How to Stay in Shape After 40 Without Trying Too Hard
It is said that with age comes wisdom, a better sense of self-awareness and a more realistic perception on life. And more often than not, a bigger size in terms of clothing.
If you’re in your forties you may have noticed that your metabolism is working at a slower pace than in your 20s and even 30s and staying in shape or losing weight is no longer such a piece of cake. In fact, a piece of cake could seriously damage your weight control.
But your body does not have to get wrinkled by age. With a few simple moves, you can outwit your slowing metabolism and get in the shape that you desire.
Have a better control of what you eat
First and foremost, the golden rule is still what you eat instead of when. What you eat can make or break your entire plan. But don’t worry, food control is not as difficult as it seems.
Keep your carbs in check
A first important step would be to cut down on carbs. Processed foods, sugar and other additives are best to be avoided and replaced with more vegetables and fruits. They have a high content of fiber and water, so they’ll fill up your stomach without too many calories creeping up your diet.
Load up the protein
Protein supports the strength and development of organs, blood, glands, ligaments and more. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that it is paramount for a healthy diet.
Adding more lean protein into your diet makes you feel satiated for the longest period of time. It is the most useful tool for satiety because it controls the hunger hormones and it burns the most calories during digestion. And it comes from a variety of sources, whether it’s in the form of meat, eggs, seeds, hummus or Greek yogurt. For inspiration, see our 14-Day Paleo Meal Plan.
Reduce the alcohol intake
Some go to the gym to get a six-pack while others take a trip down the beverages isle. Which may not be the best idea, since a glass of beer or wine is around 150 calories so with every sip you take, you add up to the calorie intake. Not to mention that alcoholic beverages make you hungrier and amplify binge eating, a definite no go for your weight.
Although the consumption of alcohol does have certain benefits such as reducing the risk of diabetes or heart disease, it should all be done with moderation and responsibility.
Sedentarism is one of the banes of modern society, with adults spending around 70% – 85% of their time sitting. This impacts muscles and tendons, weakens the bones, increases the risk of diabetes and obesity. Combine that with the slowing metabolism you get after 40, and you’re a walking bomb. Actually, not a walking but a sitting one.
Therefore, it is important to include at least 1 ½ – 2 ½ hours of moderate physical activity into your weekly schedule. If you’re working a lot, like most people in their 40s do, have a walking meeting or walk to lunch instead of ordering takeout.
If you want to spend some quality family-time, opt for riding a bike or taking a walk in the park together. It may not seem much, but your body will thank you for it.
Try to exercise regularly
As you age, pounds tend to add up while muscle mass tends to disappear, increasing the risk of aches and injuries. Even more so if you are not actively training to support that muscle mass.
That’s why strength training, such as lifting weights or body-weight exercises, can be very helpful in keeping you functional every day, maintaining muscle mass and even burning more calories. You can also resort to cardio or some type of exercise to optimize flexibility, such as yoga, but make sure to start slowly and strengthen your muscles before ramping things up. For easy types of exercise, see Not a Fan of Going to the Gym? Here’s the Easy Alternative.
All these activities prevent weight gain, improve memory and brain activity, increase vitality and reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, hypertension and the like.
Take care of yourself
Don’t stress out
According to an online study, the most stressful time is between the ages of 45 and 54. And stressed people are more likely to have unhealthy eating habits, making it more difficult for the body to burn the unwanted fat. For more info, see also Stressed Out? Here’s How It’s Affecting Your Weight Loss Plan.
While stress is something everyone experiences from time to time, it’s the way you manage it that makes the difference. So, try some stress relief methods that work for you, be it reading, meditation, music or something else that calms you down.
Take sleep seriously
Quality of sleep tends to worsen with age, due to increased stress, health problems or hormonal changes experienced by both men and women over 40. And not getting enough sleep triggers the need for poor food choices, such as sugar loaded products, in the attempt to obtain a temporary boost of energy. While fighting off sleepiness, you end up gaining more pounds.
Therefore, try to get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep to reduce stress, improve your immune system and have energy throughout the day, for daily activities or training, without resorting to unhealthy foods for a deceiving result.