’s never too late,” she says. “And I think weight lifting is even more important as we get older.”

She also advises her clients on how to eat well — not less.

“People don’t need to starve themselves in order to lose weight,” she says. “When you make healthier choices, there’s more volume in the food. You’re able if you want that half a cup of ice cream at the end of the day. There’s no foods that are off limits, so there’s no reason to have an unhealthy relationship with food.”

Many think of exercise as the solution for all of their health woes—even those related to the aging process. Of course, no amount of physical activity can stop us from getting older, but there’s plenty of evidence that proves that physical activity can increase life expectancy by limiting the development and progression of chronic diseases—something many folks start thinking about after they turn 40. (As you get older, you should be aware of these 5 deadliest diseases that aren’t heart disease or cancer.)

Want to get in the best shape of your life? In Fit After 40, Natalie Jill coaches you though routines to help you drop pounds, firm up, and transform your entire body — in your 40s, 50s and beyond!

“There comes a point when we realize we’re no longer invincible,” says Holly Perkins, a personal trainer and author of Lift to Get Lean. “Believe it or not, the body starts to decline after about 30, and that decline gets more aggressive every year.” The good news: Exercise not only helps you feel (and look!) better, it can also slow that decline, helping you stave off some common health conditions.

Here, five exercises you should start doing every week once you’re in your 40s to stay healthy, happy, and looking as great as you feel.

To prevent heart disease…

yellowdog/Getty Images

Try: Cardiovascular workouts, 3 to 4 times a week

Less than 1% of American women between the ages of 20 and 39 suffer from coronary heart disease, according to a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. However, among 40- to 59-year-olds, that number increases nearly 10-fold, to 5.6%. So how can you stay healthy?

The word “cardio” is short for “cardiovascular,” so many people know that this kind of heart-pumping exercise will keep the heart muscle strong, Perkins says. (Running, spinning, dancing, rowing, and swimming all count!) However, if you really want your heart health to benefit from your cardio workouts, you need to exercise at 80% of your maximum heart rate for at least 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week. (On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being as hard as you can push yourself, you should be around an 8.)

So, if you’re barely breaking a sweat while walking or taking it easy during your favorite Zumba class, it’s time to pick up your pace and increase your effort, Perkins says. “Cardio workouts should feel effortful—like you could do it forever but wouldn’t want to.” (For more ways to keep your most vital organ in prime condition, don’t miss these 28 ways to get a healthier heart.)

To ward off osteoporosis…

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Try: High-impact activities, 1 to 2 times a week

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 1 in 2 women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become brittle, increasing the risk of fractures.

MORE: 12 Ways To Break-Proof Your Bones

While you may already know that calcium can keep your skeletal system strong, recent research reveals that high-impact, weight-bearing exercise can help build bone strength, too, Perkins notes. “There’s still widespread misperception that high-impact activities do more harm than good, but that’s simply not the case—particularly when it comes to bone health,” she says.

“Dancing, jumping jacks, racquet sports, and even adding a light jog into your go-to walking workout are all great examples of exercise that can keep your bones strong.” (Not sure how to start jogging? Turn your walk into a run with the help of this 8-week training plan.)

To fight arthritis…

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Try: Strength training, 2 to 3 times a week

The risk of developing arthritis increases with age. However, chronic joint pain and stiffness can plague adults of all ages—especially those who are overweight and those who have suffered a previous joint injury, according to the Arthritis Foundation. That said, it’s never too soon to start protecting your body. (These 10 strength-training moves for women over 50 should definitely be part of your exercise routine.)

Strength training is one of the best ways to prevent the aches and pains. “Strength training has been proven to decrease pain associated with arthritis—and prevent its onset in the first place,” Perkins explains. And you don’t have to spend hours in the weight room to reap the benefits. “All you really need to do is some form of a squat, deadlift, and overhead press to strengthen multiple joints and muscles.” (Here’s how to perform a pain-free squat.)

To fight depression…

Hero Images/Getty Images

Try: Yoga, once a week

Women between ages 45 and 64 have an increased risk of depression, according to John Hopkins Medicine, one of the leading healthcare systems in the United States.

