When we talk about training over 40 we don’t necessarily mean that when you hit 40 a switch immediately flips, resulting in you having to make drastic changes. Your body may theoretically be changing but there’s nothing like some good old fashioned lung-busting, blood pumping exercise to keep the hounds of age at bay.
There are many sportsmen and average people who compete at a higher level when they get older, but you still need to be aware that eventually you’re going to have to make a few slight adjustments in order to stay healthy and at that level.
Aerobic exercise is intrinsic to your routine once you hit 40. It’ll get your heart rate up and prepare you for the strength training to come.
And with more oxygen flowing through your veins you’ll feel much healthier.
You should aim at doing at least 5 minutes of cardio before your routine and include a light run on the treadmill, quick swim or some moderate rowing afterwards.
You’ll be happy to know that it won’t only improve your metabolism but will make you happier. A study of depressed adults between the ages of 55 and 70 by Blumenthal et al. (1999) shows that “the notion that a group program of aerobic exercise is a feasible and effective treatment for depression in older adults” As aerobic exercise releases endorphins, takes you away from the pressures of life and makes you feel healthier.
Eventually you’ll become aware that the extreme lifts that you’ve been doing put a little more stress on your body and you take a little longer to recover, but that’s alright, you just need to be aware of how your body speaks to you.
A study carried out by Macaluso and De Vito (2004) found that “specific training programmes can dramatically improve the muscle strength, power and functional abilities of older individuals.” Your body will thank you for the extra effort, helping you look younger and feel a lot more capable of doing everyday tasks.
Hakkinen and Hakkinen (1995) also found that “the present findings suggest that progressive heavy strength training combined with explosive types of exercises may lead to considerable increases not only in maximal strength but also in explosive force…not only in middle-aged but in elderly males and females as well.” Think of all the older people who you see on the street or in the malls and you’re there looking at them with despair, saying to yourself, “I don’t want to be that way.”
So there’s no reason not to continue your strength training, long past the age of 40.
It’ll nullify the changes in bone density and power that we discussed before and unless you feel it, your fitness regime shouldn’t have to be significantly altered.
What’s key is that you carry on, as you were…
You’ve got to be like a fish, and keep on swimming towards newer, more refreshing goals to keep your workout revitalised and your body in peak physical condition.