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5 Exercise Habits That Are Wrecking Your Body After 40

Are you guilty of these habits during your workouts?

Picking up bad exercise habits—along with good ones—is not out of the norm during your fitness journey. Reevaluating your routine every now and then is a necessary step to help keep you on track and ensure you're not doing anything that'll lead to injury. We spoke with Kelly Najjar, NBC-HWC, a personal trainer on Fyt, the largest personal training service in the nation that makes expert-guided fitness, whether in-person or virtual, convenient for everyone, who shares five exercise habits that are wrecking your body after 40. If you're doing any of the below habits, ditch them ASAP.

"Welcome to Prime Time, the second half of your life. This is the time to invest in your health and wellness so that your retirement is full of all the things you want to do. Pain and its limitations prevent many from enjoying an active retirement. Now that you are over 40, it is important to care for your body by avoiding these exercise habits," Najjar tells us. "As you age, maintaining your strength, balance, and endurance safely will keep you doing the things you love."

Keep reading to learn more about the bad exercise habits that are wrecking your body after 40. And next, don't miss 5 Bad Fitness Habits That Cause You To Lose Muscle Mass.


middle-aged man doing plyometrics explosive exercises outdoors

Plyometrics involves explosive movements that boost your muscle power. That's all well and good, but this form of training can also be incredibly rough on your joints, such as your spine.

Najjar suggests, "To preserve the health of your knees, hips, and spine it is better to enjoy exercises with a lower impact. Some options include strength training, walking or jogging, or yoga."


High-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be a very popular form of training, Najjar explains, but the quicker your movements, the more you're putting yourself at risk of getting injured. "Combined with a longer healing time, after 40, it is better to slow down and avoid exercises that require a sprint," Najjar adds.

Instead, opt for an elliptical workout or a slow jog. Both are much less likely to result in an injury.

Over 50? Here Are 6 Exercise Mistakes You're Too Old To Make

Crunches and traditional sit-ups

mature man doing sit-ups, worst weight loss exercises

Growing older comes with many natural changes in your body. For instance, your spine can become more susceptible to injury. "Traditional core exercises like crunches and sit-ups put unnecessary pressure on the neck and lower back," Najjar explains, adding, "Try a glute bridge or a bird-dog to help keep a strong core without putting your spine at risk."

Ignoring your balance

Falling becomes more common as you grow into your older years. That's why it's crucial to get ahead of the game and work on your balance earlier in life as often as you can.

"If you have good balance and want to maintain it into your Prime Time, perform standing three-way kicks with weight (either a band or tower with a leg attachment)," Najjar says. "If your balance isn't what it used to be, you can ask your doctor for a few physical therapy sessions and learn the best exercises for you."

Forgetting to stretch

Don't sleep on stretching! It's so easy to skip this critical part of the cool-down process, but make it a habit to stretch after wrapping up your workout.

"After finishing a good workout, it is easy to towel off and head for the locker room. While that might be fine in your younger years, it can cause big problems in Prime Time. Tight muscles pull on the joints they support causing general aches and pains. Prolonged pressure on the joint can lead to osteoarthritis," Najjar explains.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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