Though any form of exercise can help stave off anxiety and depression, a growing body of research shows yoga may be particularly beneficial for reducing stress and regulating mood. One study found that yoga increases levels of GABA, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter that’s typically deficient in those with depression and anxiety. Another study found that women suffering from mental distress were less stressed after participating in a three-month yoga class.

“We know that yoga is so good for stress reduction, and we know there’s a correlation between stress and mood disorders,” Perkins says. “Even better, certain styles of yoga are also a great weight-bearing strength workout and even offer some cardiovascular conditioning, making it a win all around.”

MORE: 10 Ways To Turn Around Your Mild Depression Before It Gets Worse

To fight back pain…

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Try: Holding a plank for 90 seconds, 3 times a week

Most people experience back pain for the first time between the ages of 30 to 40, and back pain becomes more common as we get older, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Strengthening your core can help ward off the pain. The plank is a great move to try because it tones all of the core muscles of the body. Not only does it work the abs, it also challenges the muscles in the chest and those surrounding the spine, Perkins explains. “As these muscles become stronger, your entire midsection tightens, which ultimately supports your lower back, keeping it pain-free.” (One writer took plank breaks at work every day for a month, and this is what happened.)

See how to do the perfect plank:

To ensure you’re holding the plank position correctly, stack your wrists under your elbows, position your elbows under your shoulders, and push the floor away from you with your feet. Your legs should be outstretched behind you, and your feet should be shoulder-distance apart. Also, be sure to pull your bellybutton in towards your spine to turn “on” your abs. Stay here for 30 seconds, come down to your knees to take a short break, and then repeat the exercise two more times. As you get stronger, try holding the position for 90 seconds without a break. (Want to add even more protective exercises to your routine? Try these 5 best moves to prevent and ease back pain.)

Get in the best shape of your life with our latest DVD!

Fit After 40!

The Decade-by-Decade Guide to Exercise

There’s a big difference between how we should work out in our 20s and how we should work out when…we’re no longer 20. Experts tell Carol Mithers how to find the perfect fit at any age. If there’s a magic pill for staying youthful, it may be one that’s hard to swallow: exercise. Daily doses have been proven to thwart a number of aging factors—stress, obesity, heart disease, diabetes—and the longer you’re physically active, the less you’ll notice getting older. The catch is that a 50-year-old’s body is not the same as a 20-year-old’s; you can’t push it the same way you once did, nor should you if you want to keep it in working-out order. So listen to these coaches—they’re talking not just professionally but also firsthand—on how to remain fit, and proud of it, through the decades.
In Your 20s: 30 minutes of weight training followed by 30 minutes of cardio 3x a week, plus 45 to 60 minutes of straight cardio 3x a week. One day of rest.
The great thing about being in your 20s is that your body is so strong, you can get away with abusing it. The bad thing is that you often do, punishing it with late nights and bad eating habits. And you routinely fail to appreciate what you’ve got. This is the decade of anxiety—frantic exercise, fad diets, the mad pursuit of pinup perfection and self-hatred when you fail to meet it. The fitness challenge of these years: Get over it.
“I tell my young clients, ‘Forget looking like Jessica Simpson or Halle Berry, and forget weight; think health,'” says Jeanette Jenkins, a Los Angeles–based private trainer who has worked with rapper Queen Latifah and actress Taryn Manning. The mistake many 20-somethings make is simply opting for “endless cardio and crunches,” adds Vanessa Carver, a personal trainer at Pillar Performance in Encinitas, whose clients include professional ice-skaters and dancers. Lots of cardio is great, she says, especially if you mix it up so you’re really pushing the body. But it’s weight training that builds muscle definition, not to mention bone density, which will be crucial for staying active later on and preventing osteoporosis. “You’ve got to lift more than just three or five pounds,” she says. “If you can do 10 to 15 repetitions of a weight with no real effort, it’s too light. The last 4 or 5 reps should be challenging enough that you feel your muscles getting fatigued.” And put your mind into it, she says. “Lifting weights while chatting on the cell phone is a joke.”
As for killer abs, “it’s about subcutaneous fat, not how many crunches you do,” says Carver. “There’s no secret here: Eat lean meat, lean fish, vegetables, and fruits.” She suggests forgoing thousands of bouncy, quick sit-ups for focused core work, which strengthens not only the abs but also stabilization muscles and lower back. One great exercise is the “plank.” In a push-up position, balancing on your forearms and toes with legs stretched straight back, pull your belly button toward your spine and hold it tight, keeping your back flat enough for someone to eat off of. Work up to staying there for a full minute. Jenkins also pushes yoga, “which women this age are usually not very attracted to. I want them to learn to be still and to look at themselves from the inside out rather than the outside in.”
Your 30s and 40s: Exercise is the #1 form of preventative medicine

