Here’s the cold, hard truth. Between birth and age 30, your muscles grew bigger and stronger. But after that 30th birthday, you begin losing muscle mass – up to 3 to 5 percent each ten years if you’re not active. Fitness after 40 looks different, but it’s more important than ever. This is what you should know.
The medical term for that loss of muscle mass is sacropenia with aging. And even when you’re active, you’re still losing muscle mass. It just happens more slowly. There are a few potential culprits for this:
- Loss of nutrition
- Decrease in your body’s ability to synthesize protein
- Neurological fluctuations between your brain and muscles
- A decrease of testosterone, HGH or insulin
The biological changes associated with aging can also affect your reflexes and coordination, which means you find your body doesn’t react in ways it once did.
When we lose muscle, it’s usually replaced by fat. This muscle-to-fat redistribution can affect your balance, your ease of mobility and how your body looks. But there is good news. It’s never too late to start exercising. The key to fitness after 40 isn’t in exercising more – it’s in exercising smarter.
Improving flexibility and balance is a good first step, as muscle loss and joint stiffness rob us of these abilities as we age. If there are three pillars to fitness, flexibility would be up there with strength training and cardio.
Another important focus for fitness after 40 is on functional strength instead of strength in isolated muscle groups. When you coordinate movement and effort across multiple muscle groups, your body is working on multiple planes. That mimics many of the activities we perform in our day-to-day lives.
If you’re wondering how exactly to train smarter – not harder and not more – a personal trainer can help. At Framework Personal Training, we specialize in both functional training and personal training for adults and seniors. Whether you’re ready to change your workout to stay fit after 40, or you’re starting your fitness journey at a later stage in your life, we can help. Schedule a consultation now.