It’s an unfortunate truism that staying in shape gets harder as you get older, which means those who happily ate takeaways every day without ever exercising in their 20s yet never put on so much as a kilo of surplus weight are heading for a shock in their 30s.
Once you hit 40, it gets tougher still and that goes for everyone, whether you’re a former professional athlete or a life-long couch potato. On ITV this week elite performance specialist Luke Worthington teamed up with ex-Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp to get a team of unfit England football players from the 1990s back into shape on Harry’s Heroes: The Full English.
Worthington worked wonders with the players, who are in their 40s and 50s, so we asked him for tips that can help anyone in their 40s get fit and keep fit.
1. Be Consistent
I’m frequently asked the question what’s the best programme for… insert fitness goal here. I often give the answer “3 x 52”. What I mean by that is, create a programme you’ll follow three times a week, all year round. That will help you achieve far greater progress than hitting something hard for six weeks and then falling off the wagon.
2. Don’t Go Overboard With Changes To Your Diet
Make small but sustainable changes to your diet, remembering that any changes you make have to be realistic and suit your lifestyle, so consider existing family and work commitments. Focus on hitting the “big rocks” of an overall calorie intake and a protein target, then don’t worry too much about the rest!
3. Find Exercise You Enjoy
If you hate the treadmill, join a five-a-side team. Exercise shouldn’t be a penance for overdoing it at the weekend – it should be an enjoyable part of your life that you look forward to.
4. Focus On Your Mobility
The areas of training that most often get ignored, yet are so important, are movement quality and mobility. The best way to address this is to book in with a suitably qualified and experienced trainer for an assessment to find out which areas you need to work on and consistently work on them.
5. Start With Low-Impact Activities
If you’ve been neglecting your health and fitness for a while, you’ve found your weight has crept up, and your knees and back are getting grumpy with you, it may be worth considering some low-impact activities such as cycling or swimming in the medium term.
Harry’s Heroes is available to watch on ITV Hub