Getting into top shape can feel like a big uphill battle. As you get older, you may not be as fast as you used to be or able to lift heavy loads. You may also get frustrated when you’re doing everything right but don’t see the results you’re working so hard for. Don’t give up, because daily exercise is one of the best gifts you can give your body and it becomes more crucial than ever to maintain your independence and stay healthy. We talked to Sanjeev Joseph, PT, MSPT in advanced orthopedics, LSVT certified and owner of seven FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers locations, breaking down six of the best exercises for a lean body after 40. (Why lose weight and tone up AND possible after reaching 40!)
“Your 40s are kind of a sweet spot for people to get their physical state in order,” says Joseph. “It’s still an age where changes can be made with moderate or higher levels of exercise and early enough where degenerative changes can be mitigated and delayed indefinitely. If you wait any longer, reversing or preventing chronic conditions can become exponentially more difficult.” “.
Without further ado, Joseph shares the exercises he recommends his patients perform three to five times a week. He reads on to know the six best exercises for a lean body after 40. Getting back in top shape is just around the corner! And when you’re done, be sure to read up on the 5 strength exercises for women to get strong and slim in their 40s.
Joseph refers to squats as “the undisputed ‘king’ of all exercises”. Learning to squat can help you deal with many knee, ankle, hip, and spinal issues. “If you could do one exercise to stay healthy, it’s this one,” adds Joseph. “I encourage my patients to do three sets of 10, going as deep as their body allows and without pain. As you continue to practice, you will notice your range of motion increase.”
To prepare for squats, plant your feet shoulder-width apart. Stretch your arms out in front of you, keep them at your sides, or place your hands on your hips. Then, bend your knees and push your hips back as if you were sitting in a chair. Lower yourself into a squat until your thighs form a position parallel to the ground or lower. Then, press your feet to stand up.
2. Core strengthening and stabilizing exercises
“There are many types to choose from, but the bottom line is that the core must be targeted and must NOT also cause back pain,” Joseph tells us.
To prepare, lie on your back with your hips and knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the ground. “Then, contract the muscle below your belly button (aka your core),” instructs Joseph. “As you hold him, he breathes in and out five times through his nose.” He completes three sets of 10 reps total. When you’re ready to take things to the next level, you can incorporate weights or knee raises.
The pushup is another “all-purpose exercise,” as Joseph calls it, that works your entire body to help you slim down. You can modify your pushups by doing wall pushups or knee pushups on the floor. Make sure your core stays engaged throughout the entire exercise.
Start in a high plank with your hands under your shoulders and your body forming a straight line from head to toe. You should rise up to your toes. Then, he bends his elbows to lower his chest to the ground. Push yourself back into a high plank without allowing your lower back to collapse. Perform three sets of 10 reps.
Joseph’s next exercise for a slim body after 40 is pull-ups. “This exercise is a little more advanced but can be modified using exercise rings or TRX suspension for additional support. Keep your core engaged for best results,” says Joseph.
To prepare for pull-ups, stand under the pull-up bar and reach down to grab it using an overhand grip. Place your hands shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows as you lift your chest toward the bar until your chin clears it. Then, gradually lower your body to the starting position. Complete three sets of 10 reps.
5. Heel or calf raises
“This exercise is most effective when performed on the edge of a step with only the toes on the step and the heels hanging off the edge,” Joseph tells us. “Bring your heels down as far as possible, then rise onto your toes.” The slower you go with this exercise, the more work your calves will do. Joseph recommends doing three sets of 15 to 30 reps or going hard until your calf muscles feel too tired to continue.
6. Cardio or plyometrics
Last but not least, it’s time for cardio or plyometrics. Joseph recommends going light in the beginning, then moving forward with intensity. He starts with activities like cycling, walking or rowing. “As you progress on your journey to wellness, these activities will get easier, so start challenging yourself to higher levels by trying different types of cardio and see what your body likes best,” he says. “Plyometrics is the next level of basic cardio; think exercises that involve quick movements, agility, sharp turns, jumps, etc. Burpees are an excellent form of plyometrics, but much more advanced.”
Alexa is the Deputy Mind + Body Director of Eat This, Not That!, who oversees the M+B channel and provides readers with interesting fitness, wellness and self-care topics. Read more about Alexa
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