If you’re in your forties, and have started to notice new and more frequent aches and pains, you’re not alone. We all know that as we age our bodies are going to change, but do you know what is most likely to change and what you can do to work with it?
A very common issue is that as we age our connective tissues become less elastic, and can lead to a greater likelihood of joint injury. It’s important to respect that connective tissue. Try to incorporate activities that can stretch and strengthen those connective tissues. Here are some suggestions:
- Yin Yoga: has recently experience a surge in popularity. That particular discipline focuses on strengthening the connective tissues from the waist to the knees, so if you have tight hips (say, from years of cycling or running and not spending enough time stretching!), yin yoga could be for you. Check your local yoga studios to see if they’re offering yin yoga classes in your area.
- Weight Training: preserves and maintains muscle mass. As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass and our metabolic rate also declines. Even if you get plenty of cardiovascular exercise, if you do the same thing you’ll lose muscle and gain fat. Strength training is the only way to preserve, or increase, muscle. Weight training also helps with bone density and joint elasticity.
- Lengthen: for many people, height begins to decrease in their forties. Focus on posture, sitting and standing tall as if a string is attached to the top of your head and pulling you up. Push your shoulders back and down, opening up the space around your neck and ears. Try to lengthen your spine by stretching. Yoga is great for length.
- Warm-up before you exercise: take 10-15 minutes to warm up before you exercise, especially if you’re a weekend warrior! Warming up starts the flow of synovial fluid, which lubricates your joints. Warming up also increases your core temperature which can loosen your muscle and reduce the change of injury.
Being in your forties doesn’t mean the end of exercise. It just means you should need to exercise wisely and listen to your body.