Men older than 40 can lose 8 percent or more of their muscle mass every 10 years. Getting back into shape might seem like a monumental task if you've been sedentary or exercise infrequently. You can do it if you are willing to put in the time and effort. The best exercise routine for men older than 40 includes strength training, flexibility exercises and cardiovascular exercise. Before beginning any exercise program, consult with your health care provider.
Strength training is essential to help prevent loss of muscle mass and to increase muscle strength. A strength-training routine to get back into shape after age 40 should include exercises for all muscle groups. Rotate training your muscles on a schedule with a day of rest between exercising muscle groups. Dumbbells, barbells and resistance exercise machine exercises can help you achieve a leaner, stronger body. Body-weight exercises, including squats, crunches and plank exercises, should be included in your strength-training routine. Start slowly by doing eight to 10 repetitions of strength exercises. Increase the weight or repetitions as you gain strength.
Cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercise is a necessary part of any exercise routine. Cardio exercises increase your heart rate and respiration. You burn fat while you are building strength and endurance. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every day. Swimming, walking, jogging and running are good aerobic exercises. Gym workouts for cardio include riding a stationary bicycle, using a treadmill, stair-step or elliptical machine.
Stretching exercises improve your joint flexibility and range of motion. Stretching your muscles after warming up can reduce your risk of muscle strain or joint injury. Stretching also prepares your muscles for more strenuous exercise, such as weightlifting or resistance band exercises, for better athletic performance. Stretch your muscles after an exercise session to help cool down your body and begin the muscle tissue recovery process following strenuous exercise.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Warm up before exercise to help prepare your body for more strenuous exercise. Warming up gradually raises your heart rate and increases blood flow to all parts of your body. Warm-up routines also help reduce the risk of muscle strain or a sprained joint. Warm up for strength training by going through the movements of lifting weights without the weights. If you plan to run, walk briskly for about five minutes before starting your run. Cool down by doing your exercise routine at a leisurely pace for the last 10 minutes of your workout. Runners can cool down by walking for 10 minutes.
- The New York Times: Aging Well Through Exercise
- National Center for Biotechnology Information, Physicians And Sports Medicine: Chronic Exercise Preserves Lean Muscle Mass In Masters Athletes
- Exercise Goals: Weight Training for Middle Aged Men: Exercise Routines After Age 40
- Men's Health: The 40s Workout: Flexibility and Strength
- MayoClinic.com: Stretching: Focus On Flexibility
- MayoClinic.com: Aerobic Exercise: How To Warm Up And Cool Down
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.