For most people, hitting 40 is a milestone. Many celebrate this milestone with changes in their diet and exercise in the hopes of making up for poor food choices and sedentary habits of the past decade.

Low-fat diet and aerobic exercises such as jogging are often adopted as a logical next step. Unfortunately, these choices are not always healthy because, due to natural changes occurring in the body, its dietary and activity needs have also changed at this stage.


Loss of Lean Muscle Mass at Old Age

Forty may be the new 30, but your body has actually lost at least 10% of its lean muscle mass compared to a decade ago. So the diet that worked for you in your 20s and 30s will no longer work as well in your 40s and beyond.

The same applies to your exercise routine. You may have easily lost stubborn fat by putting in the sweat at the treadmill, but you would need more than that if you were to keep your muscles toned in your fourth decade. And unless you have been fit all this time, jogging is not the best way to jumpstart your routine. At 40, you are more prone to joint injuries when engaging in exercises that impact the joints such as jogging and running.

Jogging is Not the Best Weight Loss Exercise

Recent studies have revealed that jogging, while excellent for those who are already fit, not only destroys hip and knee joints but can also put a tremendous strain on your heart and lungs. A gentler alternative with the same benefits in terms of calories burned is walking: Walking the same number of miles as jogging results to fewer joint injuries and decreased risk of heart attack.

To trim areas of unwanted fat, walking is a good start but won’t be enough. But you can make walking your exercise of choice to maintain results from safe fat removal treatments such as CoolSculpting.

CoolSculpting in Orchard area, Singapore, utilizes controlled cooling to non-invasively trim sagging skin in the thighs, arms, belly and other pockets of stubborn fat that can’t be burned off by walking or running alone. It’s a popular fat-freezing treatment in many aesthetic laser clinic in Singapore because of its high safety and efficacy profile without significant downtime. The treated fat gets eliminated by the body naturally, and the results can be maintained by being physically active and eating a balanced diet of protein, fiber and unsaturated fats.

Prolonged Cardio Could Lead to Cardiac Problems

While cardio exercises increase the amount of oxygen in your blood, flood your system with endorphins (feel good hormones), activate your immune system, and improve your stamina over time, there is an upper limit to the benefits of your cardio sessions. For people over 40, cardio exercises alone and for prolonged duration can do more harm than good.

For one, steady state cardio exercises can lead to break down of tissues; excess cortisol release, and therefore elevated stress hormone levels; increased risk of injuries due to microscopic tears in muscle fibers; and heart damage because extreme cardio exercises can result to heart muscle scarring and diminished function of the right ventricle of the heart. (All of these could explain why marathoners are prone to heart attack.)

What are the Best Exercises for People Over 40?

If you are wondering how to get rid of excess fat at this age, you will have to put in more hard work but in short bursts and with better rewards. The key to work out for people 40 and beyond is strength training for muscle tone and interval training for fat loss.

You will have to pump weights if you are to compensate for the loss of muscle tone that you sustain as you age. By 50, you will have lost at least 20% of your lean muscle mass, and by 60, 30%. (Or 1% a year after your 30th birthday.) Resistance training, whether using dumbbells or resistance bands, promotes heart and lung fitness, enhances flexibility, and improves bone and bone density, joint function, muscle, tendon and ligament strength.

These are important benefits especially for older adults who are often prone to falls and the resulting fractures. In fact, age management doctors in Singapore make resistance training an important component of Optimagenics Age Management, an anti-aging program that aims to help patients get and stay healthy through a personalized program involving hormone replacement therapy, nutrition to regulate blood sugar levels, exercise, and the right mindset achieved through hypnosis.

Interval Training for Faster Fat Loss

To lose your spare tire after 40, you will have to follow the fitness regimen of our hunter-gatherer ancestors: They had short bursts of high-intensity activities (perhaps running as fast as they can from predators), which you can mimic by sprinting in an elliptical machine or recumbent bike for 20-30 seconds, long enough to raise your heart rate up (after a 3-minute warm up). Then follow this burst of high-intensity with a 90-second rest. Repeat this cycle eight times, or for 15-20 minutes (including recovery period).

Interval workouts not only increase your heart rate but also improve your endurance and stoke your metabolic rate so you continue to burn calories well after your work out. Even better, interval training is often done in short periods of time, so you can sneak it in your daily routine, making it easier for you to make exercise a habit.