If you’re a guy who’s heading for the BIG 4-0, you know that it’s more important than ever to keep your heart healthy. It is estimated that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in older men, claiming upwards of 325,000 deaths each year. Not only should you keep your heart healthy so you don’t die early, but also because heart health is directly linked to the health of your erections. Your overall health impacts the health of your sex life, so keeping your heart beating strong is something to focus on now and moving forward.
But our bodies change as we age, and there are some exercises that men over 40 should avoid. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of ways you can give your heart an excellent aerobic workout.
Stair climbing is one of the absolute best cardio workouts you can do. Plus, it really strengthens your entire lower body, protects you from high blood pressure, and improves your bone density. Now, if you live in a town or city that has a lot of stairs (Pittsburgh comes to mind) you can simply find a nice long set and walk up and down them for 20 minutes, starting gently and increasing your pace and effort with each up-climb. Use the last 3 minutes to slow your pace and cool down.
If you don’t have a lot of steps in your area, or you live in a part of the country that experiences cold snowy weather, then a treadmill will get the job done. Your workout may look something like this:
- Begin with a 5-minute warm up on 0% incline.
- 2-3 minutes at 5-7 MPH on a 2% incline
- 2-3 minutes at 7-9 MPH on a 2% incline
- 2 minutes at 5-7 MPH on a 6% incline
- 30 second at 5-7 MPH on a 2% incline
- 30 second sprint on a 2% incline
You may repeat this set 2 – 3 times.
A Morning Swim
Swimming is, hands down, one of the absolute best cardio workouts on the planet because it really works your heart and lungs together. And, according to Harvard Medical School, this combination “trains the body to use oxygen more efficiently, which is generally reflected in declines in the resting heart rate and breathing rate.” Swimming is great for people over 40 because it is gentle on joints and bones. Plus, it works out every muscle in your body at the same time.
A great workout is swimming 4 consecutive laps, then using a kickboard (no, they’re not just for kids) for one minute. A kickboard really works your core muscles. Repeat this, and now work your arms and legs even harder on this set. Repeat again, pushing even harder. Repeat 2 more times slowing and cooling down as you go.
Cycling is one of the best cardio workouts for men over 40. The cool thing about cycling is, it’s a pure cardio exercise in that your effectiveness as a rider, as well as your endurance, is entirely decided by your heart’s ability to get blood flowing throughout your body.
If you decide to put some miles on your bike, or if you are thinking of buying a new one, you should definitely go to your local bike shop and get properly fitted. While cycling is great for your joints, if your bike is not properly aligned for your body, you can throw your body out of whack, defeating the point of the workout.
If you ensure you are working out at least 3 times per week, focusing on these 3 cardio exercises, you will help your heart be healthy, no matter your age.
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