Fitness Secrets for Women Over 40

As a woman in my 40s, I understand and appreciate the challenges that others in my age group face. Our waist lines want to expand even when we exercise and are careful with our nutrition.

What’s a woman to do? Sadly there isn’t a ‘magic formula’, but there is hope.

While it isn’t possible to ‘spot reduce’, which means to lose fat from specific target areas, (unless you resort to pricey surgical procedures) you can do exercises that will help tighten those TROUBLE SPOTS. Then, if you lose body fat, your problem areas will also be affected, giving you the look that you desire.

I find that many women in their forties experience weight gain around their middles, specifically; their tummies and behinds, resulting in a thicker waist and wider hips. Here are a few ‘SECRETS’ that you can employ to tap into the fountain of youth. I promise, you can feel better than you did in your thirties, look your best, and have energy to spare.

GET RID OF YOUR TREADMILL!

Yes, you read it right. If all you do on your treadmill (or any cardio machine) is long, slow, monotonous sessions, stop it! Sell your treadmill and make room in your house and life for some really effective fat burning exercise. And you don’t need to spend a lot of money!

Your body is all you need.

The key is that you must replace your long easy cardio sessions with short high intensity interval training sessions. This can be accomplished with a few simple body weight exercises such as the squat jump, jumping jack or stationary sprint.

The following is a perfect example of how you can add a set of fat burning exercise to your day, sacrificing very little time and space.

This is the SQUAT JUMP. (As you can see, you can modify this movement to your fitness level by reducing the height of the jump and the depth of the squat.) This is how you start your program. It’s simple!

  • Start with 20 seconds of squat jumps, follow with a 10 second recovery time.
  • Try to repeat this cycle for 5 minutes (or 10 total sets).
  • Now you can rest for up to one minute.

As your body adapts and your fitness level increases, add cycles until you can do another 5 minutes. You will burn a ton of calories in 10 minutes at this pace. Remember, this isn’t a slow, easy pace. You are trying to train at a high intensity level, so you should be breathing hard, and your heart rate should be up there.

  • From a squat position, powerfully jump to fully a extended position, raise arms overhead
  • Decelerate as your feet touch the ground, returning to the squat position
  • Modify by powerfully reaching to the ceiling without letting feet leave the ground.
  • You can also adjust the depth of your squat. Going deeper hits your rear and thighs more effectively.

PUSH YOUR WEIGHT AROUND!

To lose body fat, every woman MUST add some resistance training to their workout regime.

Your GOAL is to add muscle to your body. Muscle is active, calorie burning tissue that helps keep your metabolism going strong. The reason why many women in this age group are gaining weight while eating the same quantity of food is that they’ve lost some lean muscle mass due to a more sedentary lifestyle.

It’s a fallacy that our metabolism will slow down as we age, thus leading to that inevitable ‘middle age spread’ as we gain fat. By adding muscle building exercises 3-4 times a week, you will hold onto the muscle that you had in your twenties and thirties. In fact, if you work hard, you can even build a little extra.

This doesn’t mean that you need to join a gym or buy expensive equipment. It also doesn’t mean you are going to gain muscle bulk, or look masculine, which is another fallacy.

The female body simply isn’t capable of that unless you train very specifically with that goal in mind. Using your body weight as resistance is often more than enough weight, and you will achieve a beautifully feminine physique.

