Fitness After 40

October 7th, 2015 by Sandra No comments »


flat footed cyclist

The quest for physical fitness does not end with the onset of middle-age. Your 40th birthday is not a harbinger of declining strength and fitness. The truth is, exercise is more important after age 40 than ever before.

But your body changes as you age and your fitness training must change with it. Adapting your middle-age fitness training program to your body’s changing needs enables you to maintain or improve your fitness as you navigate through your 40s, 50s, and beyond.

Here are some ideas for training effectively in your 40s:

Take More Time to Warm Up: Aging makes you more susceptible to injury. It also increases injury recovery time. The last thing you need is a pulled hamstring, a torn pectoral, or a strained foot. Have you ever searched for the term “pain in heel“? Articles like this are plentiful for a reason! Flat feet can predispose you to injury as well.  Orthotics for flat feet, just like these, can be helpful.

Injury is most likely to occur during the first few minutes or reps of your workout. In middle-age, warming up properly is a critical part of your fitness program.

Warm up for a minimum of fifteen minutes before strenuous exercise, especially weight training. Start off with five minutes of gentle leg stretches, and follow that with five to ten minutes on the stationary bike, treadmill, or elliptical. Finish with some light range-of-motion movements. You can check out YouTube for some helpful videos and tips, just be sure to check with your doctor first.

Reduce the Weight and Increase Repetitions: Maintaining muscle mass in middle-age is not difficult, provided you train smart. That is the good news.

Here is the bad news: Training with heavy weights, as if you are a body-builder in his prime, is courting trouble. Though heavy iron may have built your body in your youth, it is likely to tear it down in middle-age. Training with less weight and higher repetitions allows you to maintain muscle mass while reducing injury risk. For additional muscle stimulation with little added risk, sustain the contraction at the peak of each repetition.

How much do you really care about your one- rep max deadlift, squat, or bench press? The smart answer is “Not at all.” Take some weight of the bar and avoid injuries.

Listen to Your Body: Take a day or two off when you are feeling achy, lethargic, or over-trained from previous workouts. You might have tried to push through the tiredness in the past, but after age 40 the smart move is to wait for a better day. Apply this rule to individual exercises as well. Use caution with your first few repetitions of each exercise. Do not continue the movement if something feels “off” that day.

Include Cross-Training in Your Workout Program: Weight-training alone is not enough to maintain optimal fitness. Alternate your workouts between weight training, flexibility, cardio, balance, and other forms of exercise. Try to reduce weight training to three days per week. You can still exercise on the other days, just vary your activity.

Mix it up when you are not weight training. Take a day to run hills or stairs. The next day use an Arc Trainer at varying inclines and resistance levels. Ice-skate or cross-country ski during winter months. Join a weekly basketball game. Visit a local facility that has a simulated rock-climbing wall. Take a yoga class. The possibilities are endless.

Vary Intensity of Cardio Programs: Use different types of equipment and vary levels of intensity of your cardio programs for varying lengths of time. One day do high intensity interval training (HIIT) on the treadmill for 30 minutes. The next day use a stationary bike for an hour of steady-state cardio. Mixing it up keeps your body guessing and avoids the pitfall of overburdening some muscles at the expense of others.

Additional factors beyond exercise play an important role in staying fit after 40. Proper nutrition and use of appropriate dietary supplements are vital to your continued fitness. Always consult a physician or nutritionist for advice on these matters.

Selecting the right shoes for walking

September 29th, 2015 by Sandra No comments »



All shoes are not created equally. If wearing the wrong type of shoe, you run the risks of having foot problems and even injury. There are shoes most ideal for certain surfaces as well as for low impact exercises. If you are an avid walker, it is important for you to find the right shoe for the job. Here is how to select the right walking shoes.

Know the arch of the shoe

Examine the arch. The arch of the shoe can be measured using a variety of methods. Step on a paper bag and see how much your foot protrudes. Depending on whether or not half or the entire arch is seen, your shoe should be selected accordingly. A wider arch means that more support is required. A higher arch requires a softer midsole. A person with a normal arch may not require as much support.  I’ve been pretty obsessed lately with outside of the foot pain after my latest sports injury.  Foot doctors claim insoles in your shoes can help this type of pain.

Flexibility and the walking shoe

Consider the flexibility of your shoes. The perfect shoe promotes flexibility. Consider where the shoe is most flexible. Softer components in the shoe promote flexibility. The shoe should have the ability to flex in an upward direction while the heel should have substantial support. There should be little give in the twisting motion in the front portion of the shoe. The foot should have no problem flexing as your foot moves from heel to toe during a step taken.

