Fit at 40: Essential Tips to Stay Fit and Build Muscle After 40

Danh Ngo"Staying Active" Division, Exercise TipsLeave a Comment

tight hip flexors

In the US, only 23% of adults get enough physical exercise.

As we age, it becomes more and more important to stay active to keep our immune systems strong and healthy. 

If you’re hoping to stay fit at 40, check out these useful tips to help you build muscle and stay strong. 

1. Commit to 9 Minutes Per Day

Every day, you brush your teeth for four minutes. How quickly does this time fly by? This is because you’ve built a mindless habit. 

With just 20 minutes of strength training per day, you can begin to feel and see huge benefits. All you need to do is start a routine. 

By committing to a shorter period of time, you will trick your brain into thinking, “Wow, that wasn’t so bad!” 

2. Speak to a Professional 

It’s expensive to hire a personal trainer, but it’s even more expensive to damage your body by exercising incorrectly or by pulling a muscle.

Hire a professional for just a few sessions and they will show you the ropes. They will be able to teach you what to eat, which weights to lift, and how to hold your body. 

If you simply can’t afford to hire a professional, check out the local gyms in your area. Regularly, you will find that there are open days or reduced classes to get people through the doors. Make sure you are involved and then ask for some guidance!

3. Use Your Backpack for Weights at Home

You don’t need to invest in fancy equipment to start lifting weights, you don’t even need to go to the gym. 

Instead, try lifting tins in the kitchen. Place these items in a backpack and you get a functional unstable weight that will challenge your spinal stabilizers.

Make sure you’re standing properly with your back straight and relaxed, then do multiple reps of lifting tins of beans!

If you’re feeling confident, invest in some smaller weights and focus on repetition, rather than weight. 

Focus on Simple Moves

Nowadays, we’re shown hundreds of different ways to build muscle. Take it back to the basics and you won’t go wrong. 

Why not focus on your ability to do a pull-up? Once you’ve managed one, keep pushing yourself until you can do 10, then 20! 

Do this for difficult exercises such as push-ups, tricep dips, and bench presses. You’ll see your strength increase in no time.

If you are still worried about hurting yourself, try this simple exercise that has done wonders for our client. There is research that looked at longevity and what exercises have been linked to healthier aging.

There are two exercises: maintaining the ability to walk fast and to be able to stand up from a chair without your arms.

Start with these two. With the latter, Try to aim for 20 sit to stand without the use of your upper body within 30 seconds. Your heart, legs, and spinal stabilizers will get a good workout.

Don’t Be Hard On Yourself

When it comes to building muscle, you need to remember this is a sprint, not a marathon. You won’t notice a difference after just one week of training. 

By showing up every single day, you will gradually begin noticing bigger changes. Celebrate these small achievements by telling your friends and family.

You may choose to set a goal that will help you stay focused. But, whatever you do, be kind to yourself and don’t give up!

4. Focus On Your Diet

It can be very easy to slip into terrible nutrition habits. Are you regularly ordering out for food? Do you turn to eat cake when you’re feeling low?

It’s important that you focus on your diet to help you stay fit and build muscle. Around 80% of adults in the US do not eat enough vegetables, fruit or whole grains.

Keep a food diary to see what you eat and how you can improve your diet. Make small changes from empty white carbs to whole grain, brown carbs that will keep you full for longer. 

After meals, make sure you snack on your favorite fruits. Why not try eating dates with your coffee instead of cake?

Your diet has a huge impact on your fitness! Don’t neglect what you put into your body.

5. Cardio is Important for Heart Health

When you’re trying to build muscle, going for long runs every single day simply won’t help you. Instead, focus on doing smaller bursts of cardio just twice per week.

This could be half an hour on an elliptical machine or a jog with a friend. For those who absolutely hate running, this is great news!

If you don’t have the knees to do high-intensity cardio, then consider going swimming instead. This moderate-intensity cardio is better for those who have joint issues.

6. Relax and Unwind with Yoga

It’s important to focus on both your physical and mental health. When you’re trying to build strength, you need to be committed and in good spirits, otherwise, it’s easy to give up completely. 

By doing yoga, you’ll see a huge improvement in your mental health. But, you’ll also be stretching out your weary muscles which are growing stronger every day. 

Join a yoga class with an experienced teacher to learn the basics, then you can start your own practice at home. Alternatively, why not watch YouTube videos while you practice?

7. Workout with Friends

When you’ve built some muscle, it’s important to stay fit and maintain your strength. To do this, why not find a few friends who have the same goals as you?

By surrounding yourself with others who also want to stay fit and healthy, you’ll find it easier to stay motivated.

Furthermore, around 50% of adults in the US feel lonely. If you’re also affected by loneliness, then finding a new sport to try out is a great way to meet new people. 

Are You Ready to Feel Fit at 40?

When you’re trying to get fit at 40, you’ll come across a lot of conflicting information about what keeps you healthy. 

Whenever you’re in doubt, take it back to basics. Make sure you’re eating healthily, you’re drinking enough water, and you’re regularly exercising. By doing this, you’ll be taking steps to ensure you stay fit and strong for longer!

Are you struggling with injury or pain? Schedule a phone call with a holistic orthopedic and sports medicine specialist today.


Danh Ngo PT, DPT, OCS, SCS

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedic and Sports Medicine

Mind Body Health Results Coach

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