If you’ve missed the boat on exercise as a younger person, don’t worry. It’s never too late to start. You may not be able to beat the clock, but you do have some say in how ageing affects your body or how much muscle you can add. With the right plan and guidance, you’ll be able to stay motivated and get in shape and reap the health and lifestyle benefits of good physical fitness.
Medshield recently sat down to talk fitness after 40 with former South African Springbok rugby player and living legend Stefan Terblanche. In our interview, he shares wisdom on how a cookie-cutter approach to fitness is ineffective and how getting in shape and eating for your age will help find you on the right side of 40.
Q: Thank you for joining us, Stefan. Can you share the best exercises to do after 40?
ST: Firstly, it’s important to know any exercise is better than no exercise. Being over 40 doesn’t mean that you need to stop exercising because you are scared of physical injury or damage to the heart. With age, certain exercises should be adjusted for your current abilities, not what you could do in the past. Training session frequency should also be amended. For your body to benefit from the time you spend in the gym or on the road cycling, you will have to add some intensity. Long slow distances will do very little for your body and will more than likely break down your already depleting muscle mass. There is also no reason to spend hours in the gym or doing any other exercises. As we grow older we lose muscle strength and mass; that’s a given. It becomes harder to build the muscle we so desperately need for our bodies to function but it can be done – that’s great news for all of us.
Find exercise ideas here: The Best Way To Burn Fat & Lose Weight – Advice From A Trainer
Q: How often should you exercise at 40 and over?
ST: This will vary from person to person as each person has a different biological makeup and DNA. DNA testing is a great way of determining how your body reacts to any form of exercise and will tell you how to plan your training, but more importantly, how you rest. As a broad and very general formula, I assign two days for training and one day for rest. When you get a bit more conditioned to your chosen form of exercise, increase workout sessions to three days of training and one day of rest. The intensity and duration of training sessions will also play a major part in how you rest between training sessions. You will have to rest to give your body time to recover and for your muscle to repair itself and grow – that’s non-negotiable.
Q: Should you add or remove any foods and beverages from your diet?
ST: Again this will vary from person to person. Funnily enough, your DNA will give you a great idea of what and what not to eat. Some can eat carbohydrates while others should eat more protein. It’s best to strive for a balanced diet. I eat all foods but I do limit my fat intake. I love carbs, but I try to eat those during the daytime or after a hard training session, even if done late in the afternoon. Our bodies need the fuel to repair and to fully operate, so the worst thing we can do is to not eat anything. Please don’t do that!
Q: Are supplements necessary for good nutrition after 40?
ST: For sure! As we grow older there are great legal supplements we can and must use that will help us recover faster and for us to convert our hard work during training into small gains. Supplements are often frowned upon and have an unjust steroid stigma. However, these are two separate things. There are major differences between supplements and steroids, so it’s wise to learn about them so you aren’t confused and living with misinformation.
Q: Can you share some fitness recovery tips with us?
ST: Good sleep, nutrition and managing stress levels sit right at the base of your general and overall well-being. You get that right and you are 80% there. It will make your training so much easier and more effective.
If you’re feeling motivated to start working out right now, visit the Medshield Movement Resource Hub for a range of free exercises, recipes for nutritious eating and how to #LiveAssured with Medshield.