So it's here. My fourth decade. The big birthday has been and gone and the (many) celebrations are distant memories. I recently read that 41 is the age that most people stop trying to slow down the inevitable middle aged spread and just accept it. Really? Is this what being 40 means to you? Not me! I am determined to get fitter and more healthy than ever before. I've started CrossFit, my diet is good, I hardly drink and train/teach sessions most days. Most of all, I am happy in myself and am able to be really active with my two young boys.
So what can you do about fitness and health when you start to get older? Chances are you are already starting to notive small changes in your body; whether it's gravity taking it's toll, your skin is less 'plump' and more dry. You could experience more aches and pains than before, or take longer to recover from hard exercise or a night out!!
Here are some things to look at and consider:
DIET & NUTRITION
Take a really good look at your diet and nutrition. Our lives change during our 30s and 40s. We go out more for meals rather than clubbing and dancing. We are likely to drink more wine at home (particularly women) and may be cooking at home a lot more for families and occasions. BBQs, family meals, work night outs, they all steadily increase our intake of food, not necessarily healthy either.
You might be less able to eat starchy foods such as potatoes, bread and pasta. They may leave you feeling bloated and heavy. Larger meals take longer to digest and this can cause problems when eating out.
Increasing your vegetables and plant based protein and reducing your starches will help.
Plenty of water every day - we say this a lot but how many of us actually drink enough?
Decrease or cut out alcohol. You will notice a huge difference in the way you feel even after a week. Empty sugary calories that you just don't need.
Reduce sugary carbohydrates such as cakes, biscuits, sweets and chocolates. Easy and obvious but you'd be surprised how these add up each week, especially in an office environment.
Consider having a vegan protein shake immediately after exercise.
Really have a think about what is making you feel unwell and what is making you feel well. Most people don't really need to be told, you can feel it.
Small changes over a long period of time will amount to real change in your lifestyle.
WORK AND HOME LIFE BALANCE
You may be busy working, not getting to bed early enough and may feel tired most of the time. This is a key point. You must go to bed earlier, before 10pm if possible. You will notice huge differences if you are able to do this. This relates to the HGH (Human Growth Hormone) discussed in more depth below.
Trying to 'do it all' can also take it's toll hugely on your body's ability to function well. Children, work, trying to get some 'me time', it can be exhausting! Taking a moment to step back and consider what you can do to reduce stress is beneficial.
HGH - why is it important?
HGH is Human Growth Hormone. It is involved in several physiological processes, including the turnover of muscle, bone and collagen, the regulation of fat metabolism and more relevant to this blog, body composition in later life
Our bodies respond to explosive types of exercise with creating HGH (Human Growth Hormone). This will keep you looking and feeling young! You can achieve this with training such as HIIT, Plyometrics (explosive jumping) and weight training.
Yoga and Pilates are popular choices to reduce stress and indeed can be hugely beneficial.
A mixed week of training will be most beneficial, with sprint training where you are working very hard, should kickstart your body again.
Don't be driven by what you think is age appropriate. Keep going for it!
Weight bearing exercise is essential as we age for increasing bone density and avoiding osteoporosis (particulary women). Putting some form of weight training into your training schedule is a great idea.
Above all, keep progressing and keep changing what you are doing in terms of movement. This is a great time in life to really do what you want to do! As children get older and we get more time (apparently!), it makes sense to be as healthy as possible so we can do as much as possible. These years are important. They can mean the difference between a healthy older age and a less healthy older age.
I'm feeling blo*dy great at 40 and I hope this blog inspires you to feel great too!
What do you think? Let me know!