Heel support in walking shoes

Make sure that you have the right level of support in the heel. Walkers require more support in their heel region because their stride puts most of the impact in the rear of the foot. A good walking shoe should have greater support in the heel area. The heel area should be relatively flat in a good walking shoe. The heel should never be flared because it doesn’t provide adequate support for the heel.

Walking form and the shoe

Pay attention to your walking form. Some runners may be prone to what’s called overpronation. This may require that a person begin wearing shoes especially design to restrict motion on impact with each step taken. Overpronation is common among overweight runners. Shoes especially designed for walkers with this problem need support to prevent the foot from striking the ground incorrectly.

Find the correct shoe size

Know the size of your foot. Any type of shoe used in exercising should be slightly larger than the person’s regular shoe size. Experts recommend that the shoe size be one-half size larger than the nature shoe size to give the person room. There should be ample wiggle room for the toes in the shoe area.

When trying on walking shoes, it’s best to wear socks to evaluate the amount of space in the shoe.  Here’s a great video about how to buy socks.  Finding the right shoe may take testing out a few shoes. In some cases, one may have to go to a specialty store especially designed for people with foot problems and needs. Finding the right shoe makes it easier to maintain an exercise routine without sustaining an injury.

Is it Better to Run Outdoors or on a Treadmill?

September 22nd, 2015 by Sandra No comments »

running with foot pain


Many of us are becoming more health-conscious, and are aware that we should be doing some exercise as well as eating properly. As a result, treadmill use has increased significantly over the last decade. It is the most popular type of gym machinery, and many people even have a treadmill in their homes.

However, there is a quite a lot of discussion regarding the potential risks of using a treadmill. Some runners feel that it is better to run outside, while others appreciate the kind of exercise that a treadmill facilitates. This article examines the pros and cons of using a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Risk of basic injuries

One of the most common treadmill injuries is actually the result of a lack of common sense: stepping off the treadmill while it is moving. Whether you want to fetch a drink of water or change the TV channel, you should always stop the treadmill running belt before stepping off and on. Many of those who fail to do so have slipped and done some serious damage to themselves. There is also a risk of getting your hand or fingers caught in the narrow space between the moving belt and the machine itself.

Running outdoors does not entail such risks as there is no complicated machinery involved; however, there is always the possibility that you might stumble and fall onto the hard pavement, which can be just as dangerous.

Finding an appropriate running speed

Using a treadmill, it is important to find a speed that it most suitable for you. If you set the speed too low, you are likely to run with shorter steps, risking stumbling or causing pain in your calves. Setting the speed too high, however, can also be problematic, as it puts your muscles and joints under too much pressure to keep up.

Outdoor running has the advantage here because you tend to run at your “natural” speed. You can go faster or slower depending on how your legs and body feel, whereas on a treadmill changing speed will involve adjusting the program, which can be difficult to get right.

Potential damage to knees

Running of any type is potentially troublesome for our knees. Knees are a notoriously complicated and delicate part of the body, and they act as the main “shock absorber” between our body and the surface we run or walk on. If your thigh muscles aren’t strong enough, the tendons and ligaments that run through the knee will be put under additional pressure. This can eventually lead to “runner’s knee”, in which a constant, dull pain is caused by cartilage grinding against the kneecap.

While the risk of damage to knees is common to both treadmill and outdoor running, most treadmills come with built-in shock absorption systems, which reduce the pressure felt by the ligaments. In contrast, rough outdoor terrain increases the impact on the runner’s knees. In my area, Dick’s Sporting Goods often has treadmills with a nice amount of shock absorption on sale throughout the year. Orthotics can also reduce some shock absorption while running.

Overcoming boredom

This final point is entirely subjective, and requires the runner to think carefully about the type of environment in which they prefer to run. Running outdoors is less monotonous: there is changing scenery, fresh air and the opportunity to vary your route. Although running outdoors requires greater concentration in order to maintain a consistent pace, many runners attest to the sense of freedom it gives them.

Running on a treadmill involves remaining in a confined space, with little stimulation. There is no fresh air, and the sensation of constantly pounding on a rubber belt can become very boring. However, many people prefer the fact that a treadmill sets the pace and challenges you to keep up, meaning that unconsciously slowing down is not a possibility, as it would be outdoors. Running on a treadmill absolves the runner of having to find a suitable running route, and the controlled indoor environment means that variables such as weather and temperature do not have to be considered.


Running, whether on a treadmill or outdoors, carries the risk of injury at all times. The treadmill may have the advantage in terms of helping to prevent damage to the knees, but factors such as the pace and incline settings must be carefully considered, lest you do damage to other parts of your body. Running outdoors has the benefits of a varied route and fresh air, but it may not always be easy to find a viable running path, and the weather can be an unpredictable hazard. Ultimately, runners should weigh up the factors that they consider to be most important in their exercise regime, and decide accordingly.