Here is a list of BENEFITS that you’ll get from weight training:

  • You will burn more fat than by doing cardio alone
  • You will change the shape of your body
  • You will boost your metabolism by retaining or building more muscle
  • You will increase strength, becoming more functional
  • You will build strong bones and combat osteoporosis
  • You will improve joint stability and reduce the risk of injury

WHICH BODY WEIGHT MOVEMENTS SHOULD I DO?

One of the most effective body weight exercises is the unsung push-up.

There is nothing new or glamorous about doing push-ups, but they work! You will work many of the muscles of the upper body, specifically the chest, shoulders and triceps. Many women complain that the backs of their arms are too flabby. Doing PUSH-UPS directly TARGETS those muscles. In addition, you will target the core muscles.

The key is to keep your back plank straight through out. If body weight is too much resistance when you first begin, there are a variety of ways to modify the resistance. Anyone can do some sort of push up to increase upper body strength, add muscle and work the core all at once.

WANT A TIGHT TUMMY? STOP DOING CRUNCHES!

The mid section is always a trouble spot for women in their forties. There is no magic bullet for this area, but the PLANK is one of the most effective exercises that you can safely perform to tone the abdominals. It effectively targets the abdominal area, and is much safer and easier to learn to perform than crunches. Having a strong core will reduce back aches and improve posture as well.

You start by holding the position shown in the photo for as long as you can. If that is too difficult, start on your knees. As you get stronger, hold that position for longer periods. If you started on your knees, soon you will graduate to your toes. Before you know it, you will be sporting a stronger, flatter tummy!

THE REALITY OF DIETING

There are several unavoidable truths about what you eat.

The first is, you cannot ‘out train poor nutritional choices’.

What this means is, regardless of how hard you train, if your diet is poor, you simply will never get the results you are longing for. The exercises and strategies listed above are some of the most effective ways to tone your muscles. The fact is, you will never actually see those muscles, or improve your trouble spots unless you make sound nutritional choices.

Secondly, going ‘on a diet’ is one of the most effective ways to GAIN weight! ’.

Lowering your calories excessively will result in a slower metabolism. Eventually, this leads to more body fat, and for most women, a revolving cycle. This will make you unhappy, and unhealthy. Making sure that your diet is jammed with nutritionally dense whole foods will multiply the results you will get from any workout regime you decide to use.

My TOP 3 nutritional tips are as follows:

  1. Eat 5-6 small meals daily. This ensures that you never get too hungry and overeat. As well, your body knows that there is a steady supply of food coming in. This will help boost your metabolism, which helps burn body fat.
  2. Include protein with every meal. This will help to stabilize blood sugar and help to control your appetite.
  3. Lower your intake of starchy carbs, and eat more fibrous carbs. Steer clear of refined sugar. Your mother was right. Eat your veggies! Eat breads and pastas in moderation. Never drink your calories. So stay away from soda pop, and choose whole fruit over fruit juice.

Women in their forties shouldn’t look matronly and feel old. Don’t settle for old stereotypes.

You can feel energized and fit doing simple exercises that you can do in the privacy of your own home. Heart pounding, challenging workouts will make remarkable differences to your trouble areas. Fitness and fat loss is not rocket science, but it does take some will power, and the willingness to invest a small amount of time.

Written By: Shawna Kaminski

Early to Rise

Established in 2001, Early to Rise publishes information dedicated to helping you live your best possible life. Here you’ll find effective and proven strategies to increase your health, wealth and productivity.

Gaining Muscle After 40: A Complete Beginner’s Guide!

So you have hit the big 4-0 and your life is starting to take shape, but your body is starting to suffer. The youth you once had is now starting to dwindle. You ask yourself, “Is it possible for me to regain the body I once had and put on some muscle at my age?” The simple answer is yes!

You can put on muscle after 40, but you will have to take a completely different approach than when you weight trained and dieted as a youth. Below I will discuss the training, cardio and nutrition you will need to focus on in your pursuit to a more muscular physique.

Training

As you age, the body is more susceptible to injury so several things need to change with your training:

  • Always warm up for at least 15 minutes on a piece of cardio equipment before you lift weights. This will increase your core temperature and help the blood flow for the workout to come.

