We’re continuing our focus on fitness for older gay men this week by taking look at gay men’s health after 40 from an exercise perspective. We’ll be looking at several areas of fitness and how our attitude toward them needs to shift if we’re to remain healthy into our later years.
Gay Men’s Health and Lean muscle mass
Of course, you want a muscular body, one that’s aesthetically appealing. It turns out that lean muscle mass also helps your body function better. It has implications for heart health as well as blood sugar metabolism. Muscle mass also helps prevent injury something that is critical as we age. When we consider 40+ gay men’s health lean muscle mass has to be part of the equation. But, the idea is not to build bulging biceps. Creating balanced muscle over your entire body is what’s important.
The best way to gain and maintain muscle is resistance training. If you’re new to training be careful and use very light weights at first. Of course, consult your doctor before starting any training program.
Working with a trainer is also a good idea. But, make sure they are aware of the special needs of older clients. My preferred approach is High-Intensity Interval Training which helps with my cardiovascular fitness as well as maintaining muscle.
Gay Men’s Health and Cardio Vascular Fitness
Another thing we need to consider for older queer men’s health is your heart. The overall wellness of your cardiovascular system is crucial. You don’t need to run a marathon for optimal health after 40.
Walking has been shown to have the most benefit of any activity. Frequent brisk walking is not only safe, but it’s an excellent way to maintain your wellness as you get older. My maternal grandparents and my parents were always big walkers. My grandparents lived to 87 and 94. My parents at 88 and 97 are still going strong. Walking was part of the secret to that longevity. So, leave your car keys at home and take a walk to get groceries.
Gay Men’s Health and Flexibility
Aging brings aches, pains, and stiffness. You’ve been taught there’s no getting away from it. That’s not entirely true. Gentle yoga, or stretching even a few days a week is enough to make serious improvements in your flexibility over time. Of course, the younger you are the easier it will be to improve. But, once you’ve put in the initial effort flexibility is relatively easy to maintain.
Staying limber helps to prevent joint issues, and all those aches and pains you’re concerned about. . As long as you’re gentle, stretching can even help with the pain of inflammatory conditions like arthritis. So, to maintain your health as a gay man over 40, get stretching. There are lots of ways to do this at home with no equipment required.
It’s never too late
Regardless of how old you may be, it’s never too late to make changes and get healthier. Of course, consulting your doctor before embarking on a new exercise or food regime is always a good idea. Making small sustainable changes is the way to go. Adopting a healthier lifestyle is the best thing that you can do to preserve your youth inside and out.