Exercise for the newbies over 40

Exercise for the over 40’s

I’ve recently had the pleasure of being contacted by a journalist who had been looking at presenting as part of a pull out section of a health and fitness Sunday newspaper publication. (the herald sun)

The reason I was called was due to my age (48) and opinions on how partaking in an exercise program over 40 year would fare. I liked the idea that the audience targeted was going to be those new to exercise at this age. In addition I was kind of happy that it would not be about my own story on personal training, I’m sure there are plenty of those around already so helping people who are new to fitness is a privilege.

The following is really the basis of the initial conversation and I though it would be interesting to note what some of the question they were looking at in projecting to their readership.

My responses where pretty much my thoughts based on my own experiences in life and working as a fitness professional.

What are the main physical changes after 40 that will influence your fitness routine? How does the body behave differently from when it was, say, 30-something?

  • The biggest difference when we get to the magical age of 40 is the recovery time and the longer time the body takes to heal from any small niggles. For anyone who has already a solid base of exercise from a younger age it would just be a matter of adjusting the workload and intensity of any activities. A more cautious approach is recommended for those newbies who are looking at participating in any activity post 40. Another change is a lack of proper movement, that is you are hurting performing the most minor of moves like a squat while playing with the kids. Once you are able to move better then you can work with greater loading.

What are the areas of caution and issues to watch out for at this stage in your fitness life?

  • The major one here would be injuries and how they will affect you. Given that you are now in your 40’s it’s fair to say that you have a family, working life and your time is limited for exercise. Adding a rehabilitation process to this just makes it more difficult. Make sure that you are training with a sound program and you are familiar with the technical requirements. The no pain/no gain approach does not apply. It should be more like slowly but surely.

What are the types of exercise best suited at this life stage, or is it the same as ever – choose what suits you best personally?

  • Whether you are a beginner of have some background in exercise the major moves are still effective and should not be neglected, movements like the Squat, deadlift , shoulder press, a rowing movement, pressing movement , and core should be the pillars in any sound program. Adding the many cardio movement like cycling, running, swimming and team activities places you well with regards to your time exercising. Basic is good folks.

I’ve found that once I educate my clients on proper technique and they are able to execute the movement pain free, then it’s just a matter of            following the process and using the required approach depending on the personality types. People respond well when they feel confident in what they are doing and results soon follow. Nothings better that seeing results to motivate us.

What do you find are the most frequent obstacles to motivation among clients you see in this age group?

  • I’m too old for this and I have an injury

Once these two reasons enter their minds it’s quite difficult to break this thinking. These two come up usually early on when working with client or when they are not simply feeling well. Over time with a little more experience and working around any (real) injuries people soon realise that they can still work towards their goals and put aside any anxieties and find that motivation to keep going.

Is this a time in your life when you can still actually achieve personal bests, achieve new goals and continue to expand your fitness?

  • Absolutely! I have a female client who I’ve had the pleasure of working with. She is 60 years young and has beaten her marathon personal best and shorter “parkrun” 5klm weekend runs. She came to me with a solid running background and realised that she needed a stronger body. Others have been my two dads who want to run their first 5 klm event and even give the Spartan race a go. The rest simply want to be able to start running pain free. It’s all achievable if you want it to be.

Women/men issues – anything specific for either sex to focus on (bone strength and resistance with women?)

  • The benefits of exercise a many with the obvious been that you actually move better and feel better .The aesthetics that we often chase should be a by-product of a well-balanced program supported by a sensible nutritional approach. It all comes down to balance. Once you take this approach you will get that lean and appealing look and for the ladies you will still look feminine. You will find that by simply dropping those kilograms you will have more energy and feel better and be able to push yourself properly and achieve other results. Both men and women in general will greatly benefit from an active and healthy lifestyle. An all over strong body and mind should be your goal.

From your own experience again, do you have a healthy client base in this age group? Are greater numbers of people now open to staying fit and active in this age group than before? We are younger than we used to be over 40 with 40 being the new 30, 50 being the new 40, and all of that!

  • I would say that 70% of my client base fits in with this category with most of them coming to see me for an all over program that involves fitness and strength as a priority. Funny enough “weight loss” is not the sole reason. This is great from a service delivery point of view as from the very beginning I can focus on a more complete program that just coming in to lose the weight. These clients are now at an age where a more complete program is required, expectations a high, are time poor and need an experienced and professional instruction in guiding their goals.
  • Being 48 it’s a little easier to get my message across to my fellow post 40 clients.

A final comment

Physical activity is valuable for all and for some has now become a necessity. For us older folk (like me), where maintenance of good health, independence, and certain age/lifestyle factor related disease prevention can be achieved with only a dose of Fitness and Strength. It’s time to take action and do something about it.

As we are now over 40 we should all do some form of physical activity, no matter what your age, weight, health problems or abilities. You have to make an effort. It’s never too late to start becoming physically active. Let’s get you started in helping you out with enjoying the benefits of having more energy, reducing pain in movement and other age related matters we have to deal with that are slowing you down. It’s now time to act.

Claudefit personal training has been a personal trainer for 10 years and has own personal training background since 1988.

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