Fitness after 40. As you get into your 40s, it is going to become more and more important that you are exercising and keeping your heart in good health. Keeping your heart healthy lowers the risk of heart disease, and chronic illnesses, and will help keep you going strong as you get older.
The best exercises to keep your heart healthy once you are in your 40s are going to be any kind of aerobic, resistance, and flexibility exercises. These include things like walking, swimming, running, using resistance bands, free weights, yoga, and even playing sports.
Now that you have an idea about what you can do in order to keep your heart healthy when in your 40s. However, if you continue reading, I will cover all the different exercises that are the most effective for keeping you healthy. I will also cover some other methods for keeping your heart healthy.
Fitness after 40. Aerobic Exercises
The most common and most effective exercises that you are going to be able to do when you are in your 40s are going to be aerobic exercises.
The goal of aerobic exercises is to increase the blood flow throughout your whole body, which will get your heart beating quicker. These are the types of exercises that most doctors use to see how well your heart handles increased blood flow rates.
Along with helping keep your heart healthy, aerobic exercises also help reduce the risk of getting type 2 diabetes because they help control your blood glucose levels. This means that it is also very beneficial for those who have any type of diabetes.
There are a number of different aerobic exercises that you can do, and it doesn’t matter which exercise you choose, as each is beneficial and will keep your heart healthy!
One of the easiest types of aerobic exercises that you can do is to go out each day and do some brisk walking, running, or jogging. The American Heart Association directly recommends brisk walking each do, as they say that you should get out each day and spend around 20 to 30 minutes brisk walking.
If you are able to, running and jogging are going to be even more beneficial for your health as they get your heart pumping even faster and get more blood flowing. However, just getting outside and walking provides massive benefits to your heart’s health.
Getting out and cycling is also going to be a great option for those who are looking for aerobic exercise that is also going to have a low impact on their joints. Getting out and casually biking for 20 to 30 minutes will provide the same benefit as brisk walking with less pressure and impact on your knees, hips, and ankles.
Swimming is going to be another low-impact aerobic exercise option that is great for your heart health. Swimming has a number of benefits for you, including:
- Building endurance
- Builds muscle strength
- Builds cardiovascular fitness
- Maintains healthy weight
- Strengthens your lungs
- Strengthens your heart
- Provides a full-body workout
- Alleviates stress
- Improves coordination
- Improves balance
- Improves posture
- Improves flexibility
Fitness after 40. Swimming has many more benefits for you, which is one reason that it is often used as a part of physical therapy. But the biggest benefit it is going to provide is that it keeps your heart rate high while putting very little stress on your joints. This keeps your heart healthy and prevents achy joints!
A simple home-friendly option you have for aerobic exercise is to jump rope. Spending 10 to 15 minutes using a jump rope will get your heart beating quickly and provide the benefits that most other aerobic exercises provide.
Jumping rope builds up some muscles in your legs, and also helps keep your upper body flexible. As you get better at jumping rope, you can continue to add time, and more complex maneuvers that will provide additional benefits for you.
One last aerobic activity that I will cover is rucking. This is going out on a hike or walk, but you do it while wearing a weighted vest or a backpack with weights in it.
Rucking provides the same benefits that brisk walking provides, while also strengthening your body due to the additional weight that you are going to be carrying.
Fitness after 40. As you get more experienced, you can continue to add more and more weight to the vest or backpack.
Resistance training isn’t focusing directly on helping your heart get stronger but is focusing on removing extra fat that can lead to future heart problems.
Resistance workouts can help remove fat such as belly fat which is a main cause of heart disease, and can help lower the levels of LDL cholesterol (bad) while increasing the amount of HDL cholesterol (good).
While resistance training is important to keep your heart healthy, you aren’t going to need to do these exercises as often as you do aerobic exercises.
It is recommended that you do aerobic exercises every single day, while you shouldn’t do resistance training multiple days in a row in order to give your body time to recover.
One of the easier resistance training that you can do that doesn’t put stress on your joints is going to be exercises that are done using resistance bands. There are a number of different workouts that you can use with these, including:
- Lateral Raises
- Chest Press
- Leg Press
- Bicep Curl
- Calf Press
- Tricep Press
- Assisted Chin-Ups
- Lateral Walks
- Romanian Deadlift
- And many more.
As you can see, there are a multitude of different workouts that you can use with these bands, and the different bands will offer different challenge levels as you build up muscle and get stronger.
