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5 Best Forms Of Exercise To Do If You Are Age 40+


Aging is something we cannot get away from. When we are in our teens, 20s and even 30s we don’t give a second thought about how we move and what we eat as we are able to get away with so many little sins. Our amazing human bodies are able to deal with a cheeky fry up, lazing on the sofa all day or having a boozy night out on the town with friends.


We don’t really notice any difference in how we look or feel when we are young as our bodies just adapt and deal with it but the story starts to change once in your 40s. I know as I am now 42 and although I’ve always had a slim athletic figure being an ex-gymnast and sprint athlete. I now am seeing things are not quite as tight as they used to be, my skin over my once strong muscles is looking a little lax and activities in daily life that involve lifting and strength take more effort and when exercising things that used to be a breeze are now not!


So, what happens to us once we hit the naughty 40 landmark???


Well yet again good old hormones are partly to blame!….they are pesky things! The growth hormones that helped us grow from children in to adults start to diminish meaning that unless we get smart about things we may end up on the scrapheap before we know it. Nothing we can do about the change in hormones we cannot stop it so we have to learn to manage the changes and the good news is we can.


The things we can expect to see once we hit 40 are:


  • Slowing metabolism, the scientists estimate 2% per decade.
  • Decline in muscle strength and mass around 6-7lb decline form age 30.
  • Bone density dropping by around 1% per year from mid 30s.
  • Stress levels higher – due to worry about children, aging parents, health, career and finances.


So, what can we do about combatting these health declines?


1. Strength Training


According to the American College of Sports Medicine muscular strength is at its peak between the ages of 20 and 30 and then remains pretty much that level for another 20 years.


So, the goal of a anyone aged 40+ should be to maintain the muscle mass and strength so it doesn’t decline as she gets older.


It has been proven that strength training for 6 months can increase your resting metabolism helping that expanding waistline and sagging bottom.


Strength training also helps promote bone density and avoid and or help resolve injury.


2. Work on your Flexibility


Maintaining and or improving your flexibility is another must for people age 40+. I do my stretching routine daily and we should all try to stretch every day. Think of a dog or cat when they wake form their slumber…. what’s the first thing they do? That’s right they stretch!


The human body was made to move. Don’t take muscles and joints through their full range of movement every day and you can expect to stiffen up and this will become a pain problem at some point, mark my words.


3. Bone Health


Bone loss typically occurs in those age 50 and over but it is never too early to start to work on preserving your bone health and strength.


Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, dancing are all more beneficial than say swimming or cycling as these as forms of exercise where you are not bearing load through your bones so will not stimulate bone strength.


4. Cardio Health – Get the HIIT!


We hear this all the time! “I go to the gym 3-5 times a week or I run almost daily and still I have belly fat. What am I doing wrong?”


Well this is easy to answer….. if this is you ditch the treadmill. Recent research suggests that long frequent cardio sessions over taxes your body and will increase the production of the stress hormone called cortisol, which will cause belly fat!


Studies have also shown long frequent cardio sessions also breaks down your lean muscle and increase the production of free radicals which are the nasty little cells in your body that cause chronic inflammation and accelerates aging!


The answer…. Swap to HIIT sessions. HIIT means High Intensity Interval Training.


5. Connect your Mind & Body


Exercise such as Pilates and Yoga is fab for this! I started doing Pilates 14 years ago for a low back problem that I have. I found Pilates not only helped me maintain and improve my flexibility it helped improve my strength, posture and my pain!!!!!


The exercises in Pilates are all done in a controlled manor. Pilates focuses on 5 key elements and you apply them to every movement you do. As this takes concentration to make sure you are moving correctly, I found it let my mind focus on “me” and my body which resulted in me forgetting about life and the outside world for that hour, helping me to relax and a feel calm.


In Pilates, we also work on how we breathe making sure we breathe well. Did you know most of us do not breathe correctly due to bad posture and stress? Learning to breath correctly has health benefits stimulating the vagus nerve that runs from the brain to the pelvis, relaxing the heart, airways, muscles, stomach and bowel tract and blood vessels.


Try it now…. Breath in through your nose filling your lungs slowly and fully and then breath out slowly through your mouth. Do this for a few cycles and you will soon notice you start to feel calmer. So, if this simple exercise can have such a calming effect imagine what an entire hour of Pilates will do for your health and well-being J



So, to sum up…. the goal for all of us age 40+ is to add muscle to our bodies. Muscle is an active, calorie burning tissue that helps keep your metabolism strong. Adding muscle building exercise in to our exercise regime needs to be done 3-4 times a week so you hold on to the muscle you built in your 20s and 30s and in fact you can even gain more muscle than you were as a spring chicken. Good news ay!


This doesn’t mean you will end up looking like a muscle man but you will get a strong and lean physique if you train smarter and not harder.


We also need to work on our flexibility so our muscles and joints are able to move through the full range we are meant to have and we need to work on our minds too! Yes, let’s get that de-stress and “ME” time going and you will live a happier, healthier, more active life!


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About Wendy McCloud

Wendy is the founder of The South East’s Leading Specialist Private Physiotherapy Practice for People in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, who want to keep healthy and active.

Wendy’s background includes working as an Extended Scope Practitioner Physiotherapist working as part of Mr. Ali Al-Sabti’s Orthopaedic Consultant’s team specialising in Shoulder Pain.

Wendy has treated royalty for Shoulder pain through referrals from her close links with a top Orthopaedic Shoulder Surgeons. More recently Wendy has been the sole choice physiotherapist for all Essex based referrals from London Shoulder surgeon Mr. Matthew Sala.

Wendy worked in National Level Rugby Union for 11 years, working with players who achieved county honours and representative honours for various countries such as England, Samoa, Australia and New Zealand. Wendy resigned from her position as Head Physiotherapist at Southend RFC in June 2011 to open WDC which has become the fastest growing clinic in the South East of England.

WDC is now a large multi-therapist speciality practice in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

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Wendy founded WDC in September 2006. She has worked in both the public and private sectors. Within the NHS, Wendy worked as a Senior Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and an Extended Scope Practitioner Physiotherapist as part of an Orthopaedic Consultant’s team specialising in Shoulder Pain. Wendy has treated royalty for Shoulder pain through referrals from her close links with a top Orthopaedic Shoulder Surgeon. More recently, Wendy has been the sole choice physiotherapist for all Essex-based referrals from London Shoulder surgeon Mr Matthew Sala. Wendy also worked within the national rugby union as the head physiotherapist for Southend Rugby Football Club. She led the medical service at the club for 11 years, working with players who achieved county honours and representative honours for various countries such as England, Samoa, Australia, and New Zealand.
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