Getting Into Shape After 40: The Best Ways To Do It

Turning 40 is a milestone in anyone’s life. For many people, turning 40, 50, or even 60 can mark a turning point in how they see themselves and their lives, so it’s a period of real change.  Getting into shape after 40 isn’t as hard as most people think!

One of the main changes people report wanting to make in their lives after age 40 is improving their health and getting in shape.

Unfortunately, far too many people allow themselves to be held back by the erroneous belief that it’s ‘too late’ to get in shape. 

If you’re over you’re interested in getting in shape after 40, we’re going to teach you the best ways to achieve your fitness goals while living your life to the fullest!

Why Get In Shape At 40? 

If getting into shape after age 40 hadn’t occurred to you before clicking on this article, you might be wondering why you should invest in your health and fitness now. 

That’s a fair question. After all, you probably have a busy life to lead and things to focus on other than how your body looks.

However, it’s important to bear in mind that getting in shape is about more than aesthetics – it’s about how you feel. 

Research shows that people approaching their late 40s start to become increasingly at risk for certain chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and increased blood pressure.

The risk of these two conditions and others like them can, luckily, be mitigated through diet and exercise, so your 40s is actually the perfect time to start getting in shape. 

Additionally, while getting older is the most natural thing in the world and shouldn’t carry any stigma, many people report feeling worried about turning 40 or 50 due to the societal attitudes towards aging.

Although we recommend totally embracing the aging process and not caring about what anyone else thinks, there’s no denying that taking care of your body and getting in shape can provide a much needed confidence boost at this time in your life.

Keep reading to learn our top tips for getting into shape after 40. 

How To Get In Shape After Age 40 

1. Adopt A Positive Mindset 

Research demonstrates that the single biggest obstacle preventing people from taking steps to get in shape is a negative mindset. 

If you’re over the age of 40, you may have heard that getting in shape is more difficult the older you get, which is a very off putting thing to hear if you want to make positive changes for your health and is likely to make you feel defeated before you’ve even started.

So, the first thing we recommend doing if you want to get in shape over 40 is to adopt a positive mindset.

Of course, you should be realistic and not expect yourself to feel and look as fit as you did in your 20s, especially not straight away, but you should try not to entertain thoughts along the lines of ‘I can’t do it’ or ‘this is a waste of time’. 

Ultimately, it is never too late to get in shape and make changes that benefit your health and confidence. Remind yourself constantly why you’re going on this journey.

Whether you have a physique-related goal or something else you want to accomplish, let your ‘why’ guide you. 

2. Get A Health Checkup 

Before you start your fitness regimen, we highly recommend making an appointment with your primary care practitioner. 

This is good advice even if you feel totally healthy.

If you tell your doctor that you’re thinking about starting a fitness routine and want to make sure you’re in a good place to do so physically, your doctor will run a series of tests and a physical examination to make sure everything is as it should be. 

If your tests and exam don’t return any concerning results, you can go ahead and start working out.

However, if the tests do flag up any problems, your doctor may want to prescribe some medication, refer you to physical therapy, or recommend that you engage in or avoid certain types of exercises (see also ‘7 Amazing Exercises For Older Adults‘). 

It’s very important to follow any advice your doctor gives you when you go for your checkup.

There are always ways to work around existing health conditions when it comes to exercise.

3. Ease Into It 

Getting into shape after 40 takes work!

One of the biggest mistakes people of all ages make when it comes to getting in shape is throwing themselves in at the deep end too soon. 

Sure, your ultimate goal might be to run a 10k, but if you try to run that 10k the second your new running shoes arrive with no prior training, you’ll probably end up feeling sore, exhausted and discouraged rather than motivated. 

Instead of pushing yourself excessively hard, ease into your fitness journey.

Using the 10k example, start by just seeing how far you can comfortably run on your first day.

Similarly, if you’re getting into strength training (see also ‘5 Reasons Over 40s Should Try HIIT Training‘), don’t start with weights so heavy you can barely get through a set. 

Be mindful and listen to your body, starting slow at first.

This will make sure you don’t exhaust yourself and have the energy to keep making continuous progress. 

4. Choose Cardio That You Enjoy 

Cardio might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s an important part of any fitness journey.

Even if your main goal with getting in shape is to build muscle, you should still find some time to work cardio into your routine for its heart health and fat loss benefits. 

The good news is that, contrary to popular belief, cardio doesn’t have to look like spending hours on the treadmill or vertical climber.

Any exercise that gets your heart pumping is good cardio, so find something you genuinely enjoy! That might be swimming, walking, running, dancing, zumba, or HIIT.

In any case, you need 30 minutes of moderate cardio per day.

5. Remember Your Strength Training 

Just as cardio is important even if you just want to build muscle, strength training is key even if your goal is simply to lose weight (see also ‘16 Ways To Shed Pounds After 40‘). 

Strength training improves your metabolism, helps you burn fat, and benefits your bone health.

Plus, strength training doesn’t have to be about building enormous muscles.

High-rep, low-weight sets can help your physique look leaner and more defined while providing all the benefits listed above. 

Try to strength train about 3 times a week, focusing on all the main muscle groups. 

6. Balance Exercises And Stretching 

Because studies have shown that balance tends to decline between the ages of 40 and 50, getting in shape over age 40 should involve regular balance exercises twice a week.

This will improve your balance in general and lower your risk of injury while working out. 

Speaking of injuries, you also need to be stretching before and after each workout, whether it’s weights or cardio. 

Final Thoughts 

Getting in shape over 40 is totally possible as long as you maintain a positive mindset. 

Make sure to get a health checkup before you start your new fitness regimen, which should involve moderate cardio for 30 minutes daily, strength training 3 times per week, and balance exercises twice a week. 

Remember to stretch, and above all, stick to exercises you enjoy while remembering your ‘why’.