Happy Monday Everyone,
Hope you all had a great weekend and feel refreshed for the new week ahead. The weekend was made up of venturing out into the fresh air for dog walks, sauna sessions, Paul hit the cycle paths for a 50km bike ride, the kids played and played, and I cooked and cooked some more….
Let’s get into the article – 9 Musts For Future Proofing your Body in your 40+
They say 40 is the new 30 – and for many aspects of life that may well be true. Socially much of what we did in our 30s we now do in our 40s. For many we defer marriage, kids and mortgages till later in life. But one thing we cannot defer is our health and fitness.
At 40 you can no longer treat your body like it’s 28, if you do I am sure you will start to feel the repercussions of a neglected body.
Fear not though, as there are a number of things you can do in your 40s to feel full of vitality and get up and go.
How to future proof your body and health
In less than just a few hours per week you can offset osteoporosis, maintain great flexibility and mobility, steer clear of back pain, keep your muscle mass and lower your risk of disease.
But what should you spend your time doing?
1 – Strength/Resistance Training
I have to start this list with strength training as there are so many wonderful benefits to getting stronger. Everything from increased bone density all the way through to keeping the excess weight off.
The key to strength training in your 40+ is to take a methodical approach. Throwing chunks of cast iron around in a haphazard fashion like you did when you were 20 will more than likely result in an injury. Instead seek out a professional to create a well balanced program. Focus on quality rather than quantity
2 – Daily Mobility Drills
A short mobility session is the magic you need to offset the damage caused by lifestyle and environmental factors. Let’s be honest, we all sit too much, we all scroll too much, slouch, slump and hunch too much. Much of this is our car commutes, desk jobs and the fact we are all addicted to social media.
So unless you’re going to get rid of the couch, bin your phone and pack your job in to become a monk living in the mountains, you better be doing some mobility drills. Ankles, hips and your thoracic spine are your big three areas.
3 – Low intensity cardio
Over the last 10 years in the fitness industry we have harped on about the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training and unfortunately disregarded low intensity cardio. We need both!
High intensity cardio should make up a small to medium percentage of what you do. A few sprints here and there but lower intensity cardio wants to be a large percentage of what you do. Walking is the ultimate form of low intensity cardio. From an evolutionary stance our hunter gatherer ancestors walked anywhere from 8 to 16ks a day and only sprinted occasionally when confronted with a sabre toothed tiger.
4 – Listen to your body is a must
When you’re 20 you can get away with everything. You can redline your body and seemingly get away with it. But when you hit the 40’s you’re not quite so robust. Taking a little more time to rest and recover is essential. If you have a niggle go and see your Physio, Chiro or Osteo instead of just pushing through it.
5 – Eat a balanced diet
We could get very complex here by digging into the pro’s and con’s of all diets. Should you go keto, vegan, primal, carnivore, flexitarian, Mediterranean, plant-based… ??
Here is the simple and easy rule taken from Michael Pollans book ‘In defense of food’
‘’Eat food, Not too much, Mostly plants’’
6 – Avoid anti-inflammatory foods
If you follow the above rule this shouldn’t be a problem. That said many people are walking around bloated and gassy. Inflammation is an immune response. You put too much ‘’bad’’ food in and your body responds with inflammation – bloating. If this is acute then that’s okay but if this turns chronic you have a problem. Your body is in a constant fight with your gut and your immunity will soon suffer.
Typically the most inflammatory foods are…
- Conventional Dairy
- Vegetable oils
- Refined carbohydrates
- Processed meats
- Artificial sweeteners
7 – Limit alcohol and caffeine
Whilst alcohol and caffeine can be enjoyed in moderation, the key is moderation. During our 20s alcohol was for many over-consumed. But you got away with it, you woke, popped a couple of Berroca’s and you were good to go.
Now too much alcohol and caffeine takes its toll. Be smart as your liver might not be able to clear the alcohol quite so efficiently these days.
8 – Gut health
As you have gotten older you may have realised your gut isn’t quite as versatile and adaptable as it once was. Too much stress, NSAIDs, and antibiotics all play into the deterioration of our ‘good’ gut bacteria. Gut dysbiosis is linked to everything from stomach pains through to depression
A few tips
Remove – remove any foods that are playing havoc with your tummy. Inflammatory foods are a big one here
Replace – you may well be lacking certain elements that are key to good digestion. Stomach acid, bile and digestive enzymes
Repopulate – Introduce more of the ‘good’ guys (probiotics & prebiotics) to help rebalance the gut microbiome
Repair – Repair the gut lining, intestinal cells and mucosa. Think vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids. AKA – bone broth, L-glutamine, slippery elm etc
Rebalance – our lifestyle habits. We all need better sleep, better stress management, great relationships and movement
9 – Meditation
Slowly you’re coming around to the fact that mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing. The two are intertwined.
When you exercise you have a rush of ‘good’ hormones just as when you stress you have a serving of ‘bad’ hormones
Meditation has had some pretty extensive scientific research over the last few years and the findings are pretty conclusive
Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, control anxiety, decrease depression, enhance self awareness, lengthen attention span, reduce age related memory loss, fight negative addictions, improve sleep, help control pain and decrease blood pressure.
Everyone can meditate and you can do it anywhere. Just 5 minutes of sitting and calming your mind can be game changing.
So there you have it. Nine tips to think about to future proof your 40+ year old body. You are only as old as you feel, so let’s feel young, strong, mobile and calm. Here’s to the next 40 years of excellent health and vitality.
Paul “feeling young” and Krystie “stop touching me” Miller 🙂