4 Healthy Habits You Should Start Doing Over 40 To Get Fit Faster

Fatima Fokina

There are so many elements that make up a healthy lifestyle and promote fitness. From nutrition to exercise to sleep habits, everything works together to keep our bodies happy, healthy, and fit. If you’re over 40 and trying to get fit faster, there are several things you can do every day to speed up the process—and take care of your body as you go.

To learn more, we spoke to Paul Kriegler, RD and Director of Nutritional Product Development at Life Time, who shared all of his top tips on the matter. Below are Kriegler’s recommendations for 4 healthy habits you should start doing today.

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woman stretching her arms in bed


1. Get enough sleep (7 hours!)

First thing’s first: If you’re going to get fit, you have to get enough sleep. No matter what other healthy habits you implement into your daily routine or how much you exercise, Kriegler says a lack of adequate sleep will cause damage to everything your body and brain does. That’s why getting a full 7 hours (or more!) of sleep each night is a crucial habit.

“The most productive body and mind remodeling and repair happens when you sleep,” Kriegler explains. That means one of the best things you can do for your health is carve out enough time to rest each night. We can definitely get behind that!

woman lifting a kettlebell


2. Build resilience through exercise

One of the best ways to build fitness for people over 40 is to build resilience. To do this, Kriegler offers a few tips. First of all, he suggests fitting 30 minutes of exercise into your day outside of your workouts. “We’re made to move,” he says, “and moving frequently throughout the day at low to moderate intensities is one of the best behavior patterns for maintaining healthy aerobic metabolism and cardiovascular wellness.” Kriegler also notes that aerobic capacity is the foundation of all of your other health and fitness abilities—so don’t push it to the side!

In addition to those 30 minutes of activity, Kriegler says it’s helpful to follow a periodized strength-training program and lift weights at least 4 times a week in order to build muscle. The benefits of this are numerous. “Higher amounts of muscle mass are associated with better aging outcomes such as reduced rates of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, reduced fall risk, better resilience to critical illness, and even better outcomes from many cancer treatments,” he lists.

Finally, another great way to build resilience is to explore your exercise limits. Kriegler suggests doing this through high-intensity interval training (HIIT)—but do so with caution. “It’s good to hit your max heart rate and completely exhaust your muscles once a week, but it can be detrimental to use HIIT as your primary mode of exercise,” he says.

woman eating salad and a smoothie


3. Eat and hydrate well

You know what they say: “You are what you eat!” That’s why proper nutrition and hydration are essential to building fitness.

Kriegler says it’s important to fit enough protein into each meal (about 30 grams or more) because protein will help you build and repair your muscles after all your hard work, curb cravings to avoid overeating, and stabilize your energy levels.

Veggies and fruits are important, too. “High intakes of non-starchy vegetables and whole fruits are strongly associated with lower rates of chronic disease, and calorie-for-calorie, richly-colored produce packs serious nutrient density,” Kriegler notes. Eating fresh, nutritious produce is a great way to protect your cells from damage while you work hard to get fit.

Remember to go easy on the sugar, too, especially as you get older. “The more sugar you ask your body to process the faster you age,” Kriegler warns. “Avoid as many sources of concentrated simple sugars as possible if you want to extend your health span or quality of life.”

As far as hydration goes, Krielger recommends drinking half an ounce of water for each pound you weigh every day. “Adequate hydration is paramount to feeling energized, cognitively sharp, and physically strong,” he notes.

woman holding various supplements


4. Supplement wisely

It’s not uncommon to be lacking in certain vitamins and nutrients, which is why Kriegler’s final fitness tip for those over 40 is to take adequate health supplements. “In today’s food and lifestyle environment, it’s common to be short of several important vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and even protein,” he says. “No diet is so excellent that it can’t benefit from some supplementation.”

His recommendations? Start with a multivitamin, Omega-3 fish oil, protein, vitamin D, magnesium, and/or digestive enzymes. These supplements will help improve your mood, fight inflammation, boost your metabolism, build immunity, enhance your energy, and even help you sleep better. They can be great for promoting a quicker recovery after your workouts, as well, which is extremely helpful as you navigate your fitness journey. That all sounds great to us!

At the end of the day, fitness is a personalized pursuit. However, these 4 healthy habits and all of Kriegler’s tips will serve as great guideposts as you get into the healthy swing of things. You’ll be your fittest self before you know it!


4 Healthy Habits You Should Start Doing Over 40 To Get Fit Faster

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