Turning 40 can be quite a peculiar experience. One day, you wake up feeling strong and full of energy, almost like a teenager. The next day, you struggle to open a jar of pickles or strain a muscle while reaching for your cereal.
You start to notice subtle changes in your health, stamina, and appearance. Your metabolism naturally begins to slow down, making it more difficult to maintain a healthy balance between body fat and muscle.
Aging is a natural part of life, but it doesn’t mean you can’t stay in good shape and stay energetic. While aiming for a 20-year-old’s body might be unrealistic once you hit 40, maintaining a healthy body is always achievable. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or looking to regain your fitness, here are some straightforward tips to help you stay healthy and fit in your 40s.
1. Build Healthy Muscle Mass
People naturally begin to lose healthy muscle mass in their late 30s and 40s due to the aging process. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and maintain unhealthy habits, you become more susceptible to developing hormonal imbalances, which can accelerate muscle loss.
However, even once you reach your 40s, you can still develop and maintain healthy muscle mass with the assistance of supplements and compounds. If you’re a fitness enthusiast or an athlete, your dietitian and physician may recommend using SARMs or peptides, in addition to strength training and specific diets. Both SARMs and peptides are synthetic compounds known for their ability to increase muscle mass and aid in muscle recovery. You can compare the benefits of peptides vs SARMs to determine which aligns best with your fitness goals and overall health needs. Before selecting a SARM or peptide, it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered physician to discuss your fitness goals and any underlying health conditions.
Building stronger muscles is the initial step in achieving your fitness objectives and maintaining a lean body. In fact, having greater muscle mass can make your daily activities more manageable and ensure your strength in your later years.
2. Stay Physically Active
Exercise is vital for men of all ages. As men grow older, their metabolism slows down, and testosterone levels drop, leading to weight gain. Accumulated body fat places strain on your skeletal structure, resulting in musculoskeletal and joint problems. Muscle mass and bone density are crucial for men over 40 to maintain mobility in their later years.
Exercise not only helps you shed extra pounds and maintain a lean physique but also strengthens your muscles and bones. It kickstarts your metabolism, and improves blood circulation, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and hormonal disorders. Furthermore, a consistent exercise routine enhances your mental well-being, boosts your mood, and improves sleep quality.
The CDC recommends that adults aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate or low-intensity exercise per week. If you’re a fitness enthusiast, strive for a minimum of 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic activity each week, with at least two days dedicated to muscle-strengthening exercises in your fitness regimen.
3. Maintain a Balanced Diet
Your diet significantly affects both your physical and mental health, with its impact becoming more pronounced after turning 40.
While you may not immediately feel the effects of an unhealthy diet when you’re young, the consequences become evident with age. Conversely, a healthy and balanced diet forms the basis for a fulfilling life in both the present and your later years. Additionally, the right nutrients in appropriate quantities support your workouts and fitness goals.
Count Your Macros
Men in their 40s should aim for a diet that fulfills their daily recommended macronutrients. Consult a qualified dietitian to create a diet plan aligned with your fitness goals. Ideally, your daily calorie intake should consist of 25 to 35% fat, 10 to 30% proteins, and 44 to 65% carbohydrates.
Adopt Healthy Food Choices
Once you reach 40, prioritize fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Incorporate all food groups into each meal, emphasizing fresh vegetables, especially leafy greens, for their antioxidants, essential minerals, and dietary fiber that bolster your immune system and gut health. Opt for lean proteins such as chicken, beans, and tofu. Fish, rich in both proteins and healthy fats like omega-3, supports heart health. Choose healthy fats and low-fat dairy products while limiting junk food.
4. Prioritize Quality Sleep
As we age, we realize the significance of a good night’s sleep. Inadequate sleep in middle age often leads to irritability, difficulty focusing, and cognitive impairments. Consistently poor sleep can result in fatigue, irritability, mood swings, and even severe sleep disorders, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and mental health issues over time.
For fitness enthusiasts, both oversleeping and under-sleeping can negatively impact overall health and endurance. Most adults require at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Quality sleep refreshes your brain, enhancing cognitive function, reducing stress and anxiety, and regulating hormones. Moreover, it aids in disease resistance, and muscle and tissue repair.
5. Include Warm-Up and Cool-Down
Both warm-up and cool-down exercises are crucial components of your fitness routine. Warm-up exercises like cardio, squats, light walks, and pre-workout stretches prepare your muscles and vital organs for intense workouts. They gradually increase your heart rate and breathing rate, promoting oxygen and nutrient flow to your muscles. Initiating high-intensity workouts without warming up can strain muscles, leading to injuries, muscle loss, and cramps.
Likewise, after high-intensity exercise, it’s essential to gradually return your body to normal temperature and heart rate. Cool-down exercises aid your body in recovery, reducing stress on your muscles, heart, and lungs. This helps eliminate metabolic wastes and restores your breathing rate to normal. Consult with your physician or trainer to identify suitable warm-up and cool-down exercises that align with your fitness program.
Every man aspires to maintain a lean, healthy body, looking and feeling younger after turning 40. Whether you’re initiating a fitness plan or enhancing an existing one, the above tips significantly contribute to achieving your fitness goals and sustaining a healthy body and mind. Collaborate with your trainer and dietitian to create a personalized fitness plan that suits your needs and overall health condition.