The first thing you will notice when you finish your “magic” forty is that you thought you would feel “older”. I am almost in the middle of the next decade, and yet I still feel as if I was 20 :-). I noticed, however, that it takes longer for me to regenerate and regain strength after high-intensity training. If I do not sleep well at night – I feel it clearly the next day. If I leave my regular (mainly) healthy diet for more than one or two meals, I feel it almost immediately.
What happens after 40?
With time, you’ve certainly noticed changes in your body. The aging of each one of us proceeds according to a certain pattern, but thanks to regular exercise and balanced nutrition you can enjoy a good form and function in optimal health and condition at any age.
From the moment of birth until the age of 30, your muscles will get stronger and stronger. But from around the age of 30, we begin to lose muscle mass, from 3 to 5 percent every decade, if we are not active. The medical term is primary sarcopenia – loss of muscle mass and strength associated with age.
Even if we are active, we are still losing muscle mass, but much slower. The changes may be associated with neurological fluctuations from the brain to the muscles that trigger movement, weaker absorption of nutrients, reduced ability to synthesize the protein or reduced HGH (growth hormone), testosterone or insulin.
Reflex and coordination may also suffer due to biological changes associated with aging. You may have noticed that your body does not react as it once did.
Probably it is harder for you to get up from the couch, go up the stairs with groceries or go for a bike ride. With age, your body can become stiffer and more unstable, and muscles more relaxed and weaker.
This loss of muscle mass also changes the way your body looks and reacts. Changing the proportion between muscle and fat tissue may affect the balance. Less leg muscles and stiffer joints make it difficult to move.
Changes in body weight and bone loss may also affect growth. People usually lose almost 1.2 cm in height every 10 years after the age of 40.
Modify your training
Change your training habits to give your body a fresh stimulus. Continue regular strength training and aerobic training, but consider including high intensity exercises to increase tissue elasticity and modify strength training by introducing a lot of elements and exercises involving the whole body – so-called. “Functional training” – a popular term that defines integrated movement, multifaceted movement that requires acceleration, deceleration and stabilization. This also includes training in a proprioceptively enriched environment (unstable but controlled). It involves training “integrated movements” instead of “individual muscle groups”. A good idea in connection with the above will be the use of free weights, kettles, medicine balls, expandable cables, Bulgarian bags, etc., which will help you work in all three planes of motion. Another great solution will be adding calisthenic exercises – using the weight of your own body. They have a very positive effect on the human circulatory system and increase strength, balance, agility and coordination.
Also think about adding elements such as yoga. It can help you deal with stress and improve overall flexibility. Remember about a decent warm-up which will include elements such as rolling and massaging your facia and dynamic stretching. This will help you prepare your body for the main training faze while minimizing the risk of injury.
Remember about high quality “fuel”.
This is the age at which you really begin to feel the effects of unhealthy dietary choices. The good news is that at the moment there are many ways on the market to make it easier for you to make the right choices. If you have difficulties with this, you can consider subscribing to a service that provides fresh vegetables along with recipes or ready-made, proportionate meals. Look for a support from a professional dietitian who will not only help you calculate your calorie needs, but will also adapt meals to the rhythm of your day, preferences and food intolerances.
Sleep and regeneration
Sleep is a natural stage in the regeneration of the body, in which the body makes adaptive changes to the tasks it was burdened during the day. When it comes to sports training, growth hormone (somatotropin, GH – Growth Hormone) plays a key role here.
Researchers have proven that during the deep sleep phase, the body intensifies the secretion of somatotropin. It is especially important because it suits for muscle mass gain, reconstruction of damaged tissues, osteogenic processes and fat burning. In the case of a shortened deep sleep phase, growth hormone is secreted in smaller amounts, which causes the complete regeneration of the body to be impaired.
I do not need to tell you to sleep more, but the quality of sleep is also very important. The effects of its lack will start to feel almost immediately. Check your sleep habits and try to remove light sources from your bedroom, such as televisions and mobile devices, because light waves can stimulate you when you try to fall asleep. Try to set and follow the rhythm of falling asleep and waking up. Set the time you wake up and fall asleep. Get used to such a cycle. If you feel tired, do not avoid short naps during the day – you will feel better. Do not overdo it though – you don’t want to disturb the night’s sleep.
Good luck and till next time