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Can You Build Muscle After the Age of 40? A Complete Guide


Can You Build Muscle After the Age of 40? A Complete Guide
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Are you hitting your forties and intentionally getting into a relaxed state? Many around us make this grievous mistake! It is exactly this critical juncture where you should be exerting more to build muscles, strengthen your bones and energize your body.

You may find it an odd suggestion to gear up strength training and quality eating after your forties, but trust me! This is the right time for it. 

The human body starts to slow down after the forties. Strength, energy, and the zeal for more that you took for granted will be waning now. You might have started feeling lethargic already. If yes, do not give in. Be even more active about diet and exercise management. Exercise hard, do an appropriate number of reps, give your muscles ample time to recover, and eat healthy food. 

You do not have to be a limping, falling loser: enter your forties in good health and with a muscular stance. This article plans out everything you need to do in your forties.

Why You Need to Focus on Maintaining Your Health After 40?

Aging creates mixed feelings in us humans. We may feel happy for making it to a certain mark (number of years) and be sad at the same time for losing youth, strength, and energy. Maintaining good health is important all your life, but it becomes crucial and imminent after your 40s.

The reasons include natural muscle degeneration, slower metabolism, and natural loss of energy. You need to work harder for your well-being after your 40s if you want to keep standing on your feet and make it to the next decade in good health.

Strength, health, and energy may have come naturally to you before your 40s, but you will have to put effort into these things after this hallmark. Work your muscles, eat right, think positive, drink plenty of water and take your multi-vitamins; these are the ingredients for a happy and healthy post-40s.

Reasons Why Maintaining Muscle Strength Matters

Some of us (those who are lazy and quite like it that way) may wonder why we should even worry about health, and especially muscle health, after our 40s. After all, your body is naturally slowing down and walking along the path of fragility. Why bother with exercise and good eating habits?

Well, you are going to lose the natural strength that you enjoyed for four decades, and you will surely not like it very much to have your muscles screaming with pain doing simplest  daily tasks. To keep your life smooth and pain-free, it's important that you actively work for your health after your 40s.

1. Maintain Your Independence

Aging is inevitable and it may not be the best phase of life. The energy and self-reliance that you are so used to now will gradually vanish with age. This happens with the loss of muscle mass and the resultant weakness of joints, and bones.

These are natural physical changes and there is no way to avoid them completely. However, you can delay their onset if you remain physically active throughout your life. If you have been regular with physical activity all through your life, you will have maintained a good weight and muscle-to-fat ratio, which works wonders in old age. More muscle will mean a stronger body, bones and joints and consequently an active you.

Maintain your independence, strengthen your body with diet and exercise, and Preserve your muscle mass to stay active, and strong, as you age. 

2. Improve Balance, Coordination, and Mobility

Lower muscle mass or muscle degeneration (sarcopenia) will not be a happy change at all. Loss of muscle means weakness, lower mobility, and greater chances of falling and fracturing bones. Aging can be ruthless, and you have to fight it. Preserving health after your 40s will help you stay strong in the face of the enemy-the age. 

3. Minimize Your Risk of Falling

Stay fit, work out regularly for strong muscles, and keep yourself safe from falling and fracturing bones after the 40s. Fractures happen too easily among people over 40s; you have less muscle, which means your bones are vulnerable. Increase muscle mass and fight age-related muscle and energy slow down to hedge against age-related weakness. 

4. Gain Strength and Energy

The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be. This means more energy even at the age of 40. 

5. Help Keep Your Joints in Good Shape

It's not just your muscle that takes the brunt of aging; your entire body feels the adverse effects. As you age, you lose bone mass, strength, ligaments in your joints and develop several bone and joint conditions. 

Staying active for muscle mass and following a good diet plan will help keep your bones and joints in good condition along with your muscles.  

How to Build Muscles After 40 - (A Step-by-Step Guide)

1. Stay Active and Hit the Gym

As discussed above, sarcopenia hits hard after you cross the 4th decade of your life. You will lose muscle mass and muscle strength. Sarcopenia is no fun: it is a very scary situation. You will feel lazy, lethargic, lose interest in being active, tire soon, and won't lift weights easily. 

Muscle loss will make you fragile; you may start falling easily, and breaking bones may become easier still! All of this seems so gloomy because the 40s are just around the corner, and these things are so overwhelmingly sad. However, they are unavoidable! Stay active and engage muscles to delay age-related muscles and bone issues.

Science supports the notion of exercising your muscles 2-4 times a week to help fight muscle degeneration. The gap in between helps with recovery and muscle growth. Do not do 5-6 times a week like you did before; this frequency can be counterproductive. 

2. Do Not Over-do It (Follow the Optimal Number of Reps Only)

When you are over your 40s, you might want to rethink your workout strategy! The more, the better is not going to work anymore! You need to do just as much as necessary. 

