Turning 40 can be a milestone in many ways, including how we approach fitness. While chest day and the quest for a big pump might remain appealing, workouts need to evolve to accommodate changes in metabolism, muscle mass, and joint health. Here’s a guide on how to optimize your fitness routine after hitting the big 4-0.

Understanding the Changes

As we age, our bodies undergo several changes that impact our workout routines:

Muscle Mass Decline: After 30, muscle mass naturally begins to decrease, a process known as sarcopenia. By 40, this decline becomes more noticeable.

Joint Health: Wear and tear on joints can lead to stiffness and pain, necessitating a focus on joint-friendly exercises.

Metabolism Slowdown: Metabolic rate decreases with age, making it harder to maintain muscle mass and easier to gain fat.

Key Exercise Principles After 40

  1. Focus on Compound Movements: Compound exercises, which engage multiple muscle groups, are crucial. They help maintain muscle mass, improve coordination, and boost metabolism.
  2. Prioritize Mobility and Flexibility: Incorporating stretching and mobility exercises can reduce the risk of injury and improve overall movement quality.
  3. Include Strength Training: Strength training is essential to combat muscle loss, improve bone density, and enhance metabolic health.
  4. Integrate Cardiovascular Exercise: Cardio is important for heart health, weight management, and overall stamina.

Best Exercises After 40

Strength Training

  • Squats: Squats are excellent for building lower body strength and improving core stability.
  • Deadlifts: Deadlifts target multiple muscle groups, including the back, glutes, and hamstrings, and promote functional strength.
  • Push-Ups: A versatile exercise that can be modified to suit any fitness level, push-ups strengthen the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
  • Rows: Bent-over rows or seated rows enhance upper back strength and improve posture.
  • Lunges: Lunges are great for lower body strength, balance, and coordination.

Mobility and Flexibility

  • Yoga: Yoga improves flexibility, reduces stress, and enhances overall mobility.
  • Dynamic Stretching: Incorporate dynamic stretches like leg swings and arm circles before workouts to prepare muscles and joints.
  • Static Stretching: Post-workout static stretches help in muscle recovery and maintaining flexibility.

Cardiovascular Exercise

  • Walking or Jogging: Low-impact and accessible, these activities boost cardiovascular health without stressing the joints.
  • Cycling: Great for cardiovascular fitness and leg strength, cycling is joint-friendly and can be done indoors or outdoors.
  • Swimming: Swimming provides a full-body workout and is excellent for cardiovascular health with minimal joint stress.

How Often to Exercise

  1. Strength Training: Aim for at least 2-3 days per week, focusing on different muscle groups each day to allow for recovery.
  2. Cardio: Engage in moderate-intensity cardio for 150 minutes per week or vigorous-intensity cardio for 75 minutes per week, spread across 3-5 days.
  3. Flexibility and Mobility: Include flexibility and mobility exercises daily or at least 3-4 times a week.

Recovery and Nutrition

  1. Recovery: Proper rest and recovery are critical. Ensure adequate sleep and consider incorporating rest days or active recovery sessions.
  2. Nutrition: A balanced diet rich in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates supports muscle repair and energy levels. Consider supplements like omega-3 fatty acids for joint health and calcium and vitamin D for bone health.


Turning 40 doesn’t mean slowing down; it means getting smarter about how we work out. By focusing on compound movements, integrating mobility and flexibility exercises, maintaining cardiovascular fitness, and paying attention to recovery and nutrition, you can stay fit, strong, and healthy well into your later years. Remember, the key is consistency and listening to your body.

Check out this article on the Benefits of Amino Acids for men after 40

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