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Fit After 40? No Sweat! Try These 4 Simple Exercises

fit-after-40-no-sweat-try-these-4-simple-exercises
Psst! Over 40 and looking to get fit? Then we have three exciting words for you: yes you can! While the media (and probably a few well-meaning friends) are big on scary data regarding over-40 health, we’re here to tell you that you absolutely can be fit (and yes – a hottie!) at 40, 50, 60…the sky’s the limit. We know because our hundreds of our over-40 members have shown us how fit and amazing this tribe can be. Over the years we’ve combined our scientific knowledge, experience with members, and lots of experimentation to discover some simple moves that can help you get fit, fast. Now, it is true that our bodies experience changes during this time period. So you’ll need to be aware of a few things before you start your fitness plan. The really good news is, knowing all this ahead of time means you can create your own perfect fitness program. Surprise: it’s way less pain and more fitness gain than you’re probably thinking. And yes, you may break a sweat – but you’ll love the results! So here it is, warriors: our ultimate Fit After 40? No Sweat! guide. Let’s get started with some important information. ####<p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">WHAT HAPPENS AFTER 40?</p> This time of your life can be absolutely wonderful. You’ve probably accomplished quite a bit by now. You may have a home, family, or you may travel, you may journal, you might volunteer. There are so many things you already know you can do. But physical fitness might not be a top priority during this busy time. Don’t feel bad; you are definitely not alone. Instead, be proud that you’re a cut above and truly want to get fit and healthy. This puts you ahead of the curve right away! You’ll just need a little knowledge of what your body is doing right now, and a few great exercises to get you fitter than ever before. First, let’s explore what may be changing for you right now. ####<p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">WHY YOUR WORKOUT MAY BE DIFFERENT AFTER 40</p> Don’t panic: everyone’s body changes. In fact, we experience major shifts at several different points over the course of a lifetime. A few differences may impact your workout, though, so you’ll want to know what to look out for. NOTE: The following are general and may happen sooner or later for you, or not at all. In fact, all of these can be either prevented or slowed down significantly by performing a few simple exercises: * Your flexibility 1 may change. While you might not see the full impact until you’re 60 or beyond, many people begin to realize they’re losing flexibility has young as 35.. This is partly physiological – your body is no longer making as much supporting collagen and elastin, which help with stretching and contraction. Another factor is that you may be less active now than when you were younger. You may experience more back pain. Years of sitting in a car during a commute, sitting in front of your computer for work, and an accumulation of past injuries from stress, activity or pregnancy can mean a sore back. THE SOLUTION: Combine posture exercises with simple moves that strengthen your core to support your spine. * Your muscle mass needs to be worked a bit more. Studies show 2 that after age 30, you begin to lose muscle mass unless you work on keeping it. THE SOLUTION: If your workout routine consists mostly of non-resistance cardio, add some weight-bearing exercise. * Your hormonal balance changes. Certain hormones, such as testosterone, which has a hand in giving you the “oomph” for your workout, begin to lower at this time. Both men and women produce testosterone. Women may have a surge of energy at menopause when a reduction in estrogen and progesterone means testosterone is no longer opposed by these two “female” hormones, but eventually they too can lose energy. THE SOLUTION: Working out can help 3 keep your hormones in a healthy, strong balance for years to come, so keep it up! * Your risk of osteoporosis 4 begins to go up. Women over 50 are most at risk for developing osteoporosis, but experts say the process begins earlier. THE SOLUTION: Weight-bearing and muscle-challenging moves create resistance. This in turn stimulates the body to produce more of the minerals that make up bone. Over time you bones begin to become denser and more resistant to fracture. That’s right: a few simple changes (and a couple of really great workout moves) can mean your 40s and above are the best time of your life. Here are our top exercises to get you started on your fitness routine. REMEMBER: If a move is too hard, modify! NEVER allow things to get to the point of pain. Work your way up within your fitness level. Let’s get