  • Repetition range should be in the moderate to high range, 8-12 rep for upper body exercises and 12-20 rep for lower body exercises. Heavy weights put too much stress on the joints and ligaments. I want you to use moderate weight in the rep ranges listed above. This will stimulate your muscles enough for new growth.

  • Use a combination of free weights and machines. As a youth your body is able to use a lot more free weight exercises but as you age your stabilizer muscles start to weaken which can leave your ligaments and tendons in danger of injury. Using machine lowers this risk.

  • Your exercise form and posture needs to perfect. Your body doesn’t have the forgiveness of youth anymore so using poor form can easily result in injury.

  • Recovery time is a little longer so rest and recovery is critical; fewer days in the gym is going to be a must.

Those are some basic pointers you should look out for. Below is a sample workout program for a beginner lifter over the age of 40. This is a 3-day full-body workout program.

Day 1 1 3 sets, 12 reps + 8 more exercises

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Day 2: Off + more exercises

Cardio

Cardio is critical for anyone over the age of 40 for several reasons. Once you get to 40 your metabolism is not as fast as it once was, so regular bouts of cardio will keep your body fat in check. Secondly and most important is your heart is at its mid life and keeping it strong and in shape will help you live a longer and fruitful life.

I want you to stick to 3-4, 20-30 minute low-intensity cardio sessions a week. This means walking or light jogging. I would stay away from any kind of running as this can be very strenuous on the knees and joints.

If you were a runner in your youth, again start with the low intensity bouts of cardio for the first month. After that, running once or twice a week on the treadmill or rubber track is fine. I would stay away from pavement as it is very unforgiving to the knees at any age. Remember, living a long and fruitful life always comes first and without a strong heart that can’t be done.

Nutrition

As discussed earlier, when you hit the big 4-0 your metabolism is slowing down, so your nutrition will have to be changed up a bit from when you were a youth. Extra carbs and calories you once were able to consume are going to have to be cut out of your diet. Our goal is to maximize muscle gain with minimal fat gain, so you will be eating at a slight surplus.

Cholesterol is also another big issue for many people over the age of 40. Your diet should be rich is healthy fats. Check out my shopping list article to show you which foods you should chose from when you are at the supermarket.

Below is a sample diet for a plus 40 year old weighing about 180 pounds who is looking to put on muscle mass:

Meal 1 Egg Whites 5 Eggs 1 Oatmeal 3/4 Meal 2 Protein Powder (scoops) 2 Peanut Butter (tbsp) 1 Almonds (oz) 1 Meal 3 Chicken (oz) 5 Brown Rice (cup) 1 Meal 4 Chicken (oz) 5 Pasta (oz) 2 Meal 5: Post Workout Protein Powder (scoops) 2 Banana 2 Meal 6 Steak (oz) 6 Olive Oil (tbsp) 1 Pecans (oz) 1

Supplements

  • Protein Powder: I use Isobolic by Nutrabolics, it’s a very high quality protein powder.
  • Glutamine: Helps with recovery. Take 5 grams with meals 1, 4, 5, and 6.
  • Test Booster: A quality test booster like HemoTest from Nutrabolics promotes already healthy testosterone levels.
  • Multivitamin: A high quality multivitamin/mineral will help you get all the nutrients you don’t receive from your diet. Vitabolic is what I use.

Preparation

Preparation is going to be critical. Making all your meals the night before is something you should consider to help conserve time. Bringing your meals to work will be a must, but what happens when you have a luncheon or big business dinner with clients?

Don’t fret, use your common sense. Order something that is similar to what you normally eat. Remember, life can not be restricted to chicken and rice, you can stray from the diet and still see results. Just don’t make a habit of it.

Conclusion

There you have it. No more excuses about being over the hill. You have all the pieces to the puzzle to increase your muscle mass after the age of 40.

If you were big into sports in your youth and fitness is still a huge part of your life, good on you. However, if you were an indoor kid, or if your athleticism stalled out in college, there’s still time to reap longevity benefits from exercising to get in shape in your 40s.

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that people who take up fitness in their 40s and keep it up into their senior years lower their mortality rate by 35 percent—about on par with lifelong exercisers.

