You are close to 40 and while your mind is ticking away, your body is sending out distress signals. Your sedentary job coupled with lack of exercise has led to a growing potbelly, stiff and creaky joints, memory lapses, a feeling of fatigue and a tendency towards depression. Frightening, isn’t it? So what can you do? How can you get fit at forty?

You probably think it’s too late in the day to start exercising. But fitness specialists are unanimous that it is never too late to start. So take charge of your life today and you could well be on your way to turning back the hands of time.

Getting Started

However, if this is the first time you are starting on a fitness programme, you need to get the green signal from your doctor before you begin. The fact remains that life at forty can be fragile. Your body undergoes a number of changes because of physiological and hormonal rebalances and unless you have been active, the risk of injury can be relatively high and the rate of recovery rather slow. Therefore, it is advisable to start slow, so that your body gets accustomed to the exercise rather than shocked into it. Invest in a good pair of shoes, cool comfortable clothing and possibly get a trained fitness person to give you hands-on-basic training regarding correct style and technique. Evaluate your present levels of fitness and be realistic about achieving results that are gradual and can be sustained over a period of time. Remember, make the exercise a part of your lifestyle, rather than a means to an end.

What’s important is to pick an activity that you enjoy and stick to it regularly. There’s no need to go in for something that will make you huff and puff and lose a lot of sweat without giving you any real benefits. You could go in for a brisk half-hour walk.

Other method to improve your cardiovascular efficiency include cycling, swimming or working out on a treadmill, stationary cycle, rowing or a ski machine. Doing these exercises would mean being able to endure much more in a day without getting excessively tired. These will also make your heart strong enough to withstand and ward off the likelihood of a heart-related disease. Over time these exercises also help towards maintaining your emotional stability.

My Recommendation

A flexibility program is highly recommended as it can help in slowing the aging process. Try a stretch routine like yoga that brings along with it a sense of peace and calm – just what the doctor would order! This is something you can and would want to do everyday. Think of your muscles as being as pliable as you want and they will respond. Take deep breaths to assist you and this will bring about a sense of serenity and harmony that will take you fighting fit into the twilight years.

Special Medical Conditions

As you grow older, bone-related disorders come creeping in. To prevent or delay these, you can go in for any weight bearing exercise. This would increase the bone mineral density, the lack of which leads to diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis which occur in both men and women. You can also add to your “to-do” list, a moderate strength training program, which you should do at least 2-3 times a week. If done correctly, your aches and pains will vanish gradually, paving the way for stronger bones and muscles. More muscles equal more lean mass in the body, which gobble up the extra calories even when the body is at rest. Now that’s a bonus!

So what do you want to be — fat and forty or fit and forty? The choice lies with you. What you need to keep in mind is that fitness at forty is not a dream. It has been done and can be done. All it needs is a little grit, determination and will power.