Written by Kento Pollard
As we get older, staying in shape can get harder. Little niggles and injuries can become more frequent. Your joints become stiffer, recovery takes longer and it may become frustrating if your body cannot move as well as it used to.
Although it can be harder to keep fit and healthy, numerous studies show our body is a ‘use it or lose it’ situation (Jefferis, 2019 & Dhaliwal, 2013). The longer you stay active, the better your body will be able to maintain itself.
Below are some general tips for men entering their 40s and 50s to keep healthy and active for longer.
- Take time to recover
Regardless of whether you like it or not, your body will likely take longer to recover. Whilst there are individual factors to consider, as well as the type of exercise undertaken, the general consensus is that older athletes (40 and above) take longer to recover than their younger counterparts (Easthope, 2010). It’s vital to take time to stretch after exercise and take some time off if your body is a little sore – go for a walk instead of a workout if you’re feeling sore, it’ll warm up your muscles and aid recovery.
- Stick with the weights and resistance
A common thought when it comes to exercise is weights and resistance training is a young person’s game. As we get older, weights and resistance training becomes more important than ever as research shows resistance training can help with depressive symptoms (Ranjbar, 2015), anxiety, reduce lower back pain (Hayden 2005), maintain muscle mass, and reduce rates of injuries just to name a few – there are many more benefits too!
- Don’t forget balance
Balance exercise are important for older men, and women, over the age of 55. These types of exercises help with coordination, proprioception and can help reduce the risk of falling. This last point is particularly important as the risk of fracturing bones increases as we age due to a reduction in bone mineral density (Marques 2012).
- Minimal time is no excuse
Often people can feel like they don’t have time to exercise, especially when kids, work tasks, family and rest time etc come into the mix. Setting aside small periods of time for yourself each day can do wonders for both your physical and mental health. The great thing is even just 5-10 minutes of activating your body can be all you need to refresh and start a good routine.
Working out by yourself can be hard. Some people enjoy it, whereas a lot of people do not. Exercising with a friend or in a group is a great way to keep yourself accountable and improve your exercise experience. This can have a positive effect on establishing a healthy exercise routine due to their enjoyment and the social aspect.
If you need help to start exercising and getting into a routine, talk to our accredited exercise professionals to help develop a personalised program for you and your goals.
- Dhaliwal, S. S., Welborn, T. A., & Howat, P. A. (2013). Recreational physical activity as an independent predictor of multivariable cardiovascular disease risk. PloS one, 8(12), e83435.
- Easthope, C. S., Hausswirth, C., Louis, J., Lepers, R., Vercruyssen, F., & Brisswalter, J. (2010). Effects of a trail running competition on muscular performance and efficiency in well-trained young and master athletes. European journal of applied physiology, 110(6), 1107-1116.
- Hayden, J. A., Van Tulder, M. W., Malmivaara, A. V., & Koes, B. W. (2005). Meta-analysis: exercise therapy for nonspecific low back pain. Annals of internal medicine, 142(9), 765-775.
- Jefferis, B. J., Parsons, T. J., Sartini, C., Ash, S., Lennon, L. T., Papacosta, O., … & Whincup, P. H. (2019). Objectively measured physical activity, sedentary behaviour and all-cause mortality in older men: does volume of activity matter more than pattern of accumulation?. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 53(16), 1013-1020.
- Marques, E. A., Mota, J., & Carvalho, J. (2012). Exercise effects on bone mineral density in older adults: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Age, 34(6), 1493-1515.
- Ranjbar, E., Memari, A. H., Hafizi, S., Shayestehfar, M., Mirfazeli, F. S., & Eshghi, M. A. (2015). Depression and exercise: a clinical review and management guideline. Asian journal of sports medicine, 6(2).