As we age, our fitness and wellbeing priorities change. While in our 20s and 30s the focus is often on being the fastest, strongest or, sadly, the thinnest we can be, as we reach our 40s and 50s, other considerations come to the fore.
Whether it’s juggling work with a busy family life, feeling a little slower, achier and more tired, and noticing that it takes longer to recover from illness and minor injury, it’s usually in our 40s that our priority shifts. We move from a focus on aesthetics to longevity, to feel strong and resilient, fit and healthy for the longer term – and recognise the importance of taking care of oneself as we age.
With over 16 years’ experience running transformational fitness holidays in nature-rich environments, Wildfitness has trained guests in their 20s through to their 80s, and of all fitness levels. However, they are seeing a growing number of clients over 40 who are drawn to Wildfitness due to its emphasis on exercising in nature. This is known to have profound benefits for body and mind, and helps to reprogramme unhealthy habits and undo the damage caused by sedentary living.
The Wildfitness coaches have these top four tips, particularly relevant for over 40s, to incorporate into their daily routine:
1) Living: ‘me time’ every day
Make time for yourself without technology, partner or family. It is too easy to get caught up in life and work and neglect yourself. Be selfish and have some time to yourself EVERY DAY.
Benefits: Lowered stress levels, better digestion and improved immune system to name a few. How: This can include a wide variety of activities such as taking the dog for a walk, going to a yoga class, cooking, gardening and reading. The important part is to make the effort to make the time!
2) Food: Unprocess your diet
If your great grandparents wouldn’t recognise the ingredients of something, don’t eat it.
Benefits: Reduced inflammation, improved digestion and decreased risk of illnesses such as diabetes and obesity.
How: As a general rule shop, don’t buy anything with more than five ingredients in it or that contains any ingredients that you can’t pronounce.
3) Movement: strength training
The words ‘strength training’ fill people with fear. There is a misconception that strength training means going to the gym and throwing a tonne of weight about. But it can be far simpler, cheaper and less daunting, not to mention hugely beneficial.
Benefits: Physically inactive people over the age of 30 lose between 3%-5% of their muscle mass every decade. Over the age of 50 muscle power decreases even more quickly. Any activity, even walking, can be anti ageing but strength training in particular can help to prevent this loss of muscle mass.
How: Bodyweight exercises such as press ups, lunges (of all varieties), squats and crawling patterns all count as strength training. So do activities such as yoga, climbing and ballet.
4) Rest: Improve your sleep
Nowadays people go to bed and watch a movie, check emails or scroll Facebook and count all this as part of preparing to sleep. Focus on the quality of sleep instead.
Benefits: Improved cognitive function and creativity, decreased risk of obesity, diabetes, stress and inflammation
How: Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock. Leave it outside your room so you aren’t tempted to scroll at night (or put it on airplane mode). Use night mode on any technology past dusk, which eliminates blue light. Have a screen-free hour before bed and read a book, talk to your partner, stretch or listen to music instead. Finally, make your room as dark as possible
This spring Wildfitness is launching brand new retreats in Menorca, which offer the perfect platform to improve fitness, whatever your age. Taking place in the south of the island, the new fitness breaks will run for four consecutive weeks from 7 April. They will then start again in September and October.
Based at Binigaus Nou, a 18th century restored villa with private pool, guests can immerse themselves in the health-boosting, eco-system of Menorca and work out amidst wild orchids, fig and citrus trees in the 300 acres of fields and forests surrounding the private estate.
The retreats are inclusive of accommodation, fresh and healthy meals using locally sourced, organic produce, as well as 2-4 daily group sessions, games and workshops on wild moving, living and eating. Also included are massages, immersive cultural experiences, cooking workshops, expert tuition, airport transfers and plenty of down time. Prices for the weeklong retreats start from £1,232pp based on two sharing. (www.wildfitness.com/menorca.html)
Wildfitness has over 16 years experience running fitness holidays in nature-rich environments. In addition to Menorca, Wildfitness will continue to run retreats in its other popular destinations of Costa Rica, Crete, Zanzibar and – also new for 2018 – 42 Acres in Somerset.