Health & Fitness

Are you scared of sagging 40s? Just stay calm

Middle-aged men and women worry about ‘man boobs’, beer bellies and saggy arms. photo | fotosearch
Middle-aged men and women worry about ‘man boobs’, beer bellies and saggy arms. photo | fotosearch 

Clocking 40 or 50 and looking fabulous is everyone’s desire.

However, few people realise that it’s years of good nutrition and exercise that make the difference between aging gracefully or staring at saggy thighs, arms, wrinkled skin around the eyes and even hard-to-reduce waistline.

The skin is the first sell-out for a middle-aged person as one’s skin starts losing elasticity as the previously firm muscles start to wither.

While few might argue that aging skin is inevitable, fitness experts say there are routine workouts that can help delay the clock.

Hezekiah Ambuka, a fitness trainer says maintaining an active workout routine especially in your 20s is a vital defence against flabby skin.

Middle-aged women are most sensitive about sagging arms with cellulite and most hide them in sleeves of varying lengths.

Middle-aged men are concerned about their body image with their biggest insecurity points being ‘man boobs’ and beer bellies.

 Mr Ambuka says ‘man boobs’ and beer bellies will gradually sprout over years due to food indulgences and lack of consistent exercises.  Start early even in your 20s by maintaining a healthy body weight throughout life and doing strength training.

“Simple activities such as jogging, speed walking and stretching can be done by just about anyone and are good for toning skin,” he said.

For those who have already hit the magical 40, he advises that it’s never too late to start on a strict diet and workout routine.

A positive mindset is a key ingredient to achieving what one sets out to do.
Depending on a person’s fitness levels, working out four times a week for 45 minutes should be enough to avoid the signs of aging like flabby arms, a flat rear and tummy fat.

Another fitness trainer Dominic Tongo notes that jogging, swimming and walking are ideal in maintaining high fitness levels.

“Aside from adequate sleep and cutting back on alcohol, middle-aged persons should focus on a mix of strength, mobility and short, high-intensity training to boost strength,” he says.

Mr Tongo notes that after crossing 30, you should start engaging in activities that exert a little pressure on the body while cutting back on salt and sugar intake as they slow down your metabolism. 

Excursions such as hiking, rock climbing, water rafting, he says, are ideal cardio workouts that help avoid heart diseases but do them often.

If you climb Mount Longonot once after three years, it wouldn’t help much. Let your body endure long walks and hikes.

After the age of 40, strength-training is one of the most effective ways to build and maintain muscle, which is especially important as you start to get older.

Some of the strength workouts that one can participate in include squats, planks, cycling and jumping jacks. These will help you burn fat and stay fit.

While no amount of workout can halt the aging process, there is rich evidence to prove that physical activity increases life expectancy by limiting development and progression of chronic diseases.

But also don’t be a slave to working out least you look too burly for women or withered. 

“Remember over-exercise leads to the dreaded “gym face” - that bony look when one has sunken cheeks and hollow eyes,” he says.

While trying to achieve that gorgeous body at 40, remember that safety should come first.

Always stick to exercising with kettle bells or dumbbells that create resistance rather than picking those that strain you. In fact, start by using your own body weight to exercise. If you cannot handle your own weight, you will not manage lifting heavy weights.

Exercise for your child’s sake too. Teenagers and young adults engage in more exercise if their parents do.