Your 20s were focused on your career, then your 30s were focused on your family. So maybe it’s time to put yourself first and make this phase of your life all about you. Your 40s are the perfect time to start developing healthy habits that keep you feeling good for years to come, starting with making it a priority to stay fit. There are so many simple ways you can better your body, which leads to better health overall. These are the best ways to start, according to the experts.
1Take a walk during your lunch hour.
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One easy way to stay fit throughout your 40s is to move more during the day. Instead of spending your lunch break sitting in front of your computer, take time away from technology and go on a walk. You’ll up your steps for the day and get rid of some stress. According to Harvard Medical School, all it takes is a quick 20-minute stroll to help clear your mind and make you feel like a million bucks.
2Stick to a schedule.
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When it comes to your workouts, your biggest priority should be sticking to a schedule. “When individuals are in their 40s, muscle mass loss can be common and it can be more challenging to preserve lean muscle mass. That’s why it’s important to plan a consistent exercise regimen that works for you,” says Kelli Fierras, head trainer at EverybodyFights. “Write down your plan as if you were planning for your work week.”
3Consider trying newer workouts.
group working out and exercising, over 40 fitness
These days, the options are pretty much endless when it comes to your workouts. If you want to do something outside of the box, Dr. Neil Paulvin, an integrated medicine physician in New York City, recommends trying “newer workouts, like ARX or Vasper.”
According to Paulvin, these “help maximize both your time and the benefits you get from exercising. There’s also the CAR.O.L. stationary bike, which gives you a great nine-minute workout that’s the equivalent a 40-minute one!”
4Or go back to the basics.
woman jumping rope, over 40 fitness
If you don’t know where to begin when it comes to working out, why not go back to basics? Instead of complicating your routine, keep things simple. Grab a jump rope for a cardio session, use light dumbbells to tone your arms, and stick to foundational toning exercises, like squats, pushups, pull-ups, and sit-ups. These moves have been around for eons for one reason: They work.
5Consume a balanced diet.
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Diet is just as important as exercise in staying fit—maybe more so. The Cleveland Clinic says that eating a balanced diet of healthy proteins, healthy fats, small amounts of carbs, fruits, and veggies plays a big role in your health and wellbeing. It gives you energy, allows you to keep up with your fitness routine, and helps fight off disease. Talk about a win-win-win!
6Ditch any negative attitudes.
man discouraged with working out and exercising, over 40 fitness
It’s easy to get discouraged while trying to get fit in your 40s—especially if you haven’t been successful with the mission in the past. But it’s time to ditch that negative attitude, stat! “If you have the mindset that getting or staying in shape after 40 is impossible, break it,” says Michael James, a trainer at EverybodyFights. “Trust me—I’ve seen serious changes in every single one of my 40-something clients, and you can make changes, too.”
7Dial back the TV time.
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Coming home after work and immediately turning on the TV always sounds nice and soothing. Your Netflix queue isn’t growing any smaller, after all. Instead of more sitting (after probably sitting all day at work), take time to go on a walk with your dog before dinner, do some stretching—basically anything that keeps you active for just a little bit longer will benefit your health.
8Try fasted workouts.
group exercising with yoga, over 40 fitness
Fasted workouts are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason: Exercising on an empty stomach could help bring on even more benefits. “Try working out while fasting for at least 16 hours. Don’t worry: You can still drink water and black coffee,” Paulvin says. “Doing so can maximize your growth, help you lose weight, and help develop mitochondrion (which give your cells and muscle tissue energy).”
man drinking water after exercising, over 40 fitness
Water seems to take the backseat most days (especially when you have coffee on hand), but staying hydrated is just as important as eating a healthy diet. “Fueling your body properly and drinking plenty of water is crucial,” says Fierras.
According to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink 3.7 liters a day, and women should drink 2.7 liters a day—more so if you’re working out regularly, in order to replenish lost fluids. Make it your goal, and stick with it.
10Commute by bike.
older woman biking, bicycling, exercising
If you don’t live far from work, why not bike instead of drive? Not only does it reduce your carbon footprint, but it can also play a big role in helping you stay fit. A 2017 study published in the British Medical Journal found that biking to work was associated with a 41 percent lower risk of dying from all causes, a 46 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and a 45 percent lower risk of developing cancer compared to those who drove or took public transportation.