If you want to gain muscles after your 40s, you must be very particular about muscle recovery at this age. Muscle recovery rate decreases with age, so doing too much exercise may even hurt the muscle-building process. Hit the right number of reps for maximum gains after this age. 

Do not do chest reps more than 9-11, back; 12-14, arms and shoulders 6-9 reps, and legs 12-14 again. It's quite obvious that you no longer need to do anything extraordinary; keep the balance and enjoy muscle building even after your 40s.

3. Eat Right and Energize

Building muscle is going to need a bit of effort on your part after your 40s. Even if you have never taken supplements before for muscle gains, you might want to think about them now.

Take care of your diet, try to fuel your body with high-value calories, eat smart, and make up for any nutrient deficiency with supplements. 

If your body is slowing down the muscle-building process, supplement it with creatine, whey protein, Vitamin D3, and other important Nutrients like Zinc, Magnesium, etc. 

Diet Plan for Over 40

If you know what to eat, you might look a decade younger. It's all about choosing the right item for energy; a good diet makes all the difference. 

1. Whole Grains

Forget about eating processed and fast food now: stick to high fiber and whole grains to fuel your body with quality calories. Whole grains are great; they keep you full, afford better digestion, prevent higher blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Whole grains should be your new best friend. 

2. Beans

Beans are plant proteins, and proteins form muscles, bones, cartilage, and skin. As discussed above, these are the elements that will be affected as you cross your 40s. It makes simple sense that you need to boost protein and especially plant protein intake for stronger muscles, bones, and joints. 

3. Walnuts

Walnuts are a tasty and low-calorie source of Vitamin E, Melatonin, and antioxidants. These features make walnuts a favorite for strong and healthy men beyond the 40s.  Antioxidants fight free radicals and aging; they keep age-related degeneration at bay. 

4. Green Tea

Green Tea is yet another great source of antioxidants and catechin. It's awesome, leads to fat burning and supports the muscle-building process. It is scientifically proven to be an efficient infection fighter

5. Eggplant

You may not like the taste of this purple vegetable, but you will want to gobble it down your throat once you know its benefits. It is an antioxidant bomb that counters free radicals in the body and fights diseases. You definitely want it in your grocery bag if you want to be healthy.

Don't forget that it's low on calories and high on fiber- all the more reason to include it in your diet.

6. Guava

Shining bright skin may be the only thing that comes to your mind when you see guava, but that's not all. This fruit holds tremendous value for those who fall ill with infections frequently. It also increases absorption of iron from blood and boosts your immune system for a stronger in-built defense. 

7. Herbs

Use Adaptogens found in herbs like Morunga, Ashgawandha, Holy basil, etc., to help deal with stress organically. Stress is one of the signs of sarcopenia, and you can handle it well with natural herbs.

8. Oils

There are countless reasons why you should have the right amount of oil in your diet. Do not do away with oil completely, even if you are trying to lose weight, because oils are important for Vitamin absorption and many other miracles that they do. 

9. Milk

Supercharge your bones with milk calcium and also stay safe from strokes. A glass of skimmed milk is non-negotiable. 

Multi Vitamin

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Final Thoughts

The human body starts to degenerate slowly and gradually after the 40s. You will feel significant changes in muscle strength and muscle mass, which will lead to a whole host of other issues in the body. This is a natural process, and it's impossible to avoid it. However, you can delay its onset and minimize the deteriorating effects with strength training, healthy eating, and a moderate activity level. You can stay independent, healthy, and active long after your 40s if you plan your post-forties days. Your body starts to behave differently after your 40s, and so should you to match and defend yourself against all odds.

Article Sources

  • Beaudart, C., et al. ‘Nutrition and Physical Activity in the Prevention and Treatment of Sarcopenia: Systematic Review’. Osteoporosis International: A Journal Established as Result of Cooperation between the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA, vol. 28, no. 6, June 2017, pp. 1817–33. PubMed,
  • Jang, Hak Chul. ‘Sarcopenia, Frailty, and Diabetes in Older Adults’. Diabetes & Metabolism Journal, vol. 40, no. 3, June 2016, pp. 182–89. PubMed Central,
  • Kemmler, Wolfgang, and Simon von Stengel. ‘Exercise Frequency, Health Risk Factors, and Diseases of the Elderly’. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, vol. 94, no. 11, Nov. 2013, pp. 2046–53. PubMed,
  • McPherron, Alexandra C., et al. ‘Increasing Muscle Mass to Improve Metabolism’. Adipocyte, vol. 2, no. 2, Apr. 2013, pp. 92–98. PubMed Central,
  • Reygaert, Wanda C. ‘Green Tea Catechins: Their Use in Treating and Preventing Infectious Diseases’. BioMed Research International, vol. 2018, July 2018, p. 9105261. PubMed Central,

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