As we get older, it is a natural progression that we start to slow down. Is this a true reflection of our bodies’ aging, or is it all in the mind? Every one of us cannot deny the fact that physical exercise is good for us, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we take care of our bodies as we should. Surely any exercise is better than no exercise? What is the best workout for a 40-year-old man?
With age (sometimes) comes wisdom and the knowledge that as we age, we cannot do what we used to be able to do when we were younger. Men over 40 should adjust their workouts to suit their capabilities. Some men have continued to exercise daily throughout their lives, while others have had a different viewpoint with either no exercise at all or the occasional spurt.
This is by no means necessarily a reflection on any man in his 40’s – life sometimes gets in the way, and as often happens, our own health falls by the wayside.
How can we improve or maintain our physical and mental health and wellbeing? To help you get started, have a look at our 9 Best Exercises For Men Over 40 – At Home Workout:
- Dumbbell Curls
- Kettlebell Swings
- Leg Extensions
- Lat Pulldowns
For optimal health for a man over 40, a well-rounded, healthy attitude is required. Weight maintenance, a healthy heart, mental endurance, and stamina are crucial for healthy living as we get older. Exercise could well be the single most important step you can take to keep the effects of aging under control and for maintaining your mental and physical health.
9 Best At-Home Exercises For Men Over 40
Most importantly, before you start any form of exercise, consult your doctor! To avoid injury or straining yourself, always remember to warm-up and stretch before beginning any form of exercise.
There are many other ways to exercise without joining a gym and which can be done in your own home or neighborhood. The best workout for a 40-year-old man should include:
- Running, jogging, or walking – this is a hugely beneficial exercise for overall body health. Running or walking provides a major workout to many muscle groups, particularly in the legs and thighs, while providing an excellent cardio and stamina workout. The basics that you need is a good pair of running shoes – no other equipment needed!
- Swimming – while this does require a swimming pool, any pool will do, not just the one at the local gym. Swimming is an all-around body toning, cardio building, calorie-burning discipline. The added water resistance safely allows you to tone your muscles all over your body. Great for anyone suffering from joint injuries and muscle pains.
- Cycling – for this exercise, you would need to purchase either an indoor or an outdoor bike. Whether you choose a moderate pace or are a bit more adventurous, cycling targets your leg, thigh, and abdominal muscles and is a great cardio, strength, and endurance exercise.
- Dumbbell curls – a good set of dumbbells is a must for any man to keep at home. Dumbbell curls provide good exercise for your arms and shoulders. Range of motion exercises is important to keep your body in tip-top shape.
- Kettlebell swings – the kettlebell can be used in many ways, but the most common use is to hold with both hands and swing straight up and down. Bend your legs at every swing – great for upper and lower body toning.
- Leg extensions – sit on a bench or chair with your upper thigh lying flat on the surface. Raise your leg up and down from the knee up – add some resistance by using resistance bands.
- Lat pulldowns – resistance bands come in varying strengths, so make sure you have a few. Hook a band around a tree branch or trunk and pull!
- Pushups – works out your entire body – make sure to rest between sets.
- Step-ups – a very easy way to get the blood pumping – vary your steps by adjusting the height and stepping faster or slower depending on your fitness levels.
The Best Equipment For Home Workouts
If you are going to invest in some equipment for at-home workouts, do some research and see what is available either from your local sporting goods store or online. Learn to use your equipment properly, and remember, it doesn’t matter how much equipment you have; if it is not used regularly, you will not see any changes to your health!
We have compiled a basic list of equipment to get you started:
- A treadmill
- A stationary bicycle or an elliptical machine
- An adjustable kettlebell
- A yoga/exercise mat
- A resistance door gym
- Resistance bands
- Ankle weights
- A stair stepper
All or some of the above equipment should be enough to get you started on your new exercise plan without costing too much. See if you have a friend who would be willing to share the costs or even lend you some of the equipment before you invest.
How Much Exercise Should A 40-Year-Old Man Get?
Any exercise or movement is better than none at all, but as a recommendation, 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a day is required to keep you functioning as you should.
You can alter your exercise regimen to suit your own schedule. If you are just getting going starting an exercise program after a long break or a time of not doing any exercise, then it is better to start off slowly and build up the intensity of your workout.
Start exercising every second day as opposed to working out every day or change your workouts to a strenuous session one day with a less intense session the next. The aim is to simply get your body moving every day, whether it is a short walk around the block or a more strenuous training session.
Do what is right and comfortable for you – if you enjoy what you are doing, then you will look forward to your training time and make it a priority in your life. Eventually, your exercise sessions will become a very important part of your daily routine.
Can A 40-Year-Old Man Build Muscle?
You may feel that you are not quite at the point where you can work out and push your body as hard as you did in your twenties, but with the right type of training, you can continue to build strong muscle for many years to come.
Many workout sites offer training plans specifically targeted to men over 40 and are designed for the man who would like to start taking care of or continue to take care of his health and body by weight training and muscle building.
Studies comparing groups of men between the ages of 18 and 22 and 35 and 50 years of age, conducted over a period of eight weeks, found that muscle mass was built at around the same level in both age groups during this time period.
What this means is, age is irrelevant when it comes to building muscle, so yes, a 40-year-old man can build muscle!