Late fitness bloomers enjoyed a 40 percent decrease in deaths related to heart disease and a 15 percent decline in cancer-related mortality when compared with nonexercisers. Although researchers are still figuring out why, it may be that increasing exercise as you age stimulates the body’s natural defenses just when you need them the most.

If you’re ready to get in shape, ease into it to avoid injury. After all, you’re not a kid anymore.

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Getting Fit Over 40: The 7 Best Workout Routines for Beginners

Congratulations! You’re finally ready to shed some pounds, strengthen your heart and clear your mind.

While work-out routines are a dime a dozen, there are several routines that are proven to build strength, maintain bone density and improve balance, coordination, mobility and cardio.

While there’s been a lot of focus on the benefits of cardio training, strength training has tons of benefits as well. According to the CDC, strength training reduces the signs and symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, obesity and back pain. It even helps preserve brain function as we age.

Before starting any of the routines below, make sure to learn and focus on proper form. You should be constantly increasing your repetitions and weight to challenge your muscles to strengthen and grow.

1. 7 Minute Workout Routine

The first workout routine for beginners we’re going to preview was published in the American College of Sports Medecine’s Health and Fitness Journal. The now famous 7 minute workout was found to have phenomenal health benefits for both endurance and weight loss.

The 7 minute workout uses high intensity interval training, in a sequence of 12 exercises that last for 30 seconds each, with 10 seconds of rest in between each exercise. As you get stronger, you can repeat the cycle 2-3 times.

That said, beginners can start doing the routine only once, and you’ll still get lots of benefits.

The routine itself uses the following exercises:

  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Wall sit
  3. Push-up
  4. Abdominal crunches
  5. Step-up onto chair
  6. Body weight squat
  7. Tricep dip on chair
  8. Plank
  9. High knees running in place
  10. Lunge
  11. Push-up and rotate
  12. Side plank

*Repeat 2-3 times.

The routine works all of your major muscle groups and will get your heart rate soaring. What we love about the 7 minute workout, is that it’s quick and you can do it anywhere – your home, office or hotel room. No weights, mats or special clothing required.

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You can download a 7 minute workout app developed by the New York Times, or watch and follow through this video created by Lifehack:

2. Beginner Body Weight Routine (NerdFitness)

With one of the most popular workout websites out there, NerdFitness has developed a great body weight exercise routine that doesn’t require any equipment or weights and can be done just about anywhere.

We like this routine because it’s simple and effective. Do each exercise, and move onto the next without a break. After completing the round, rest for 30 seconds and repeat.

Do about 5 minutes of stretching to warm yourself up before starting the routine.

  • 20 body weight squats
  • 10 push ups
  • 20 walking lunges
  • 10 dumbbell rows (using a gallon milk jug)
  • 15 second plank
  • 30 jumping Jacks

*Repeat for 3 rounds

Do some stretches after you’ve finished your workout.

3. Starting Strength Beginner Barbell Routine

Starting Strength is one of the most popular, widely recommended and effective barbell routines out there. Around for almost 30 years, it’s simple to follow and only uses a barbell. Nothing else.

There are 2 workouts, which you do on alternate days. You only workout 3 days a week, and never 2 days in a row. Here’s the routine:

Starting Strength Workout 1

  • 3 Sets of 5 Reps – Squat
  • 3 Sets of 5 Reps – Bench Press
  • 1 Set of 5 Reps – Deadlift

Starting Strength Workout 2

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  • 3 Sets of 5 Reps – Squat
  • 3 Sets of 5 Reps – Standing military press
  • 3 Sets of 5 Reps – Pendlay Rows

Weekly Schedule:

  • Day 1: Workout 1
  • Day 2: Workout 2
  • Day 3: Workout 1

As you get stronger, continuously add weight so you max out at 5 repetitions.

4. Recommended Body Weight Routine (Reddit)

Based off of the principles from Overcoming Gravity, this bodyweight workout routine was developed in 2012 and has become something of an online phenomenon.

This routine will provide strength, muscle gain and fat loss, all provided your diet is in proper order.

There are only 9 exercises, which you do 3 times a week. Each exercise progresses, so that if you can’t do one now, there is a simpler form of the exercise you can start with.