started! ####<p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">TOP 6 EXERCISES TO STAY FIT AFTER 40</p> The following moves are low-impact, easy, and each take 5 minutes or less. If you have physical considerations, ask your doctor before starting this or any workout regimen. #####**Sit-to-Stand** <br>Squats challenge your legs, core and glutes and are a staple of nearly any workout routine. However, squats can be challenging if you have any knee issues. The Sit-to-Stand takes stress off your knees and allows you to work within your fitness level. It also helps flatten your tummy area so you look sleek and, well, just plain awesome. <div class="text-center my-5"> <img class="img-fluid" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SIT_TO_STAND.gif" alt="Sit to Stand"> </div> * Sit on a supportive surface that’s the right height for your thighs to be parallel to the floor. Place your calves so they’re vertical, not pulled inward toward your body or extended out. * Make sure your feet are flat on the floor. Now just slightly move your feet so that they create an arch. (If this is uncomfortable, you may keep your feet flat.) * Prepare to stand by leaning just slightly forward. * Tighten your glutes (buttocks) and abdomen (core) and keep them engaged while you perform this exercise. * In order to envision the proper execution of this move, imagine you’re trying to push your tailbone into the wall. Now, pressing your feet into the ground, slowly stand up until you’re straight. *(Try NOT to push off with your hands. This not only counteracts the muscle work you’re doing by taking the work away from your abs, glutes and thighs, and it can actually unbalance you)* * Stand straight for just one moment with correct posture (LINK), then slowly sit back down, again leaning slightly forward. * Rest for 3-5 seconds, then repeat. Try for 5 reps at first, then work your way up to as many as 10. #####**Kneeling Inchworm** <br>This move is fantastic for strengthening not only your core but your glutes. And it’s also a great intro to arm and shoulder work. That means it hits all the bases! What we love about it is that it’s basically a kneeling push up, with a little added work so your entire body can get stronger. It’s also easy to modify within your fitness level. <div class="text-center my-5"> <img class="img-fluid" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/KNEELING_INCHWORMS.gif" alt="Kneeling Inchworm"> </div> * Get on all fours on the floor in a kneeling position. Make sure your palms are flat on the floor and your thighs are in a vertical line upward from the floor. * Tighten your glutes and hold them tight during the entire move. (Your abs will be worked by the move itself.) * SLOWLY begin to walk your hands out, one after the other, in front of you. ONLY go down as flat as is comfortable for you. If you can only walk your hands a few “steps” forward, that’s fine! Over time you’ll go farther and farther, until eventually, depending upon your flexibility, your entire upper body and arms will be flat against the floor. * When you get to your maximum point (remember: do not let things get to the point of actual pain), slowly walk your hands back in. * Relax your glutes for 3-5 seconds, then repeat the move. * Perform the complete move 5 times at first, then work your way up to as many as 10. * When it’s time to get back up off the ground, sit straight up on your knees first, then lift one knee and then the other. Stand up slowly. #####**Shoulder Bridge Hold** <br>A healthy back is critical at any time in your life. But now, with your body changing –– along with work stress and possible accumulated damage you may not even know about –– it’s more important than ever. The Bridge is a traditional move to give you more flexibility, a strong core, and better support of the spine. <div class="text-center my-5"> <img class="img-fluid" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SHOULDER_BRIDGE_HOLD.gif" alt="Shoulder Bridge Hold"> </div> * Carefully lower yourself to the floor so you are on your back with your knees bent. * To ensure good posture, extend your arms down to your sides, palms up, and hands pressed to the floor. You want to make sure your shoulders don’t hug up toward your head! * Slowly begin to lift your hips from the ground while keeping your knees bent and feet planted firmly. How high up you can go will depend upon your current fitness level and flexibility. You should feel a stretch but NO PAIN during this move. * Hold the position for approximately 3 minutes. * Repeat 3 times at first, then work up to 5 times. #####**Side Bend** <br>It’s not just tension that makes your core flat and tight: stretching can do the same thing, if you do it correctly. This move works out your obliques, two sets of side muscles that pull you in, almost like a waist cincher or