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You're tired of your growing gut and various aches and pains, and you have made the decision that it's time to get into shape. Whether you used to work out or not, getting fit now can help you look and feel better. To help you stay motivated, you need to develop realistic fitness goals. When you were in your 20s and 30s your fitness goals may have included getting six-pack abs, but now that you're older your fitness goals may be more about health than physique.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you're carrying around excess weight, getting to and maintaining a healthy weight should be a priority. Nearly three in four men are overweight or obese, according to the Weight-control Information Network. Carrying excess body weight increases your risk of a number of health conditions, including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer. If you're overweight or obese, losing 10 percent of your current weight significantly reduces your risk of developing a chronic illness.
If you don't work out, as you get older your body starts to lose muscle and gain fat, and by the age of 65 you can lose up to 40 percent of your muscle mass, according to Dr. Richard DiCenso. Working out to build muscle not only gives you a lean, toned look, but also helps reduce aches and pains, improve strength and stamina and increase metabolism. Strength training and aerobic exercise both help build muscle.
Improve Heart Health
Heart disease is a serious health issue, responsible for more than 17 million deaths each year worldwide, according to the American Council on Exercise. By the time you're 40, you may already have heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Getting fit not only helps improve your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but also helps your heart and lungs work more efficiently, delivering nutrients and oxygen throughout your body.
Eat A Healthier Diet
When you're trying to improve your fitness level, diet is just as important as exercise. Men have a harder time making changes to their eating habits because they often perceive healthy foods as "diet" foods, according to dietitian Juliette Kellow. To make the transition to a better diet a little easier, start with small changes such as adding a salad to your lunch and dinner meal or trading in your white bread for whole wheat. A healthy diet for men in their 40s should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, legumes and lots of water.