We have gathered some simple tips together to start you on the road to strengthening your muscles:
- Weight training – mix up the weights. If you lift heavy all the time, you may develop aches and pains which could linger and eventually interfere with your training. Light, medium, and heavy weights can all successfully be used to build muscle.
- Keep moving – even if you cannot use weights every day, try to keep active – take a walk around your neighborhood block after dinner.
- Don’t push your body to the max – work smarter, not harder.
- Rest – your body is not designed to go all out 52 weeks of the year. After 3 weeks of hard training, slow down a little, and allow your body to rest.
- Stretch – As a general rule, try to stretch each muscle for at least 60 seconds before you start training. Improves flexibility as well as loosening tight muscles.
The advantage of being older is that you know your body and know when to stop and when to push harder. Listen to your body; pain is a warning that something is going to break – don’t push through the pain when you are over 40!
How Many Times A Week Should A 40-Year-Old Workout?
Men over 40 should try to work out regularly – this means a regular, moderate cardio activity for at least 30 minutes daily at 100 steps per minute! Cardio exercises can include walking at a moderate pace, running, jogging, cycling, swimming, stair climbing, or just about any activity which gets your heart racing and blood pumping.
In addition to the cardio workout, muscle strengthening should be included at least 3 days a week, with further balance training at least twice a week. Weight training using dumbbells or the kettlebell will provide an all-over strengthening and toning for your body. Balance training strengthens your core muscles, which keep you upright. Yoga is excellent for balance training.
How Fit Should A 40-Year-Old Man Be?
If you can walk 2 miles in under 30 minutes, then you are considered fit at 40! If you can cover the same distance in under 28 minutes, then you are in excellent shape.
The better the shape you are in, the less time you will spend wheezing and coughing after moderate exercise, and the shorter your recovery time will be. Always remember that a cooling down session is just as important as a warming up session. A relaxed stroll or walk is a good way to wind down after a strenuous exercise session.
There are many online guides that will point you in the right direction of how fit you should be at 40 and over, but of course, a doctor’s visit for a complete check-up is the best option.
Your body mass index, sometimes abbreviated to BMI, is a good indicator of whether you have a healthy amount of body fat. Download a BMI indicator that you can use to determine what your healthy BMI should be.
As a guide, see how you shape up in the following quick tests:
- Aerobic fitness
– measured heartbeats per minute after a 10-minute brisk walk – 175 beats per minute
– running or jogging a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) – should take 12 minutes to complete
- Muscular strength and endurance
– push up test – 16 pushups in a row on the floor before stopping for a rest
– sit up test – 35 sit-ups in a row before stopping for a rest
– sit and reach test – sit on the floor, legs stretched out in front of you, reach forward as far as you can – you should be able to reach 17.5 in (44cm)
Monitor your results and see how you do the next time. If your results are currently below the recommended guidelines, then work towards the goals. Results above the recommended guidelines are generally an indication of better fitness levels – well done!
What Exercises Should Older Men Avoid?
As important as exercise is, there are a few which should not be attempted by men over 40. We are not saying that all exercise should be avoided; in fact, you should absolutely exercise regularly as you get older.
Some exercises are best avoided or adapted to fit your specific fitness and endurance level. Old injuries and nagging strains and pains may prevent you from trying certain exercises, but there are so many different ways to train that you are certain to find something that you enjoy and can safely partake in regularly.
These are a few of the exercises NOT recommended for men over 40:
- Crunches – intense ab exercises could place strain on your spine. Unless you are 100% straight when doing crunches, you could injure yourself – leave these to the younger generation!
- Intense cardio – opt for shorter high-intensity workouts over boot camp! Ligaments, hip, and knee joints can suffer damage with strenuous cardio workouts.
- Squats – If done incorrectly, squats can cause lower back and knee injuries due to muscle strains, tears, and pulls. Good alternative exercises are lunges and step-ups.
- Leg extensions – knee and ankle injuries are common problems caused by leg extensions, even for younger people. Try dumbbell lunges instead.
- Deadlifts – can be very damaging to your back. Rowing would be a better exercise.
- Triceps dips – if you don’t position your arms correctly when doing this exercise, you can injure the muscles in your upper arms and your rotator cuff. Try triceps pushups instead.
- Behind the neck lat pulldowns – could cause shoulder strain and tears if not performed correctly – rather try close-grip pulldowns in front of the body as a good alternative exercise.
The first step towards leading a healthier, more active life is to just do it! If a daily exercise workout training session doesn’t appeal to you, find something that does. Make some form of exercise a non-negotiable daily priority, and don’t make excuses!
There are many online courses offered for various other activities designed to get you up and moving – pilates, aerobics, yoga, martial arts, even dancing – you can take part in all these healthy activities in the comfort of your own living room or even your own back garden – mow your lawn or rake up leaves, stop paying someone else to keep your garden tidy!
Follow a tailored eating plan. A healthy eating plan, in conjunction with a healthy exercise plan, complements each other for effective bodyweight management and overall health. Don’t obsess over your weight; you will only become discouraged and stop working out. View weight loss as a very welcome side effect to taking control of your health.
The best exercise for men over 40 is – any exercise at all. Not every man wants to be Mr. Universe, but most men would enjoy being in shape, maintaining their health and weight, and addressing any health niggles before they become serious issues.
By following a few simple daily exercises, watching what you eat, and generally listening to what your body is telling you, optimal health is a lifestyle that you can enjoy and maintain well into your 40’s and beyond!