If you’re looking to slow down ageing and stay younger and vibrant through your 40s and well beyond , then science shows again and again that resistance training with weights is vital. Improved brain function, health, metabolism, blood sugar control and overall decreased risk of all-cause mortality are just some of the headline benefits of lifting weights, there is also increase in strength, mobility, muscle density and increased metabolism. If you a complete beginner or an advanced trainee, here are a few things that are highly applicable to this age group.
Staying injury free
Picking up a niggle when you’re in your 40s will take a lot longer to recover from than when in your 20s, and so avoiding this will keep you training for longer, meaning a more frequent stimulus for growth, and ultimately more muscle.
Keeping yourself healthy should be a number one priority, no matter what your age group. A frequent stimulus is the most important consideration in your 40s and beyond, so it is key to not miss out on vital training time.
Incorporate lots of variety in training
One of the most important variables in hypertrophy, whilst avoiding the ‘niggly’ over-use injuries so prevalent as your age, is to incorporate lots of variety in your training.
For middle-aged clients, rotating through exercises with different implements and strength curves can be a good way to stay healthy and strong.
Increase your time under tension
One of the best ways to train as you age is to find ways to increase time under tension on your muscles and the difficulty of exercises. So using light weights but doing high reps and making sure your technique or form is perfect during the exercise will be of great benefit.
Reduce the frequency of spinal loading
Grouping lower back-intensive exercises into one day a week can be a great way to allow recovery for the often-vulnerable lower back structures. On this note, squats and deadlifts may not be necessary at all in their true form if you are a beginner with no movement capability, as this will often do more harm than good, so half squats and lunges with lots of reps are fine here.
When encountering new trainees in their 40s and beyond, one of the key issues we see is a lack of stability in their joints. So, utilising isometrics, holding a position, unilateral work, so one arm row and slow tempos initially can help bring up this vital aspect of fitness.
Focus on quality
Often with beginner clients above 40, in particular, focusing on perhaps four to five exercises per workout at the maximum is all that’s needed.
Simply picking an upper body ‘push and pull’ session, and lower body ‘push and pull’, rotating, and keeping an eye on quality is an excellent way to train.
Warm up, mobilise and stretch
Spending 10 to 15 minutes a day on mobility and flexibility will pay huge dividends when it comes to staying healthy as you age.
For clients in their 40s an beyond, this is critical as the ability to ‘get away with’ poor posture and technique diminishes, so the need to be warm and pliable prior to, and during training, is enhanced.
Keep active and enjoy it
Simply staying active outside of the gym is vital, and often overlooked.
A daily walk can play huge dividends on improving many of the factors that contribute to anabolic resistance – the muscle’s reduced ability to respond to an anabolic stimulus which worsens as you age, meaning a poor response to resistance training.
So finding activity and sport you love and can enjoy with others will keep you active for decades, and help just as much as being in a gym can.