5 Best Exercises To Keep You Feeling Young, Firm, & Fit After 40
Living out your best, healthiest, and fittest life is totally possible after your 40th birthday. This next chapter in your storybook is exactly what you make of it, which is why you should be equipped with the absolute best exercises to feel firm and fit past 40. After all, regular exercise is key to staying young—specifically, resistance training, which is basically your very own fountain of youth. We understand that heading to the gym can be daunting, so we consulted with Tim Liu, CSCS, an online fitness and nutrition coach and member of our Medical Expert Board, who breaks down his top-recommended moves so you know exactly what to do.
"[The below are] all strength training exercises, [which] keep your body feeling young because [they] help build and maintain your lean muscle," Liu explains. Strength training keeps your metabolism up, offers anti-aging effects, and can even help extend your life. But if you're not yet sold on the wonders of strength work, let science do the convincing. According to a 2017 observational study published in JAMA Network Open, participants who performed strength exercises a minimum of two times a week were less likely to suffer from mortality during the study timeframe than individuals who performed less strength work. Plus, strength training promotes strong bones and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
So there you have it! If you're ready to get started, keep reading to learn about Liu's five best exercises to feel firm and fit after 40. And when you're finished, be sure to check out the 5 Daily Exercise Habits for Women To Get Firm & Lean After 50.
1. Dumbbell Split Squats
To get started with dumbbell split squats, assume a staggered stance by stepping one foot ahead of you and placing the other food behind you. Make sure your chest remains tall as you bend both knees and descend into a split squat. Lower until your back knee touches the floor. Then, use your front heel to press yourself back up to standing. Squeeze those glutes at the top. Repeat on the opposite side. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
2. Barbell Romanian Deadlifts
Next up for barbell Romanian deadlifts, you'll begin with a barbell in front of you. Bend down to take hold of it using an overhand grip and your hands positioned about shoulder-width apart. Pick the barbell up. Then, while maintaining soft knees, press your hips back, and lower the barbell down your legs. You should feel a good stretch in your hamstrings. Press your hips forward in order to bring the barbell back up to the start position. Complete three sets of eight to 10 reps.
3. Cable Rows
For cable rows, firmly place both feet on the footpad. Pull the handle out, extend your legs, and keep your chest tall. Then, bring your elbows back toward your hips, squeezing your lats and back as you do so. Extend your arms, and feel a solid shoulder stretch. That counts as one full rep. Complete three sets of 10 reps.
4. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
Start the incline dumbbell bench press by lying down flat on an incline bench. Have a dumbbell in each hand. Next, press the weights over your body as you straighten out your arms. Then, use control to lower the weights toward your chest. Once again, press the dumbbells back up toward the ceiling. Give your triceps and pecs a squeeze when you reach the top of the motion. Complete three sets of 10 reps.
5. Single-Arm Overhead Triceps Extensions
Last but not least, Liu's exercises to feel firm and fit after 40 wrap up with the single-arm overhead triceps extension. Grab a dumbbell with one hand, and press it overhead. Bend your elbow as you lower the dumbbell to the back of your head. Then, press your arm and the weight back up to the start position. Flex your triceps at the end. Repeat on the opposite side. Complete three sets of 12 to 15 reps.