Fitness after 40. While many of the areas you can target with resistance bands also can be hit using workout machines, using bands tends to put less stress on your joints. It is much easier to have proper form using the resistance bands as opposed to machines where it is extremely easy to use poor form and end up injuring yourself.
Along with this, you aren’t having to move a large amount of weight like with machines. Instead, you are going against the resistance of the bands which will be gentler on your muscles, and joints.
Free Weight Lifting
If you don’t have resistance bands at your gym, or if they are all being used, then you are going to want to go over and use the free weights.
Again, you will want to avoid any of the machines for the same reason that I talked about earlier. When you are using free weights then you are going to want to use light weights, so take it slow until you learn the proper form.
Having proper form is critical for a proper workout, and using lighter weights will still help burn off extra fat. Using low-weight, high reps is an effective way to avoid injuring yourself while burning off fat. You can do any exercise with free weights, ranging from deadlifts to lunges.
Most exercises you do with resistance bands you can do with free weights.
Stretching & Flexibility Training
Making sure that you are spending some time doing stretching and flexibility training is going to provide a number of benefits. And while it isn’t going to be directly helping your heart health, it is critical for both aerobic and resistance training. Making sure you stretch and are flexible will help prevent injuries and help you recover from your exercises faster.
Along with this, when you stretch and do flexibility training, you are also going to improve your balance which will also help prevent falls which are a leading cause of injuries and can prevent you from training and keeping healthy.
One of the best ways to stay flexible and stretch out is to go and do yoga. Yoga is very simple and can either be done in a gym with a class or can be done at home using a tutorial video. If you are going in for regular checkups, your doctor might also recommend a few different stretches for you that can target sore or stiff muscles. Spending about 30 minutes every couple of days doing yoga or a similar kind of stretching can greatly reduce the likelihood of muscle injury and can keep you very flexible.
Tai Chi is very similar to yoga, and is often considered to be a type of “meditation in motion.” This means that to be doing Tai Chi, you are going to be able to focus your mind while also keeping yourself flexible. Tai Chi does differ a bit from traditional yoga as you are constantly in motion, slowly moving from one pose to another.
Along with improving your flexibility, Tai Chi also has some benefits of traditional aerobic exercises as depending on the movements and speed you are doing them at you can get your heart rate higher than traditional aerobic exercises like brisk walking or rucking!
Fitness after 40. Other Ways To Keep Your Heart Healthy
While working out and doing a variety of different exercises are key factors in keeping your heart healthy, there are a number of other factors that are just as important in keeping your heart healthy. These factors range from things that you should be avoiding to actions that you need to be taking frequently.
One of the most significant things that you can do for your heart at any age is to avoid stressful moments. Having some stress managing techniques is indispensable, and you are also going to want to find time every day for you to go and relax. Meditation is a great way to do this, but any sort of stress-relieving activity will be extremely beneficial to your heart’s health.
Eat Healthy Meals
Eating healthy meals every day is going to be the biggest thing that you can do to keep your heart in good health. Getting good nutrients into your body will strengthen your muscles and organs to help fight off any disease and also help your body recover faster. If you eat unhealthily, then you are going to have to deal with extra fat and calories that are going to cause potential heart problems.
The main things that you are going to want to include in your meals are going to be:
- Nutrient-dense fruits and veggies
- Fiber-rich whole grains
- Lean meats (like chicken and fish)
- Low-fat dairy (1% milk will be the best choice)
Having a proper diet will give you everything that you need to build up your body and help you recover from your workouts. This guide from Harvard is the best example of how your plate should look when you do have meals.
Get Regular Checkups
In order to make sure that your heart is healthy, you are going to want to make sure you have regular checkups with your doctor. They will be able to give you the best advice for your body and can mention what nutrients you might need more of in your diet, or give advice for types of workouts/ stretches you can do to keep your body and heart healthy. Fitness after 40.
Get Plenty of Sleep
One of the last factors that is going to help keep your heart in good health is going to be getting plenty of sleep each night. The American Heart Association recommends adults get six to eight hours of sleep per night and making sure you are getting enough sleep goes a long way for keeping you healthy!
Getting plenty of sleep allows for your heart rate to slow and gives your heart time to rest and recover for the next day. Along with this, while you are sleeping your body is still hard a work supporting and maintaining your brain functions and physical health. Fitness after 40.