Boosting your heart health as you grow into your 40s and beyond should not be overlooked. According to Tonal coach Joe Rodonis, the benefits are numerous; a healthy heart improves blood flow, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, boosts your overall mood, improves energy levels, reduces stress, and decreases the risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. One of Rodonis’s top priorities in his training is to maintain and enhance his heart health by performing two to three weekly cardio sessions; they can be as speedy as 10 to 20-minute workouts. He does steady-state cardio like cycling, jogging, and rowing, or explosive exercise like sprinting. Naturally, when asked about the best daily cardio workouts for men over 40 to promote a healthy heart, Rodonis knew exactly what to say.
“I’m quickly approaching my 40s (38 yrs old), and my priorities and approach to training have changed when compared to my 20s,” Rodonis explains. “As we age, we can get better with time and we can get more results from our training in a more efficient way. In other words, training smarter, with great intent/focus, and not wasting time. Depth not breadth. First, we need to get our perspective and mentality around aging adjusted. Getting older is a privilege, and you absolutely can get better with age. You can be in better condition and have more strength when you dedicate yourself to a strong and consistent routine.”
Taking care of your body now is the best kind of investment you can make for your health in the future. Keep reading to learn what the experts reveal about the best daily cardio workouts for men over 40 to support a healthy heart. And when you’re finished, don’t miss out on the 5 Regular Strength Exercises All Men Should Do in Their 30s.
Workout #1: Tonal Cardio Superset
“The beauty of compound movements is that [they] require the entire body to be involved. While we may be focusing on our posterior chain for a deadlift, for example, it also requires heavy engagement from the lats, core, and traps,” Rodonis says.
Rodonis walks us through this first workout, which he dubs a “barbell complex” and demonstrates on a Tonal. Each block includes two exercises, acting as a superset.
Complete five sets of 15, 10, eight, six, then four reps for each movement. Take a 30-second rest between each exercise and a 60-second rest between sets.
1. Barbell Front Squats
Position your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold the weight/resistance up by your shoulders. Press your hips back, and descend into a squat. Push through both feet in order to return to standing.
2. Standing Barbell Overhead Presses
Plant your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold the weight/resistance at shoulder height. Your hands should also be shoulder-width apart. Activate your core as you press the weight overhead until your arms are extended but not locked out. Then, lower the weight back down to your shoulders.
Complete five sets of 12 reps for each exercise. Take a 30-second rest between movements. Rest for 60 seconds between each set.
1. Neutral Grip Deadlifts
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and hinge forward in order to grab onto the handles at the sides of your body. Use a neutral grip. Press through the floor in order to rise back up to standing. Then, lower the resistance down the sides of your body. Push back up.
2. Bench Presses
Plant your feet on the floor, and lie flat on your back on a workout bench. Hold onto the cable handles with your palms facing forward as you press them up. Use control to lower them back down toward your chest.
Workout #2: Rowing
This next few workouts are recommended by Donna Cennamano, NASM CPT, manager for training for CycleBar. “Aerobic activity is especially suitable for men over 40, as it makes for sustainable activity over a longer period of time (versus anaerobic activity that drives intensity and stems from short bursts of activity). A routine, aerobic fitness regimen keeps muscles active, agile, and less prone to injury,” she explains.
Cennamano stresses that men over 40 should get in the recommended 75 to 150 minutes of cardio each week (aka, 30 minutes each day, five to seven days a week). Try any of the below cardio options for that duration and frequency.
First up is rowing. So hop on a rower, and get to it! “Rowing can be used as a warm-up to circuit training or done solely as a 20 to 30+-minute workout,” Cennamano says. “Rowing not only has total-body strength benefits but also provides an opportunity to apply breathwork training for increased lung capacity and CO2 tolerance.”
Workout #3: Cycling
Just like the rowing machine, an indoor cycling bike is an excellent tool to warm up your entire body or complete an entire workout. “For a workout that is 30+ minutes in length, one can focus on shifts in effort via the amount of resistance on the wheel and/or increased cadence,” Cennamano explains. “The ability to develop endurance (which is possible at any age) and sustain activity for longer stretches without significant fatigue is one of the many benefits to this modality.”
Workout #4: Swimming
Swimming is a stellar cardio-based exercise that will put your entire body to work. Plus, it’s easy on your joints and an all-around low-impact choice. “[Swimming] employs countless muscles in the body while also yielding cardiovascular and respiratory benefits,” Cennamano explains. “It’s also a great option for those recovering from injury. Just 10 to 30 minutes a day promotes heart health and increased strength.”
Workout #5: HIIT
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to switch up your typical workout routine and integrate equipment such as a rowing machine or kettlebell. A productive HIIT workout may look similar to the below:
- Establish a rowing distance on the rowing machine that’s attainable to reach within one to two minutes.
- Perform a plank into mountain climbers for a total of one minute.
- Perform kettlebell swings; ace the proper form first before doing this exercise in a HIIT workout.
- Rest for one minute, and then repeat steps one through three.
“It’s especially important to incorporate a sufficient period of warm-up work for all cardiovascular activity,” Cennamano says. “For HIIT, this may look like five to 10 minutes of brisk walking, jumping jacks, riding a stationary bike, or incorporating a rower. Time should also be allotted for a proper cool-down and stretch. Walking for a few minutes to bring down the heart rate is an example of a cool-down for HIIT training in addition to static stretching, which should target the muscle groups used in the workout.”