40 plus and fit: Build up your lower body by taking this exercise daily, says celebrity fitness trainer

Lena Weib

Lunging can exercise your quads and glutes and also keep your core engaged&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspiStock Images

Key Highlights

  • Must you give up on falling muscle strength as you get to the wrong side of thirty or should you fight like a Ninja to stay ship shape till you strike a century and beyond?

  • While medicines, clinical interventions can guarantee us treatment for a disease, to keep out body well oiled with the right exercise and diet is in our hands.

  • Trainer, author, and fitness model Kirk Charles agrees that as you get older, life can get more complicated. But that shouldn’t prevent you from being on top of your game. 

If you wish to have a long and healthy life, get ready to accept the fact that as age progresses, you will not be as agile, strong, and fast as you were in your teens or maybe early 20s. 

It is a fact that ageing is happening on a cellular level at every moment, so for long and healthy life, it’s vital to stay on top of the changes within your body and your mind. 

In our 20s, we’re generally at the peak of physical health, our bodies are still on the upward curve of development —  and our brains and bones are growing to their full potential. In our 30s, we find our metabolism slowing down a bit. we start losing muscle mass (3 per cent to 8 per cent per decade after age 30). Belly fat (visceral fat) begins to take root. In our 40s, there is more reason (excuse) for us to neglect our health as everything seems to come together around this stage — your family life and career are likely at a high point, children are at a crucial stage in education, eyesight is no more 20/20, caring for ageing parents and planning for the future can make it a stressful time. Every 10 years after the age of 40, we lose about half an inch of height because of changes in bones, muscles, and joints.

This is when you must really hold the reins tight and steer your body fitness routine towards the right track. Kirk Charles — a CPT or a Certified Personal Trainer, writer and fitness model credited with having conducted 10,000+ training sessions to help his clients become Fit Beyond 40 — writes in Men’s Health

Lunge: Take that leap for your health! Kirk Charles writes that it is unfortunate that very few people realise how good a strengthening routing a lunging exercise can be. “Lunging is an underrated exercise for building leg strength, especially since there are so many variations that allow you to break from the typical stationary mould of other leg day moves. Lunges also help to hone balance, which can be even more important as you age. 

“At 58, I’m at an age where I need to be more intentional in the ways I move. Lunging helps me in all of my physical endeavors by helping to build a firmer foundation in my lower body—and they become even more effective once you take them on a walk. The walking lunge variation incorporates more balance and mobility, which are key to helping with my activities and sports,” says Kirk Charles in Men’s Health.

How to do the lunges:

  1. Stand up straight and tall. 
  2. Step forward and slightly out with one leg, landing on your heel first.
  3. Follow that up by then bending your knees to descend into the lunge. 
  4. If you’re able, lower your body until your rear knee is just above the ground.
  5. Make sure, though, that you don’t slam it down. 
  6. Both of your knees should form 90 degree angles.
  7. While at this, also remember to keep your core engaged with your torso upright. 
  8. Transfer your weight to your front foot and push your body upward and forward. 
  9. Drive-up through the front foot to a standing position with your feet together and pause,.
  10. If you can maintain balance, step directly into the next rep with your other leg. If you’re working with your body weight, cycle your arms like a runner with each step to help maintain balance.

Kirk Charles says that for him, the number one perk of the walking lunge is working on balance. He adds that as he descends into the lunge, he likes to pause for a moment and hover at the bottom. That static hold helps to engage the quad and the glute muscles better while also testing the deceleration, balance, and hip stabilisation. 

Kirk Charles says that as the last step of the lunge routine, “I like to push up as powerfully as possible to the standing position, which requires acceleration.”

A word of caution:

In the piece for Men’s Health, Kirk Charles also puts out an alert about a few things older men need to be aware of with the walking lunge. 

  1. First, avoid the forward tilt: As you descend to the bottom of the lunge, some might lack the core strength avoid tilting forward. Work to keep your spine as straight up as possible—slow down or shorten your steps to help with that. 
  2. Second, transfer your weight forward to the lead leg to stand up with good technique: When coming up from the bottom of the lunge, some older men don’t transfer their weight forward to the lead leg. That causes them to compensate by tilting the spine forward to get to the standing position. Many even shift their butts backward a bit so they can use the back leg to help power upward. 
  3. If you experience knee pain or have a history of lower-body issues, check with your doctor and possibly start out with other exercises to work your lower body. Moves like squats might be a better choice to start since both feet remain on the floor. Then, move to static lunges before doing walking lunges.

The extra bit that Men over 40 must consider doing:

Start with bodyweight to master the movement, then progress to loaded versions, like holding dumbbells at your side, front racking kettlebells, or even with a barbell on your shoulders. Try 3 sets of 8 steps per leg to start.

On his Instagram handle, Kirk Charles also shares a tip: “Check my latest article in @menshealthmag regarding the older crew doing the FARMER’S WALK to build total-body power and endurance. I use it to help my walking and running technique due to my flat feet.”

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about any medical matter.

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