Our bodies change throughout our lives, and while exercise is important no matter what your age, it’s important as we get older to focus on body strengthening to keep strong. This helps joints and muscles that are more prone to injury as we age, as well as ensuring we keep fit to avoid a number of diseases caused by poor lifestyle choices. Choosing the right exercises will not only keep you fit and strong, but will also maximise enjoyment.
Body strengthening as you age
Running may not be something you’re particularly thinking of taking up at 40, but there are many inspiring stories of those that have done it and fallen in love with it. Taking up running as you get older is an excellent way to boost your fitness and to strengthen your leg and core muscles. It’s also a great stress reliever, and therefore has a number of mental health benefits too. Running can cause injuries if you’re not careful, and the best thing you can do is to go to a specialist running shop to get your running style assessed so that you can be given the right footwear. The Couch to 5K app is a great place to get started and it will allow you to increase your distance over time which will help you build up your stamina rather than jumping straight into it.
Running can also be sociable if you run with a friend or join a running club. You will find a handy list of running clubs in East Berkshire here and you can also check out the Parkrun website to find local events to take part in.
Perceptions of weight training have evolved. It’s no longer just about achieving that body builder physique anymore, but instead about helping you to become stronger and tone up by burning fat/increasing muscle, without needing to go overboard. If you decide to train at the gym as well, there are many weights machines available that will help you achieve the same aims without having to stand in the free weights section. The right knee exercises will target your knee and shoulder joints as well as help strengthen your core to keep your back in good shape and to prevent injuries.
The Telegraph recently published a video to show you how to use weights for body strengthening such as for your knees and other parts of your body. You can find affordable gym memberships at East Berkshire College, Bracknell Leisure Centre and other local leisure centres, or you can buy some weights to use at home instead.
Yoga is a popular exercise for body strengthening for both young and older bodies and you’ll find people of all shapes, sizes and ages in your class. It’s a great exercise to take up as you get older as it increases flexibility and balance and strengthens muscles, which can all be used to try and prevent injury. Yoga teachers are also sensitive to injuries and weak spots and will adapt exercises to suit you if needed which can give you more confidence in trying it out.
There are a number of yoga classes in the East Berkshire area which you can do alone, with friends or even with the kids. Take a look at your nearest class and give this good all-round exercise a try.
Swimming is another recommend exercise as it uses all of your key muscle groups, without putting pressure on your joints. Swimming can also help to boost your aerobic fitness so you may find that you’re less out of breath after enjoying regular swimming sessions. If you’re a busy parent or even a grandparent, swimming can be a great exercise to take the kids too as well so you can enjoy double the benefits without having to worry about finding a babysitter.
If you want to give swimming a try, you’ll find a list of local swimming pools here as well as details of those who offer lessons.
By taking up exercise you will be helping your body to become stronger and to fight against different conditions and illnesses that can stop your enjoyment of life. You’ll find all sorts of fitness resources on the NHS Choices pages to help you find activities you enjoy, as well as advice on recovering from injuries and exercising with disabilities. Start exercising now and enjoy getting fit in your forties.