For example, if you can’t do a push-up, you can start to wall pushes, or push-ups from your knees, until you’re ready to progress to the more challenging form.

You perform the hardest exercise in the progression you can, for 3 sets of 5-8 reps. Once you achieve that benchmark, you move on to the next progression of the exercise in your next workout. Rest 90 seconds between each set.

First Pair

Second Pair

  • 3×5-8 Dip progression (parallel bar support hold (1 minute hold), negative dips , parallel bar dips)
  • 3×5-8 Hinge Progression (Romanian deadlift, single legged deadlift, banded Nordic curl negatives, banded Nordic curls, Nordic curls)

Third Pair

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Core Triplet

  • 3×8-12 Anti-Extension progression (plank (30 second hold), ring ab rollouts)
  • 3×8-12 Anti-Rotation progression (banded pallof press)
  • 3×8-12 Extension progression (reverse hyper-extension)

5. Simplefit Beginner Routine

Simplefit is another popular body weight exercise routine. It’s simple, only requires you workout 3 days a week and only involves 3 exercises per day.

Day 1:

  • Max rounds in 20 min (as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes)
  • 1 pull-ups
  • 2 push-ups
  • 3 squats

Day 2:

  • 5 rounds for time (see how quickly you can complete each round, resting 3 minutes between rounds)
  • 2 pull-ups
  • 6 push-ups
  • 10 squats

Day 3:

  • For time (one round as quickly as you can)
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 21 push-ups
  • 21 squats

You can increase the number of repetitions for each exercise as you get stronger, if you’d like.

6. Growing Stronger

The Growing Stronger Routine was developed specifically as a strength training routine for older adults at Tufts University and is recommended by the Centre for Disease Control.

The exercises are done by lifting a load (body weight or a dumbell) and holding it for a count of two to four and then lowering it for another count of two to four. You then repeat the motion, smoothly and slowly for 10 repetitions.

The program is divided into three parts as follows:

Part I: Weeks 1 — 2

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  1. Squats (onto chair): 2 sets of 10 repetitions
  2. Wall Push-ups: 2 sets of 10 repetitions
  3. Toe Stands: 2 sets of 10 repetitions
  4. Finger Walking: hold the position for 10 seconds, 3 sets

Part II: Weeks 3 — 6 (add to part I routine)

  1. Biceps Curl: 2 sets of 10 repetitions
  2. Step-Up on Stairs (1 or 2 steps at a time): 2 sets of 10 repetitions
  3. Overhead Dumbell Press: 2 sets of 10 repetitions
  4. Side Leg Raises; 2 sets of 10 repetitions

Part III: Weeks 7 + (add to part II routine)

  1. Knee Extensions: 2 sets of 10 repetitions
  2. Leg Curl: 2 sets of 10 repetitions
  3. Lying Pelvic Tilt: 2 sets of 10 repetitions
  4. Floor Back Extensions: 2 sets of 10 repetitions

7. Just Do Something!

No matter how you decide to exercise, anything is better than nothing.

Choose activities, sports or exercises you enjoy doing, it will give you a better chance of sticking to it over the long term.

That said, if you’re looking to lose weight, studies suggest you do 30 minutes a day, along with a healthy diet. That could mean walking at a brisk pace, tennis, biking or the gym. Some studies even suggest that walking 15-20 minutes a day reduces your chance of getting a heart attack or stroke.

For strength training, The Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that you do resistance exercise at least 2 days a week. You can do weights, body weight exercises, or physical activity like heavy gardening (digging, hoeing), calisthenics, mountain biking, skiing, etc…

Botton Line

The bottom line is to choose an activity or routine you like to do and do it at least a couple of times every week. Throw in 15-20 minutes of walking every day and you’re golden!

As a beginner, you’ll want to pace yourself and choose a routine that’s not too complex or overwhelming.

The exercise routines above are some of the most popular and time tested routines available for beginners, guaranteed to get results and get you in tip top shape. Have fun!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

^ American College of Sports Medecine’s Health and Fitness Journal: High-intensity circuit training using body weight: Maximum results with minimal investment
^ Harvard: Physical activity guidelines: How much exercise do you need?
^ Health.gov: The Physical Activity Guidelines

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