Don't Play the Blame Game

No excuses, men. If you're overweight, have no energy and just want to beach up on the couch and watch football 24 hours a day, the most likely reason has little to do with your age, but everything to do with your level of commitment to your fitness health.

Here's the rub: Any experience of muscle loss and or decreased cardiovascular fitness is not the normal result of aging; it's primarily the result of a sedentary lifestyle. So guys, put down that chicken wing and step away from the TV. It's time to get active.

Stay the Course

It's true that by the time an average inactive man reaches age 65, he will have lost up to 40 percent of his muscle mass and aerobic capacity compared to when he was a young adult. You can prevent this physical decline by remaining active as you age. Studies show that moderate aerobic activity and strength training can actually decrease one's biological age.

Here are six tips for ramping up and maintaining an over-40 fitness program:

1. First, get a check up from your physician. If you have any existing health conditions or you've been inactive for a long time, you need to get medical clearance before you start to exercise.

2. Identify your goals. Do you just want to lose some weight and workout your heart? Or do you want to compete in an Ironman competition. Setting realistic goals is key.

3. Be consistent. Once you start an over-40 fitness program, it's important to keep it up in order to derive any permanent benefits.

4. Warm up before exercising. Warming up will stimulate blood flow to your muscles and increase your flexibility. If lifting weights, do one or two light sets before using heavier weights.

5. Start slowly and build up gradually. Don't push yourself too hard too fast. Slowly and gradually progress from your existing fitness level.

6. Have fun. A fitness program should be enjoyable if it's going to become a regular part of your life.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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