If your goal is to stay fit, lean and strong in your 40s and beyond, let me reassure you that with a little bit of knowledge and consistency, it’s absolutely achievable (and it’s not as hard as you may think).
While it’s true that as we get older, there are real changes in our bodies that can lead to weight gain – particularly for women (menopause starts to creep up, for example) – it is also true that there are simple things we can do to keep our bodies in good shape.
Here are my tips for staying lean in your 40s and beyond!
1. Reduce Stress
Being constantly stressed leads to your body producing more cortisol, which causes more fat to be stored around your midsection. Reducing stress may sound like an impossibility at times, but there are some small things you can do that will make a difference to your overall stress levels.
There’s a lot of research showing that meditation and mindfulness practises can help. I personally start my day by meditating for 10-15 minutes before opening emails or social media in the morning (I use the Headspace app). During the day I take my lunch outside and leave my phone upstairs.
Stress still comes and goes in my life, but carving out these small pockets of time really makes a difference to the rest of the day.
Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and excess body fat around the waist. Daily walking is the ideal antidote.
Personally, I set a goal to walk everyday this year which has contributed dramatically in maintaining my weight easily and reducing my stress levels.
3. Eat more protein
As we age, we begin to process protein less efficiently and need more of it to maintain muscle mass and strength and bone health.
The best way to ensure you’re getting enough protein is to focus predominantly on eating lots of vegies, and adding a serving of lean protein to every meal.
This can be as easy as some chicken breast, a boiled egg or two, a piece of fish or some tofu.
4. Strength Train
Strength training is one of our best defences against the effects of aging, as it offsets the muscle mass we lose as we get older. Strength training also improves bone density, can improve brain health and mood, helps us to reduce fat and optimise our body composition.
Those of you who follow me know I’m a big fan of strength training, and staying strong is a huge focus for me for all of the above reasons. I personally follow the daily strength program on my Garage Fitness girl app which gives me 5-6 days a week of workouts, designed with minimal equipment for people training at home.
If you’d like to try it for yourself, the app is only $1 for the first month, and you can cancel anytime.
5.Increase Your NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis)
Many people think that unless they are pushing themselves in the gym everyday, drenched in buckets of sweat, that there is no point doing anything at all. This absolutely isn’t true, and the fact is, all movement is incredibly beneficial for the body.
The benefits of NEAT – which you can think of simply as daily incidental movement – is so underrated. The hours we spend in the day when we’re not intentionally exercising, but instead are working, playing or relaxing, provide us with many opportunities to achieve effective and sustained weight loss without complicating our lives.
Some ways you can increase your NEAT include:
- Play with your kids and/or pets
- Standing (switch to a standing desk for work)
- Pacing while on the phone
- Park further away from your destination
- Always take the stairs
- Take the dog for a walk
- Household chores
- Put on some music and swing your hips!
Remember that you absolutely can stay lean in your 40s and beyond, and the path to get there isn’t as hard as many people think! Focusing on regular walking, strength training, eating sufficient amounts of protein, moving more during the day, and decreasing stress levels are all factors that will really add up for lasting change.
If you can’t do all of these things, do what you can. Every little step we take in the right direction is beneficial.
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