How to Get Fit After 40

A guide to smart exercise for new members of the 40-plus club

How to Get Fit After 40 photo

One day, you wake up and your metabolism slows down. I know -- depressing. It's not like you are sick, but it's still sad. For some people, this happens early on in life; for many of my clients, 40 seems to be the age it becomes easier to gain the weight and harder to drop it.

It's not just the weight either -- now there is joint pain! The majority of us walk around with some sort of back, knee, shoulder, etc. … pain. Either from overuse or underuse there is no pleasing Father/Mother Time.

The good news is you can reverse the damage. Unfortunately, the steps are not sexy, and you already know them: Eat better and move more. For time sake (and because it's my area of expertise) I'm going to take you through the exercise portion. As always, check with your doctor before starting or changing your exercise routine.

I see two types of clients, the ones that got injured starting out too fast, and the ones that have no idea where to start. Either way, I bring them along slow and start with basic movements and good warm-ups. At 10, even 20 years old, you can just hop in a basketball game and be fine, but now you need to grease the wheels a little bit.


I like to start my workouts with the following warm-up usually done across 20 feet of grass or flooring (of course avoid any movement if it hurts, moving into pain is a no-no). You can also do this standing in place if you don't have enough room. Each movement is done for 20-30 seconds.

  • Walking fast with knees high
  • Walking fast while kicking my butt (or coming close)
  • Shuffling side to side
  • Skipping
  • Arm circles (standing in place, forward and back)
  • Bear crawl (if you have back, neck, or knee pain, this might be one you skip)

Once you are nice and warm it's time to get going. If the goal is burning fat and building muscle, I like circuit training. I mix my strength training with my cardio training. This is time-efficient and a great way to build up endurance while burning calories.

I've listed four sample routines below. Each exercise is done for 30-45 seconds, with perfect form.

Routine 1: No equipment

  • Plank on your forearms
  • Squats
  • Push ups
  • Jumping jacks
  • Single-leg deadlifts

Repeat three to four times, this is a quick body weight routine you can do almost anywhere.

Routine 2:Medicine Ball Workout

  • Lunge while holding ball
  • Single-leg bent-over rows
  • Plank with hands on ball
  • Medicine ball-slams (skip if you have shoulder, neck or back pain)
  • Burpee with ball (skip if you have shoulder, neck or back pain)

Repeat three to four times. If you have a partner you can do some med ball passing exercises as well. They are fun and a great way to get the heart rate up.

Routine 3: Traditional Gym

  • Lunges holding no weight (or a light weight)
  • Assisted chin-ups
  • Bent-knee deadlift
  • Dumbbell chest press
  • Run on treadmill for 30-45 seconds
  • Dumbbell shoulder press
  • Goblet squat
  • Plank

Repeat this three to four times, and you will be gassed and fit in no time.

Routine 4: Have Fun!

Play in the park, go for a long walk, golf, dance, table tennis, tennis … if you find something that's fun, you are more apt to stick with it.


At the end of the workout, pass out.

Kidding. I recommend foam rolling and/or light stretching. I am one of those weird people that foam rolls and watches television. Keep those joints massaged!

Good luck to my fellow Gen-Xers.

Ron Krit photo 375
Ron Krit has been giving seminars, training clients, and writing about fitness for over 15 years! His philosophy centers on making fitness fun so that you look forward to working out and getting healthy. Ron has trained 4-year-olds up to 90-year-olds, of all a... Read More

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