If you’re out of shape in your 40s, getting your body back into shape can feel like a truly daunting task. But with the right guidance and expert-approved routine at your fingertips, you’ll be well on your way to sculpting a leaner, fitter body well into your 40s and beyond. Just remember, consistency is key if you want results! We spoke with Teddy Savage, national lead trainer at Planet Fitness, who shares some of the absolute best exercises to do if you’re out of shape in your 40s.
“All of these exercises are effective at getting you back into shape because they focus on the building blocks of movement, which are essential to overall physical progression, increasing stamina, and developing proper movement patterns,” Savage explains. “This means that they start as a regression and can be modified to the harder or more progressed version as you build strength and endurance. Without the added stress of external weights, you can really focus on proper form and body mechanics to ensure safe and efficient muscle development.”
If you’re aiming to perform the below exercises as a full-body workout, your goal should be to complete it three times each week with at least one day to rest in between for sufficient recovery and repair time. Get excited, because you should begin to see noticeable results after three to four weeks of hard work and consistently sticking to this routine. And in the immediate, you’ll experience a nice little energy boost.
Keep reading to learn all about Savage’s best exercises to start doing if you’re out of shape in your 40s. And when you’re finished, don’t miss out on The #1 Bodyweight Workout Women Should Do Every Day To Stay Trim.
Going straight into your workout without warming up is a total no-go. According to Savage, “As we age, it’s incredibly important to properly warm up before any type of physical activity.” The below exercises are stellar dynamic movements meant to get your body moving through its “fullest range of motion” to get your blood flowing to your muscles and provide lubrication to your joints.
1. Arm Circles
Begin warming up with some arm circles. Healthy shoulder mobility is crucial as you age, considering plenty of daily movement patterns call for you to press things overhead or away from your body, both of which will activate your shoulder joint and muscles.
To set up for arm circles, plant your feet hip-width apart, and circle your arms forward 360 degrees for a total of 30 seconds. Then, reverse the motion, circling your arms backward for 30 seconds. Complete two sets of 60 seconds.
2. Hip Openers
“Hip mobility is critical for efficient movement and allows you to move throughout your day with less tightness and discomfort in your lower and upper body,” Savage explains.
To set up for hip openers, stand up tall, and place your hands on your hips. Bring your right knee up toward your waist, and draw a half circle with your toe as if “you’re stepping over an imaginary line.” Do the same movement with your other leg. Complete two sets of 60 seconds.
3. March in Place
“Elevating your beats per minute prior to getting into your main workout, will allow you to safely approach your target heart rate, which helps to burn the maximum number of calories throughout the routine,” Savage tells us.
Make sure you’re pumping your arms as you bring each knee up, and march quicker as you get closer to the final 15 seconds of the exercise. Perform two sets of 60 seconds.
Performing strength training is a necessity in your 40s, as it improves your balance, stability, muscular endurance, and coordination. “Focusing on body mechanics with bodyweight exercises is the best way to ease back into a strength training regimen,” Savage explains. The following four exercises are great choices if you want to get stronger and achieve the fittest version of yourself.
4. Sit-to-Stand Squats
The squat is an excellent compound movement that works more than one lower-body muscle group simultaneously. Incorporating a sturdy platform makes this exercise more manageable no matter your fitness level.
To set up, press your hips back and squat down until your glutes touch the chair. Next, push through both heels to return to standing. Make sure you don’t lock your knees! Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
5. Alternating Lunges
“Lunges help with balance, flexibility, and coordination and are great if you’re restarting your fitness journey because they can be modified to meet your range of motion,” Savage tells us.
Place your hands on your hips, and take a big step forward with one leg so you’re in a staggered stance. Bend your knees, and descend into a lunge. Then, press back up to return to standing. Switch legs. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
6. Modified Pushups
Savage dubs pushups “an oldie but goodie.” This exercise is stellar at activating your shoulders, triceps, and chest. “Performing them in a modified manner can help you to control your posture, the pace of the movement, and increase your time under tension,” Savage adds.
Set up by lying on your tummy, keeping your hands at your sides, palms facing down. Make sure your toes and knees remain touching the ground as you push through your palms in order to lift your torso and chest. Descend to the start position, and repeat. Complete three sets of eight to 10 reps.
7. Forearm Planks
Last but not least, Savage’s list of the best exercises to do if you’re out of shape in your 40s ends with the forearm plank. “Core stability is critical for supporting your spine and promoting proper posture, which is essential for offsetting possible injuries and physical ailments as we age,” he says.
Begin this exercise with your forearms and palms on the floor. Your elbows should be under your shoulders. Roll up to the balls of your feet, and lift your hips so your body forms a straight line. Activate your core. Remain in this position for as long as you’re able to. If needed, feel free to lower your knees to the floor for support.