How Do I Get Fit After Forty?
I've just turned the big 4-0, and have decided it's finally time to get in shape. Better late than never, right? My question is how I should approach this, since running around like a 20-year-old sounds like a bad idea but equally, I don't feel ready for a game of bowls or a power walk on the beach quite yet.
First up let me jut say there really is no bad time to take up an exercise regime, so kudos to you for getting started, Phil. Secondly—there is no magical change that happens to your body on the night of your 40th. Of course there might be one that happens in your mind… but that (to a certain extent) is up to you!
That being said, a training program you start in your 40s should have a slightly different emphasis to the one that you ripped out of a fitness magazine in your student days. Our ability to recover from intense exercise does start to diminish from 30 onwards—mainly driven by a natural reduction in testosterone production (most studies show a decline of 1% per year from age 30 onwards).
IF YOU WERE GOING TO PLAY CENTER FORWARD FOR ENGLAND, IT PROBABLY WOULD HAVE HAPPENED BY NOW
A weekly program that you’re beginning in your 40s should include some periods dedicated to recovery, whether that’s scheduled rest days (or even occasionally weeks), or more low intensity, non weight bearing, low impact activities like swimming, cycling or yoga.
Our goals in our 40s - and yes, I say 'our', because my own fifth decade is looming ominously on the horizon - are also likely to bedifferent to those in our 20s. As harsh as it sounds, if you were going to play centre forward for England or win that Calvin Klein underwear contract, the chances are it would have happened by now…. which means goal setting at 40 probably needs to be slightly more pragmatic and practical.
ANATOMICALLY SPEAKING, WE ARE ALL SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.