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How to Stay Fit After 40

Although growing older is a fact of life, the way in which we age can largely be controlled by the decisions we make day-to-day. Bidding adieu to your thirties may mean that your body starts to tire more easily and your schedule is likely full of everyone else’s activities but your own. But that doesn’t mean you should toss your needs out the window without a fight.

Scale Back the High-Intensity Workouts

You may have felt unstoppable in your prime, going for five-mile runs and lifting heavy weights. But as we age, our bodies aren’t able to tolerate the same level of intensity. As we get older, we might have different body aches and things might feel different. When you’re young you can get away with doing more high intensity workouts and I think people really rely on that to stay fit and thin. However, while movement is super important, we need to do what is good for our bodies as we get older.

Diet

If you’ve been one to hit the gym extra hard after a weekend binge, you’re not alone. Often we turn to exercise to correct diet mistakes, but that solution doesn’t last forever. We see a lot of chronic exercisers that will use exercise as a form of getting rid of calories. Our ability to do that as we get older changes — our bodies change, and our metabolism changes. It’s important to separate food versus exercise, and focus on eating well. Make exercise something that’s not going to beat your body up.

Balance Your Blood Sugar

It’s not an exact science, but changes in mood, energy or sleep can signify that your blood sugar might be out of whack. It’s important that we’re eating consistently for blood-sugar balancing which is really the key to staying fit in your forties. The fat that tends to collect around the midsection is all about blood sugar and cortisol levels. A good way to stabilize things is to avoid the blood sugar spikes and crashes caused by empty carbs.

Schedule Sleep

When you were 20, you might have gotten away with getting only four or five hours of sleep, but those days are long gone. You’re likely being pulled in a million different directions, but it’s crucial to your health and sanity that you schedule adequate sleep each night. We need seven to eight hours of sleep per night.  Also, as we get older we might need more sleep.

Modify Your Movements

It may suddenly feel like you have to erase everything you’ve learned in the last 20 years or so regarding exercise, but there’s no need to drop your favorite workouts — just modify. Find different modifications for your activities and stay positive about it. You may not be able to go out and do the long runs you used to do or lift as heavy, but there are still great lower-impact options such as cycling or doing lighter lifting with more frequent reps.

Keep Moving No Matter What

Whether you’re able to run, walk, swim or ride a bike–whatever you do, don’t stop moving. Once we reach age 30, our bodies start losing muscle mass — about half a pound of muscle a year. This results in a slower metabolism. Inactive people can lose up to 3-5% of muscle mass per year. Staying active can help reduce this.

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