Forty for forty: Top health and fitness tips I’ve learned in my first four decades

The 1800s French writer Victor Hugo once penned, “Forty is the old age of youth. Fifty is the youth of old age.” Well, consider me one old kid, and one young senior as of Dec. 17. Boy, that went so fast I really didn’t see it coming until just recently. This month, I turned 40.
Birthdays have never freaked me out like some people and this one is no different. I prefer another great philosopher’s take on age over Hugo: “Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter,” Cleveland Indians’ hall-of-fame pitcher Satchel Paige once remarked.
While I’m not feeling any different today than I did in my 30s, it is certainly a time to pause and reflect. As a blogger for AtHomeFitness.com, I decided to stop and think what I’ve learned about health and fitness over these years. I’ve decided to share the top 40 things I’ve learned about health and fitness in these first 40 years.
Hopefully, I can impart a little bit of wisdom on a few younger readers. Maybe people my age will relate to what we’ve been through. And older folks can tell me I still have a lot to learn, which is true:
40. Wear the proper fitness attire
39. Update your old running shoes
38. Good music can really pump up a workout
37. Find a workout partner
36. Do exercises you like
35. Switch workout machines to keep it fresh
34. Add variety to your workout to keep it fresh and cross train your muscles
33. Incorporate as many compound exercises into your routine as possible – lifts such as squats, clean and presses, push-ups ad bench presses.
32. Keep a workout log
31. Take a before photo
30. Set goals
29. Don’t be a workoutaholic – you can actually work out too much. Give yourself a brief vacation from fitness on occasion
28. Do research before buying fitness equipment and shop with a reputable dealer
27. Buy the best fitness equipment you can afford. It will last longer, work better and you’re more likely to use it.
26. Wait at least 30-45 minutes to work out after eating
25. Find ways to reduce your stress
24. Reward yourself every now and then for a job well done
23. Warm up properly, then stretch before and after exercise
22. Use sun screen
21. Never stop challenging yourself
20. Take time to stay up to date on the latest equipment
19. Get adequate sleep
18. Get a physical and take the doctors’ screening tests; Know your body – don’t ignore changes
17. Work out with the intensity
16. Laugh often
15. Take the proper supplements
14. Eat fewer calories and more protein
13. Cut out soda pop in your diet, cut down on sugar
12. Eat more smaller meals
11. Use correct technique when performing exercises
10. Wear a seatbelt
9. Stay consistent with your exercise program
8. Limit alcohol consumption
7. Stay hydrated
6. Think positively
5. Make fitness part of your family’s lifestyle
4. Don’t start smoking!
3. If you do smoke, stop!
2. Cherish every day
1. Have faith in a higher power, it will take you a long way

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com

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