Getting fit over 40: How does it work?
8 mins read

Getting fit over 40: How does it work?

Once you’ve hit the age of 40 as a generally sporty woman, you’ll probably find yourself in one of these two situations: 1. You’ve found a fitness routine that suits you and that you stick with, or 2. You used to be fit -Routine, but you are no longer in the flow and in shape. In the first case, you probably wouldn’t be here reading this. So this is about point 2 or the question: How can you get fit again as a woman over 40?

This question is important and it is good that you ask yourself. Because now begins exactly the phase of life in which differences between fit and unfit people really become noticeable, says Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, sports medicine and neuroscientist at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

The muscle and bone loss that began in your 30s continues and even increases if you don’t exercise regularly. So maintaining muscle mass that burns fat is crucial to maintaining your weight. Not only does this help you go down a few dress sizes, but it also fights serious problems like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and cancer. We’ll show you how to get there.

The best companion when exercising over 40 is a professionally created training plan, preferably this one:

  • 6 different workouts
  • 40 exercises in pictures and videos
  • 60-page PDF, accessible on all devices

50% discounton all plans

Log in here one.

After successful payment you will receive an email with a download link. If you have any questions, send a message to [email protected].

How do I start training again if I’m over 40?

If you’ve lost sight of your fitness goals, don’t despair – it’s easier than you think to get back on track. Studies show: Your body has a muscle memory, a kind of physiological plan for all the activities you’ve ever done. The same process that lets you ride a bike again without any problems after 20 years also helps you get back to your yoga routine, for example, says Tarnopolsky. Of course, “hurry with time” applies here; you don’t want to rush anything and possibly injure yourself. But there is no reason not to get back in.

Even if you haven’t done it in months or years, your muscle fibers remain ready for anything and can draw on your previous experience. And although your heart’s pumping ability naturally declines during this decade, this phenomenon is more pronounced in people who are already at their best, studies suggest. In other words: If you haven’t yet reached the maximum fitness level, you can even improve.

How does exercising change after 40?

One change you’ll notice in your 40s is that the recovery period after workouts takes a little longer, studies also show. That’s because the hormones that support your muscles, like estrogen and testosterone, tend to decline slightly during this decade, and the stress hormone cortisol, which can break down muscle, tends to rise, says Tarnopolsky.

The mitochondria in your cells, which are involved in oxygen consumption and muscle building and repair, lose capacity with age, studies show, and your muscles become stiffer as scar tissue and thickenings build up in connective tissue.

How can I slow down the aging process through training if I’m over 40?

The best way to counteract physical deterioration is through strength training. To counteract muscle and bone loss, rely on strength training. Tarnopolsky found active 65-year-olds with more leg strength and less body fat than sedentary 20-year-olds.

Of course, you won’t make big gains in bone density, but strength exercises put stress on your bones, which promotes mineralization and keeps them strong. That’s what studies show and that’s what Dr. Barbara Bushman, exercise physiologist at Missouri State University.

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Training plan for beginners over 40

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  • Training plan
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Well-equipped gym necessary
  • 25 exercises in pictures and videos
  • 34 page PDF, available on all devices

50% discounton all plans

Log in here one.

After successful payment you will receive an email with a download link. If you have any questions, send a message to [email protected].

What should I train specifically when I’m over 40? 5 tips

Of course, training approaches and their effects vary from person to person, as do preferences and barriers to motivation. But overall, these 3 tips in particular have proven useful for exercisers over 40:

1. Start with what you know

While it’s important to challenge yourself frequently (see below), it’s wisest to start with activities that you’re familiar with. Not only does the muscle memory mentioned above help you, it also gives you a feeling of “coming home” from sport, which gives you additional security and buoyancy. From this base you can start fitness trips in all directions.

3. Do more yoga

Regular yoga sessions are especially valuable now because it promotes flexibility in your spine and hips, which is important for good posture. Plus, downward dog and inversion exercises are fantastic for your complexion by bringing blood flow toward your face. Think of it as an anti-aging facial!

4. Give yourself some rest

The fact that your body needs more time to regenerate is not a reason to stop training. Treat yourself to the rest you need, get a massage or enjoy other wellness offers. Anyone who rewards themselves in this way will have more motivation to really step on the gas afterwards.

5. Always get creative and try new things

It’s easy to fall into a workout routine in your 40s, says Bushman. A new activity, be it a salsa dance class, a bike ride, or a surfing lesson, can boost your enthusiasm and boost your metabolism. All the best conditions for a fitness boost.

When you’re over 40, your sporting life is far from over, on the contrary. With the right tips and impulses, you can get your body to the fitness level you want. Good luck!

Sharples AP, Turner DC. Skeletal muscle memory. At J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2023 Jun 1;324(6):C1274-C1294. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00099.2023

Ozemek C, Whaley MH, Finch WH, Kaminsky LA. Maximum heart rate declines linearly with age independent of cardiorespiratory fitness levels. Eur J Sport Sci. 2017 Jun;17(5):563-570. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2016.1275042

Li DCW, Rudloff S, Langer HT, Norman K, Herpich C. Age-Associated Differences in Recovery from Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage. Cells. 2024 Jan 30;13(3):255. doi: 10.3390/cells13030255

Grevendonk L, Connell NJ, McCrum C, Fealy CE, Bilet L, Bruls YMH, Mevenkamp J, Schrauwen-Hinderling VB, Jörgensen JA, Moonen-Kornips E, Schaart G, Havekes B, de Vogel-van den Bosch J, Bragt MCE , Meijer K, Schrauwen P, Hoeks J. Impact of aging and exercise on skeletal muscle mitochondrial capacity, energy metabolism, and physical function. Nat Commun. 2021 Aug 6;12(1):4773. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24956-2

Hong AR, Kim SW. Effects of Resistance Exercise on Bone Health. Endocrinol Metab (Seoul). 2018 Dec;33(4):435-444. doi: 10.3803/EnM.2018.33.4.435

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