We all know what it's like when the gym gets too hard, and we feel intimidated. We want to stay fit, but nothing seems to motivate us. Many people give into the idea that they're too old or their health isn't robust enough. In fact, when men hit the age of 30, there’s a steady decline in the natural forces inside us (like testosterone) that may hold us back.
“After age 30, most men begin to experience a gradual decline in testosterone,” says David Samadi, MD, chairman of the urology department at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
To give yourself the competitive edge you need as you age, it’s important to tackle functional exercises that will affect your body from a holistic perspective. Some exercises may be great to perform and may give you nice looking muscles (think benching), but they aren’t as functional as you age.
Functional exercises differ from their traditional counterparts as they are designed to improve function and muscle endurance over time rather than peak performance. Here are some of the best functional exercises for men over 40.
HIIT is short for high-intensity interval training. It involves short, intense exercise bursts, followed by rest and recovery periods. It is a great exercise to burn fat and improve cardio endurance. HIIT can get done on a treadmill, elliptical machine, or stair stepper.
For an effective HIIT session, ensure you can maintain at least a pace of nine minutes per mile for 30 minutes or more. Doing this four days a week, along with resistance training, can increase endurance and health.
Squats are a great functional exercise that incorporates the entire body. They help to build leg strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance.
To perform the squat exercise effectively, hold two dumbbells by your sides and slowly lower down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. To make it more difficult, you can place a barbell on your shoulders and slowly squat down, keeping perfect form.
It is important to ensure you are squatting in a controlled fashion. Go slow and deep to avoid injury. If your form breaks up at any point and you lose balance, lower the weight of the barbell and work your way back up.
Improve Grip Strength
Grip strength greatly affects the body, helping to improve balance, posture, and overall health.
To perform this exercise, you can do hollow body holds and other resistance training that will ensure you are strengthening the same muscle groups.
Pushups are one of the best ways to improve upper body strength as they target the core and arms.
To complete this exercise, get into a pushup position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Then slowly lower yourself to the floor and push yourself back up again.
When doing pushups, keep a neutral spine and focus on keeping your abdominals tight. It will help strengthen your core and ensure that you use the right form.
Kettlebell training is one of the most functional and fun ways to exercise. It works the total body, both in strength and endurance.
To execute an effective kettlebell exercise, stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding your bell with two hands at your chest with a neutral grip. Then push it up till both arms are fully extended behind you before lowering it again to your chest.
To make this exercise a little more challenging, do squat thrusts while holding the kettlebell. It will help to strengthen your arms, abs, and legs.
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. It's easy, simple, and effective.
Walking also increases heart health by sending more oxygen to the heart muscle and improves blood flow throughout the body.
You can walk anywhere from a one-mile to a 20-mile route with no equipment required. To make it effective, focus on walking with good posture and ensuring your stride is fluid.
Deadlifts are a great way to incorporate functional fitness into your routine as they work both the lower and upper body. They also focus on working the core and spine to improve power and posture.
Before you start deadlifting, warm up with some light weights first. It will help to increase your range of motion and remove any stiffness caused by fatigue.
It would be best if you also used a good pair of shoes to help with balance and support.
Functional exercises are a necessity for maintaining your health and fitness levels. They are fun, easy to do, and can be done anywhere. Try these exercises today and watch your strength levels, endurance, and health soar!