Tuesday, April 14, 2009

10 Tips For Getting Fit Over 40

Exercise science has proven that anyone can become fit and healthy at any age and that it's never too late to start. Here are 10 tips that will help you get fit over 40.
1. Check with your doctor. If you have any existing health conditions or you've been inactive for a long time, you need to get medical clearance before you start to exercise.
2. Evaluate your current fitness level. In order to develop an effective over 40 fitness program, you need to know what your current fitness level is. Cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition are all factors that need to be evaluated. Having a personal trainer evaluate your current fitness level is a good idea, even if you don't plan on working with a personal trainer on an ongoing basis.
3. Define your goals. What goals do you want to achieve? Do you want to lose 20 pounds of fat? Do you want to run a 10K race? Goal setting has to be a part of any over 40 fitness program.
4. Be consistent. Once you start an over 40 fitness program you have to follow it on a consistent basis if you want to derive any permanent benefits from it.
5. Warm up before exercising. A warm up should be a part of everyone's exercise program regardless of their age, but it's especially important for older exercisers who might be more susceptible to injuries. Warming up will stimulate blood flow to your muscles, increase your joint flexibility and range of motion, and get you mentally prepared for your workout. Do several minutes of easy aerobic exercise prior to more intense aerobic exercise. Do one or two light sets of each weight lifting exercise before using heavier weights.
6. Stretch after exercising. Stretching and warming up are not the same. Warming up should be done before exercise, stretching should be done after exercise. Stretching is especially important for older exercisers who may have lost some flexibility over the years.
7. Emphasize form and technique when lifting weights. You want to challenge yourself when lifting weights, but not at the expense of good form and technique. The over 40 exerciser needs to be especially careful to use good form and technique in order to avoid injury. Use muscle power, not momentum, when lifting weights. Don't heave, swing, or bounce the weights. Lift and lower the weights in a steady and controlled manner. Concentrate on feeling the muscle you're working (this is called the mind-muscle connection).
8. Give yourself enough recovery time after exercising. As you age, you need more recovery time after exercising, especially after weight lifting. Give your body the time it needs to rest and recover and it will get stronger and healthier.
9. Start slowly and build up gradually. Don't push yourself too hard too fast. Slowly and gradually progress from your existing fitness level.
10. Enjoy yourself. A fitness program has to be enjoyable if it's going to become a regular part of your life. When you first start a fitness program, especially when you're older, you may think it's a chore. But the more you keep at it, the more enjoyable it will become. You might just find that your fitness program becomes a positive addiction.

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