By Alexandra McCray
Staying fit in midlife and beyond can require adjustments in expectations, techniques and focuses, but it’s more than possible to achieve new physique goals and continue leading an active lifestyle. Here are 10 rules men over 40 should follow to look and feel their best.
1. Nail Sleep and Nutrition First
“Sleep and nutrition are where you recover your testosterone and growth hormone,” explains celebrity personal trainer Phil Catudal, NASM-CPT. He advises getting at least 7.5 hours of nightly shut-eye, ensuring whole foods are the core of your diet and eating .8 grams or more of protein per pound of body weight daily.
2. Strength Training is a Must
The benefits of weightlifting are many, from maintaining cognitive acuity and strengthening bones to combating diabetes and increasing resting metabolic rate. “Lifting weights is not optional or just ‘for muscle’ as men age; it’s the most important form of exercise for overall mind and body health,” Catudal notes.
3. Cardio Isn’t Optional, Either
Make doing at least 30 minutes of cardio (even if it’s just walking) a daily goal, says Catudal. “Nutrition and sleep are the base, weights keep you going harder and stronger and cardio keeps you going longer,” he explains.
4. Add Yoga to the Mix
“I recommend men try yoga to encompass mindful functional movement,” says Denise Leslie, founder and CEO of Medical & Sports Massage. “Keeping synovial fluid moving through the joints, with yoga and exercise, helps reduce stress and support a healthy heart.”
5. Stay Hydrated
Show your body some love by aiming for .75 to 1 ounce per pound of body weight per day in water consumption, says coach to the stars Brad Kolowich Jr. and founder of KoloFit Personal Training Studio. He adds, “My favorite water sources are reverse osmosis with mineral replacement as well as spring water.”
6. Master Mental Health
“Without a ‘sound mind,’ everything else in life can be negatively impacted,” says Kolowich. “Daily mind care is absolutely essential. Meditate, enjoy a hobby, make peace with difficult relationships, don’t go to bed unhappy (especially with your spouse!) and make some time to relax and recuperate.”
7. Prioritize Progressive Overload
“Because it’s more difficult for men after 40 to gain muscle mass, it’s really important to be intentional about progressive overload training when lifting weights,” Megan Hansen, RDN and author of “Metabolism Makeover.” To promote muscle growth, increase the amount of weight you use or reps you do each week, she says.
8. Always Warm Up and Cool Down
Properly prepare for your workout with a 5-to-10-minute warmup that starts with light activity (think treadmill walk) followed by dynamic movements like trunk rotations, advises Kolowich. After the workout, opt for a 5-10-minute cardio cooldown. Then, do static stretching and hold poses for 30 seconds (15 seconds minimum).
9. Don’t Overlook Stability
Stability isn’t only important for avoiding falls and other harm as you age, it’s also necessary for you to continue doing cardio and strength training. Hansen recommends adding activities like standing on a BOSU ball while weightlifting and doing single-leg exercises twice a week to increase your stability.
10. Factor In Recovery and Rest
To help prevent injuries and illness, don’t skimp on recovery and rest days, says Jacob Reynolds, PT, DPT, OCS, of Functionize Health & Physical Therapy. He suggests mimicking pro athletes and giving yourself an “off- season” of 1-2 months a year to detrain from your routine. “An actionable way to work recovery into your routine is to replace a weekly training session with a sports massage,” says Reynolds.
Phil Catudal, NASM-CPT, www.trainedbyphil.com
Medical & Sports Massage, www.livelifepainfree.com
Megan Hansen, RDN, www.metabolismmakeover.co
KoloFit Personal Training Studio, www.kolofit.com
Functionize Health & Physical Therapy, www.functionizehealth.com