Life in your forties can really beat you up. You may dread going to the gym or have less energy than you used to when it comes to exercise. But without a solid fitness routine as a man over 40, your body will start showing signs of aging much faster and increase your risk of health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Fortunately, many exercises are available that provide significant benefits and are tailored specifically toward guys counting candles on their cake. So don’t throw in the towel just yet! Read on as we lay out all of our top 7 best exercises for men over 40 – any one or combination of these should keep you looking fighting fit year-round.
How Our Bodies Change
As we age, science shows that we go through many physical changes. Our bodies become weaker, our senses are less sharp, and our recovery from fatigue slower. While such bodily deterioration can be depressing, it's fascinating and comforting to understand the science behind these dramatic transformations.
Knowing how our bodies naturally evolve can help us plan better for the future and make more informed decisions regarding our health. It also makes getting older much easier to accept when you know why things are happening in your body.
Best Exercises for Men Over 40
If you're looking for a way to stay fit and healthy without completely overhauling your lifestyle, look no further than these great exercises designed specifically for men over 40.
1. Running or Jogging
If you want to stay fit but don't want to step inside a gym, the answer lies in your shoes. Running and walking are easily the most underrated exercises because they don’t require any equipment and can take you anywhere through woods, parks, roadsides, and even beaches.
Whether young or old, running and walking are the 8-mile bridges that help you stay connected to your fitness goals. So when it comes to staying healthy and active at every age—don't worry: just tie your shoes and get on your feet.
Swimming is the gift that keeps giving — especially if you're an older man. Not only is it a low-impact exercise that's easy on the joints, but it's also a great way to get your heart rate up. It's pretty much the only exercise out there that covers the heart health aspect while not doing damage to your body at the same time.
Whether it’s your first time in the pool or you’re a regular Aquaman, swimming is excellent for aging hips and working those troublesome muscles without feeling any pain afterward. Jump in and make a splash!
Biking is the perfect cardio workout for guys ending their college years and even those in their forties beginning their Mideast Crisis. It's low-impact but still offers excellent results; there's no need to worry about joint pain or inflammation because you can pedal your way to fitness goals without feeling like a rusty bicycle afterward.
Biking has the bonus of being a great way to get around outdoors, and at the gym, so you can fit some exercise into your daily routine without missing out on life’s greatest adventures.
Squats help men in their 40s build strength and stability in their core, hips, and legs while improving balance. They're also known to improve cardiovascular health, aid mobility, and even help manage stress levels. To do it:
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight, don't slouch.
- Slowly lower yourself into a sitting position until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Pause here for a moment before standing back up.
- That's one rep.
- Start with 10 reps and work up to 20 or more.
Pull-ups are one of the best resistance exercises you can do. They target your lats, traps, delts, and biceps, so pull-ups should be a staple of your workout routine if you're looking to sculpt that fit body. Pull-ups also provide many health benefits as they strengthen the muscles in your upper body and increase core stability, balance and posture. To do it:
- Stand under a pull-up bar and hold with a strong overhand grip. Your hands should be a little further from shoulder width apart.
- Hang with the bar with your arms completely extended.
- Fold your legs if they still touch the ground.
- Hold the movement for at least ten seconds.
- Now bend your elbows, keep your core engaged and shoulders back, and pull your body upwards.
- Move slowly until your chin is above the bar.
- Gradually lower yourself and keep breathing.
6. Dumbbell Bench Press
For men at 40, playing the performance card can be a daunting task. Enter the humble dumbbell bench press: a seemingly innocuous exercise that packs serious long-term benefits.
Not only does it provide an effective workout for your upper body, but it's also safer than traditional bench pressing for men in their forties. With some dedication to this particular lift, you'll be able to increase strength, boost cardiovascular health and even build up your bones—without increasing the chances of sustaining an injury. To do it:
- Pick the pair of dumbbells in your hands, keep a neutral grip and sit down on the bench.
- Lay down on the bench and hold the dumbbells close to your chest.
- Now raise your arms and, almost locking your elbows, hold the dumbbells straight over your head.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells about the level of your chest.
- Contracting the chest muscles, push the dumbbells back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Push-ups are no longer something you dread on the playground. As men reach 40, push-ups do more than strengthen arms and muscles—they can help reduce cortisol levels, leading to a heightened sense of well-being.
Not to mention all the extra street cred from being able to do 10 (or let's get ambitious and say 20) push-ups without breaking a sweat. To do it:
- Position yourself on all fours, with your palms and knees firmly on the ground.
- Your gaze should be focused on the floor while your hands are placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your abdominal muscles contracted throughout the exercise for proper form.
- To perform the push-up, slowly lower your chest until your chin grazes the floor, then return to starting position.
- You'll feel the tension in several muscle groups, including arms, shoulders, abs, and legs.
- Keep your back straight throughout the exercise to benefit from this exercise. Don't just try to finish the reps you have in mind. Proper muscle engagement is necessary for desired results.
1. What is the best workout app for 40-year-old men?
Fortunately, there's now an app that can help: FitLift. Unlike other workout apps, FitLift is tailored specifically to GenXers- people like me! With onboarding emails that clue you into which programs are tailored to fit your goals and clear instructional videos, I have to download the app, listen to some 80s tunes, and get myself moving.
2. What are the best workouts for 40-year-old men to lose weight?
The best workout for a 40-year-old man would be high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT involves fast-paced exercises that can be done in just 20 minutes a couple of times per week. It's an efficient way for somebody to get their heart rate up and lose weight quickly.
3. Is weight training good for men over 40?
If you’re over 40 and a male, weight training can be a lifesaver. It keeps your muscles toned, but it’s also great for improving your heart health and brain function.
4. What is an over-40 workout plan at home?
A great over-40 workout plan starts with fun stretching, jumping jacks, and push-ups. Add squats and burpees for a more intense routine, as they are bound to set your heart racing. Do this every other day, and you'll quickly see the effects of a toned-down body.
The Bottom Line
Aging can transform bodies into weakening muscles and deterioration the body. To maintain the fitness and shape of your body, you need to perform exercises regularly.
Exercises like swimming, running, dumbbell bench presses, push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and cycling can help renew a man’s body ideally. As you age, it is essential to perform these exercises regularly and maintain your shape for your 40-year-old body.
- Yang, Yun Jun. ‘An Overview of Current Physical Activity Recommendations in Primary Care’. Korean Journal of Family Medicine, vol. 40, no. 3, May 2019, pp. 135–42. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.4082/kjfm.19.0038.
- Taylor, Denise. ‘Physical Activity Is Medicine for Older Adults’. Postgraduate Medical Journal, vol. 90, no. 1059, Jan. 2014, pp. 26–32. pmj.bmj.com, https://doi.org/10.1136/postgradmedj-2012-131366.