corset. <div class="text-center my-5"> <img class="img-fluid" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SIMPLE_SIDE_BENDS.gif" alt="Simple Side Bend"> </div> * Using correct posture, stand with your legs hip-width or slightly wider. * Place your hands on your hips. * Keeping your back straight, slowly bend to one side as far as you can go to feel a nice stretch. DO NOT bend to the point of pain. * Straighten and then bend to the opposite side. * Repeat 10-15 times when first adding this move to your routine. Work your way up to 15-20 reps. *(If this move becomes too easy for you, place one hand on your hip and raise the other arm over your head, then perform the move. This adds an element and stretches you even further)* #####**Drinking Bird (Intermediate to Advanced)** <br>Isn’t that a great name? And it fits because that’s just what it looks like! NOTE: This move is somewhat advanced, as it requires balance. However, it’s an absolutely amazing move for everything from your core to your calves. <div class="text-center my-5"> <img class="img-fluid" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/DRINKING_BIRDS.gif" alt="Drinking Birds"> </div> * Stand straight, using good posture. * Place your hands behind your head. * Slowly lift one leg about 6” off the ground with a bent knee. * Carefully tip your upper body forward while lifting and straightening the raised leg. * Hold this position for 3 seconds and then return to a bent knee. Switch legs and perform on the other side. * Repeat the whole move (one balance for each leg) 8 times at first. * Work your way up to 15 reps. #####**Shoulder Bridge Lifts** <br>Shoulder Bridge Lifts stretch you safely while stretching your spine just enough so that it’s aligned and more comfortable. Because we drive, hunch over computers, and so on, our spines compress over time. (Some people actually begin to measure shorter in height after a certain point.) The Elevator helps keep your spine correctly aligned and can prevent, or sometimes correct, back pain. <div class="text-center my-5"> <img class="img-fluid" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SHOULDER_BRIDGE_LIFTS.gif" alt="Shoulder Bridge Lift"> </div> * Lower yourself to the ground on your back. Keep your legs bent and the soles of your feet against the ground. * Press your lower back against the ground. You will maintain this during the entire exercise; DO NOT arch your back. * Put your index fingers on either side of your abdomen, midway between your hips and your belly button. * Push your stomach outward so you’re pressing your fingers out and hold this through the exercise. * Lift your legs, keeping them bent, to parallel to the ground. Hold as long as you can (DON’T hold to the point of pain) and slowly lower your legs again. * Perform the complete move 5 times at first, then work your way up to as many as 10. * When it’s time to get back up off the ground, roll to your side. Lift your top half up on one arm, then slowly straighten to standing. ####<p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">RECOVERY TIME AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT</p> After you try these exercises, you’re going to want to take some recovery time and we’ll tell you why you’ll want to make it part of your routine. By the way, that’s not an over-40 thing! This is true of everyone, of any age and fitness level, from beginner to athlete. However, you might need just a bit more recovery time after a certain point in your life. Or, if you’ve never bothered to take rest days (yep, we were the same in our teens and college!), and didn’t pay for it then, you may pay for it now, so that’s something to consider. Simply put, recovery time is a time period for your muscles to relax and to rebuild. Working out stresses muscles by creating tiny tears in the tissue. This isn’t bad –– in fact, it’s what you want to happen. This factor is what stimulates new muscle growth. However, that does mean you need some rest time in between. For a beginner low-impact routine such as the 6 moves above, we recommend that you start with 1 day recovery time in between. During your recovery day, do some low-impact cardio or take a walk. As you build strength, you may not need a recovery day in between low-impact workouts. However, as you add resistance to and modify the above exercises, making them harder, you’ll find you need a recovery day again. Always listen to your body! This may be the best time of your entire life to get fit and healthy. If you’re a parent, your children may be getting older and more independent, leaving you with a few minutes a day you didn’t have before. You know who you are, where you’re going and you have more confidence. Use all that! Put it into your workout and be the best you can be.

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