Exercising or regular physical activity that challenges you in a positive way, is one of the best things you can do for your health at age 40 and beyond. And yes, walking is highly recommended as one of many ways to stay active, plus it is free!
According to the CDC, regular exercising, especially after age 40, not only offers the benefits I will discuss in this blog, it also helps manage chronic health conditions and disabilities, reduce health risks (cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes), and improves brain health.
Here Are 5 Reasons to Exercise After 40:
1. Prevent Chronic Diseases
Per the CDC, 6 in 10 adult Americans have a chronic disease. Lack of physical activity and poor nutrition are amongst the top key lifestyle risks for chronic disease. As we age, our bodies begin to naturally break down, but regular physical activity has been proven to slow down the process.
2. Manage Weight
Eating and physical activity habits play a key role in weight management, and this becomes very critical especially after turning 40. If your goal is to maintain your weight, the CDC recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity, which includes yard work or dancing – you can work your way up to this goal by starting gradually. This goal can be eventually achieved if you set aside 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Brisk walk 30 minutes a day, and voila!, you will attain your goal. Add healthy meal choices to this strategy if your goal is long-term.
Moreover, the number of calories you consume and burn through physical activities over time, to a large extent, determines your weight. To lose weight and keep it off requires a high amount of physical activity unless, you are willing to religiously couple it with healthy meal choices. I am of the 70/30 percent school of thought – eating healthy 70% of the time and enjoying foods I like 30% of the time while exercising 4 - 5 times each week habitually. This strategy not only works for me but does so for many others. Making the 70/30 rule a lifestyle requires a lot of work, and that includes consistency over a long period of time. You must be prepared to eat the same kinds of healthy foods as a lifestyle. It, Is, Doable!
3. Strengthen Your Bones and Muscles
Your bones, joints and muscles support you as you age; thus, it is important to strengthen them so you can move. The healthier they are, the easier for you to complete important daily activities.
According to “The Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Ageing” at Tufts University, loss of muscle mass and strength is very common among older adults; And even more remarkably, it begins to set in when we are in our ‘30s. So not only is poor diet a risk factor in sarcopenia—the condition wherein is characterized by loss of muscle mass, strength, and function in older adults—so is lack of physical activity.
To prevent loss of muscle mass, you must engage in strength training activities. The most common and effective, is weight training. And women, kindly note this: lifting or training with weights 2 - 3 times consistently each week will make you look good and preserve your feminine charms so you can deploy it as you wish. Such weight-trainings will not necessarily change your feminine musculature into that of a muscular and beefy man—unless of course that is what you desire; then I can train you for that too in my gym studio.
To achieve such sentiments that I am expressing, I recommend you start slowly with light weights and high repetitions. Over time, you will start gaining in strength. The stronger you become as a result of such weight trainings, so your muscles will become leaner. Thus, your musculature will become leaner and your body, more toned. And even your spine and those erstwhile bones supporting your whole physical structure would improve better for it!
Furthermore, the leaner the muscle mass you encourage, the more your body becomes efficient in the burning of the calories as you go through these physical activities. For muscle is lean tissue, so therefore it is quite obvious that the end result of such exercises is that you will be toner and leaner and never puffy, especially when such weight-trainings is combined with proper eating habits.
4. Enhance Your Ability to do Daily Tasks
Daily activities include grocery shoppings, cookings, gardenings, taking elaborate walks in your neighborhood, dancing with your neighbors, climbing stairs, and playing with your grandchildren. One’s inability to perform such daily activities is called FUNCTIONAL LIMITATION. Adults whom are physically active have a lower risk of FUNCTIONAL LIMITATION than their counter-parts whom are inactive. Even a study of nuns released showed that amongst those nuns, the ones whom engaged in such healthy activities did not develop Alzheimers and other diseases related to natural aging. So, we can really arrest the progression of ageing, but we have to be proactive in stemming its encroachment and onslaught. Our actions really do determine the trajectories of our health.
Continuing, to prevent risk of falling or injuries during falls, the CDC highly recommends a variety of physical activity especially for older adults. Functional, aerobic, balance, flexibility, and muscle strengthening exercises to name a few, are some of the physical activities. And if you have no access to these, simple dancing or swimming or walking helps.
5. Increase Your Chances of Living Longer
The CDC estimates 110,000 deaths in the US could be prevented each year, if adults 40 and over increased their daily physical activities by 10 minutes. Physical activity does not have to be rigorous - moderate physical activity is enough for many. Moderate physical activities include, brisk walking, water aerobics, swimming, and riding a bike on level ground.
According to the Lancet Public Health, taking more steps a day helps reduce the cause of many premature deaths. For adults below 60, the chance of premature death leveled off at about 8,000 to 10,000 steps each day. For those 60 and over, the chance of premature death leveled off at about 6,000 to 8,000 steps a day.
In conclusion, regular exercise offers us immeasurable health benefits, including helping us prevent chronic diseases, manage our weight, strengthen our bones and muscles, enhance our ability to perform daily tasks, and increase our chances of living longer. And on average, people who exercise on a regular basis, live longer, and have better quality of lives. So live well and prosper!