Everyone dreads it right?  You hit 40 and you know something is up!!! Something is just not the same!!!  You see yourself, your friends and your family start to put on a little (or a lot) of extra weight after the age of 40, and nobody seems to know what’s going on!  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  In this blog, we will talk about what happens to you after the age of 40, and what to do about it!

What happens after 40?

First, weight is easier to gain and harder to keep off.  Metabolism starts to slow a bit, and in middle age, stress, sleep, responsibilities never seem to allow us to catch a break!  Your stress hormones are high, and no matter what you try, it seems to not be effective at keeping the weight off.  Your energy is low, and you just feel blah….In addition, you may find through laboratory testing, that your thyroid and/or adrenal glands are out of whack.  Not sure?  Click here to set up an appointment to do some lab work, and we will help you out in that regard!  You might need to address thyroid or other hormones, and could be a candidate for bio-identical hormone therapy.

First, from the time you are born until the age of 30, you gain muscle, but after 30, you start to lose muscle at a rate of 3-5% each decade you are not active.  Even with activity, you still lose muscle, but at a slower rate.  In addition, your reflexes and coordination start to decline.  Lastly, after the age of 40, you start to lose 1/2 inch of height every 10 years!  To sum it up, your body just literally isn’t what it used to be, and really through no fault of your own.  BOOO!!!!

Witness a study done in 1966 when researchers asked 5 healthy 20-year-olds to spend 3 weeks in bed.  Talk about a “sleep-cation” right??? Researchers found massive effects in:

  1. Heart rate
  2. Muscle strength
  3. Blood pressure
  4. Heart capacity

After exercising for 8 weeks after this, all of the participants’ parameters returned to normal! 

Then another study was done using the same 5 men (who at 50 years old had gained an average of 50 pounds over 30 years).  The researchers asked the men to exercise for 6 months.  The result: the men had returned to their 20-year-old self’s baseline for resting heart rate, blood pressure, and heart pumping ability! 

They reversed 30 years of decline!

So the possibility to reverse YOUR damage after 40 is totally up to YOU!  Here’s what we recommend you try…

Modify Your Training

You may think that cardio is good for you… Well not so fast.  Too much is definitely not good for you, and you are missing out on some of the benefits of other styles of training when you do only cardio.  First, cardio increases belly fat because it actually can increase cortisol levels, which tell your body to store belly fat.  However, short bursts of all-out effort cause the body to secrete LESS cortisol than long, sustained cardio sessions. Interesting right?

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the body to deal with stress.  It gets secreted by the adrenal glands to conserve energy, which over a long cardio session is obvious what the body will try and do…  Cortisol will tell the body to slow down your thyroid and conserve fat!

So to avoid this, you want to keep cardio sessions under 30-45 minutes, only 3 times per week maximum.  Ideally, you will vary your forms of cardio to keep your body from adapting.  Ideally, you will mix cardio with a short burst of strength training.  Basically, keep your body guessing…  Lastly, cardio increases free radicals in the body.

Consider Functional Training and Movement

Well, the keyword here is functional. Just like functional medicine, functional movement looks at the whole of the body and focuses on movements that integrate multiple muscle groups.  For your workouts, choose exercises and exercise equipment that mimics movements you do in daily life.

The core exercises to focus on here are anything that involves:

  1. Squatting (squats and lunges),
  2. Pulling (pull-ups, or other exercises engaging the back), and
  3. Stabilizing (plank and other core-work).

An ideal combination of exercises would utilize all 3 categories of:

  1. Cardio (Short bursts of sprinting is ideal)
  2. Strength/functional training  (kettlebells, TRX, etc)
  3. Coordination/Agility (think dance, salsa, Zumba, martial arts)

Have you Tried a TABATA or HIIT workout?

For fun, here is a great TABATA workout, which is a form of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) training that you can do to incorporate into your workouts.  It is suggested to do a HIIT workout 2-3 times per week, or interleave them into your cardio workouts. Here are some great TABATA workouts on Pinterest: Click Here for TABATAS!

Lastly… Did you know we have a health coach who was a former Olympic trained athlete and had his own gym?  Need help with your fitness?  He’s got your back. Reach Travis for a free 15-minute training strategy session at www.booktravis.com

For more reading, here are some additional references:

FEEL free to comment below!  We’d love to hear what you are doing for exercise over 40!

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