So are you in your 40s? Or maybe you have been on both sides for a couple of years, but one thing is for sure, exercise should be an integral part of your lifestyle.
We understand your work hours are long and the amount of time you have at home with family is limited, but if you want to stay close and enjoy your loved ones for as long as possible, take some time off for yourself too.
In this series, we're going to look at the importance of maintaining your fitness level as life goes past 40. Factors like mobility, metabolism and recovery are important issues that we will face directly in the future, but if you don't start with them nothing else can follow. It's never too late, so let's make a pact and # BeFitOver40.
Our 40s are a little roller coaster ride. On the one hand, many of us feel more settled in our jobs and are more financially secure, but on the other hand, these leadership positions help bring more stress into the home and we may live with emotional teenagers and at the same time we wonder why we never succeeded to write this bestseller or split the atom. In addition, our sports and exercise activities have likely decreased due to the large number of plates we have to juggle every day.
Make no mistake though, our 40s are a challenging time for our bodies.
Frailty after 40
A 2021 study conducted at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia found that the path to frailty could begin by age 40. Terrifyingly, this is the same percentage of people tested in the 70-75 age group.
As if that wasn't sobering enough, our blood vessels will stiffen and blood pressure is likely to rise in middle age. By mid-life, most Americans gain 3 to 4 pounds a year, and since we're more likely to lose muscle by the age of 40, we're not talking about an increase in lean mass. All of this contributes to bad cholesterol and increases our blood sugar levels. So sitting your 40s on the bench isn't an option if you want to enjoy a healthier, longer life.
It's never to late
In 1966, a groundbreaking study by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School found that even college students who had three weeks of bed rest struggled to work at their previous level when returning to an active lifestyle. The researchers found a higher resting heart rate, increased blood pressure, and also observed an overall decline in cardiovascular capacity.
Fortunately, it was shown that these negative factors were reversed after a training plan. Decades later the same men, now in their 50s, were re-exercising and by six months the men had lost an average of 10 pounds. The group also showed improved functions such as lower blood pressure and maximal cardiac pumping ability that was the same as their previous baseline at age 20.
In these studies, the key to improving health was endurance-oriented exercise, all thanks to its beneficial effects on oxygen delivery and the maintenance of the heart and arteries. The Dallas researchers recommended walking, cycling, and jogging. Similar types of endurance training include racket sports, rowing, dancing, and even a round of golf. While the obvious key to improved wellbeing is to increase your activity level, if you feel like you are completely out of shape, the main thing is to start simply. You can gradually build up to three or four hours a week and pick up from there when you feel able.
Life starts at 40
So now you've done a reality check. Sure, you may feel fine, but your health will gradually worsen if you are not active. The good news, as the studies show, is that regular exercise can dramatically improve your health outcomes.
Jason Parrish is a 42-year-old husband and father of four. In 2009, he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, forcing him to miss the gym and be tied to bed rest. "After the remission, a few years after the diagnosis, I didn't like the now overweight guy in the mirror," he says. “So I took back what was taken from me … with additional interest. The gym is my church, my therapist, and my lifestyle. My main health goal is to inspire others who are in a similar situation. It's not too late to let them know. "
Parrish does not allow himself to be weighed down by the barriers of middle age and the barriers of life, but as a gentleman Jacked inspires thousands of followers on Instagram.
He is in training to get his pro bodybuilder card and competed in his first competition in 2019. Parrish won first place at the 2020 NPC Masters USA Championships, but only missed the professional card by one point in the overall. It's a stimulating journey that gives him a new life.
"w I'm just working on making improvements, but I've changed my perspective a little," says Parrish. "I will no longer choose a show that I want to train for on an unnecessary schedule, but will work hard until I'm confident with what I'm seeing and then get going."
You may be in your 40s, but whether you want to make small strides to get more active or have dreams in bodybuilding or any other sport, it's never too late to start exercising.