Risks v Benefits
It's my number one priority of any exercise as a coach to avoid injury.
Insanity, Distance Running and Bootcamps are too aggressive on the body for beginners and the older generation .
The only survivors of these types of workouts will be the young (because they heal quickly and have better mobility) and the experienced who have build up their condition over years of training.
There are websites and magazines devoted purely to running injuries and research shows that 50% of people will obtain a running injury within the first year.
As a Personal Trainer I'm always weighing up the risk vs benefit of every exercise that I use with my clients. If one of my clients gets injured then that is a failure on my part.
For us over 40's time is precious, so fitting in time for training can be difficult - but don't let it be an excuse to not train.
It's possible to do 10-20 minute workouts, 3-5 times a week that will be completely effective.
You can easily progress them as your body adapts too.
What to avoid
Avoid doing isolated movements, for example bicep curls and tricep extensions. They're good exercises in their own right and will build lean muscle, but they're time consuming and don't burn fat. For beginners too much weight could easily lead to joint problems.
Distance running is very time consuming and doesn't give a good return in fat burnt and there's no strength gained. Also, the joints suffer. One reason for injuries is that people haven't built strength in the foot, knee and hip relationship; consequently, stability is lacking which leads to poor alignment and injury.
Jumping can also place a strain on the joints and should be avoided by beginners over 40. It sends your whole bodyweight through your body in one sudden impact. Box Jumps, Jumping Lunges etc. can cause ruptured achilles tendon doing these exercises!
Over 40's and the metabolism
The metabolism increasingly slows down with age. Those with a sedentary life style will find that putting on unwanted weight is an unavoidable consequence. Before long, if left unchecked, this can get out of hand and your left with a bulging tummy and saggy arms.
It's possible to boost the system however. You can raise the metabolism, burn fat and increase lean muscle mass.
Compound movements i.e. movement that involves 2 or more muscles. An exercise such as the kettle bell swing involves over 600 muscles - it builds strength and stability, raises the cardio and is a big fat burner.
Hight Intensity Interval Training is the key. You can find more about HIIT in a previously written blog. Work hard for a short period; 20-60 seconds depending on your capability; rest; repeat, or do the next exercise.
Sports science has demonstrated the effects of EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption) on the body. The higher the oxygen requirements when participating in a chosen physical activity the greater amount of oxygen is needed to replenish the human bodily systems once the activity has ceased. This in turn increases the potential for accelerating fat loss as well as many other physiological benefits. The fat burn continues for up to 48 hours post exercise!
Lots of body weight exercises fall into this category. Squats and Press-ups are great examples. Kettlebells, Gym Based Boxing are also good examples of effective training that can be done in a 10-20 programme; will raise the metabolism; burn fat and produce lean muscle mass.
For a beginner over 40, a simple and quick session that targets the whole body could be
Exercise doesn't need to be complicated it just needs to be sensible.