So, you are now 40 and thinking, “10-years ago, I was able to go out with friends and have a few drinks several times a week, eat what I want, did minimal exercise and still fit into my favourite cocktail dress”. Now, the years have caught up with you, and that favourite cocktail dress that never let you down, has now been confined to the back of your wardrobe. So what’s happened? Many of us can relate to this. Our lives have taken over and we’ve neglected our bodies, and for some, that once favourite pastime of exercise and fitness is no longer a priority. But it doesn’t have to be! It’s never too late to turn your life and body around.
Why should we stop enjoying a fit and healthy lifestyle, just because we are over 40 and our careers and raising a family have taken over? Of course your time is stretched and you barely have a minute to sit down, but you are also disgruntled by your lack of energy, increasing weight gain, mood swings and little to no motivation. This is why exercise is so important. It has been proven that exercise reduces stress, ward off anxiety and feelings of depression, boost self esteem and improves sleep. If we can spare just 15 minutes a day of continuous physical activity, then we are well on our way to a fit and healthier lifestyle.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to fitness; you must listen to your body. If you want to build endurance, strength and lean muscle mass, especially over 40, it’s important to allow yourself sufficient recovery time from exercise in order to see the results of your hard work. After all, we are not in our 20’s or 30’s, so we must take a sensible and effective approach to exercise. As a mature athlete, I have learn’t this the hard way. I came back to athletics at the age of 40, expecting the same results as in my 20’s; I could not have been more wrong. My times were not only a lot slower, but it took me twice as long to regain my speed endurance. I went through a few years of working through a training plan to avoid injuries, and although I do have some setbacks, it’s now coming together effectively. I can appreciate the importance of recovery and nutrition in-order to achieve my fitness goals. I am actually enjoying my fitness more in my 40’s than in my 20’s. Not only because I am wiser, but because I have worked twice as hard now to sustain my fitness and love my body.
According to a new government campaign, keeping fit in mid-life can more than double your chances of a healthy retirement. So start with a brisk walk, take a bike ride, join a gym. Create the habit to a healthier lifestyle.