You already know the main bad lifestyle habits to avoid: smoking, excessive drinking, eating tons of junk food, etc. (Well, at least you should know.) But there are many more smaller but super common bad habits that people commit to that can completely ruin their health and fitness. They seem so harmless, but they can lead to big problems down the road. Fortunately, they are super easy to break and replace. We’re here to share seven bad fitness habits to stop after 40 and what to do instead to improve your health and fitness for decades to come. Read on to learn more, then don’t miss 9 fitness habits that are destroying your body before you turn 50.
You might not think of it this way, but getting enough sleep is an important part of your fitness routine. (After all, the real gains happen when you’re resting!)
The Sleep Foundation recommends that adults 18 and older get at least seven hours of sound sleep each night. But alas, as we age, it often becomes more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, which can lead to many health problems and reduced motivation to go to the gym. Don’t make matters worse by using bright electronics before bed, which is absolutely terrible for your sleep.
Make it your primary goal to stop using electronics an hour before bed. Try reading a book before bed, instead do some light stretching, meditation, or journaling.
Sitting at a desk job from 9 to 5 is all too common these days, but prolonged sitting can increase your risks of many health problems, including high blood sugar, increased belly fat, bad cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, reports Mayo Clinic. Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle can even increase the risk of early mortality. Also, when you stay still, your muscles lock into these positions and become shorter and tighter, which can compromise your fitness and flexibility.
Find ways to move throughout your day. If you sit at work, get up every few minutes to move and stretch. Take walks throughout the day and find more reasons to stand.
Unless you’re Danny Glover, you should never say, “I’m too old.” This creates a kind of self-hypnosis and confirmation bias: Instead of believing you’re young, you’ll look for examples that prove you’re “too old.” This becomes more and more true when you train. Yet believing you’re younger actually has huge health benefits. I’ve met 70-year-olds who live like they’re 20, and 20-year-olds who live like they’re 70. So tell me: Who’s really “old?”
When you say “I don’t have time” it’s equivalent to “My dog ate my homework”. It’s not your schedule; sometimes it can be something deeper – poor self-esteem or self-image, trauma, fear of failure, etc. As a full-fledged adult, it’s time to stop making excuses. Just start, build a fitness habit and then it will be much easier to get to the gym. If you wait until you feel 100% “ready,” you’ll probably never get started.
If you want to get back in shape after 40, doing the workouts or diets from your college days isn’t the best idea. Your body, metabolism and life have changed tremendously – following an outdated plan can overload and stress your body and cause more harm than good.
Instead, follow a program designed for your current body, limitations, goals and lifestyle. You will get better results and avoid big failures.
If you’ve ever said, “I know what I should do, I just have to do it,” I’ll be brutally honest: You do NOT know what you should do. (If you were, you would have done it by now!) It’s perfectly okay to admit that you don’t know the best way to get in shape. It’s okay to ask for or invest in help with exercise, diet, etc. Once you do, you’ll remove the burden and save yourself years and years of wasted time, not the results you’re looking for.
Trainers love it when their clients train consistently at the gym. But we also love it when our clients use these fitness improvements to live full, active lives—not just sit on the couch at home. After all, life happens outside the gym. Find active hobbies like hiking, biking, dancing, swimming, gardening, and more. Don’t think of exercise as something you do a few times a week; think of it as a lifestyle and you’ll reap more benefits than you could ever imagine.
Anthony J. Yong
Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a fitness expert featured in Esquire, GQ, and Men’s Health and founder of GroomBuilder, the destination for men looking to transform their bodies for their weddings. Join the free 5-day course to burn fat and build muscle for the big day! Read more about Anthony