1. First measure your waist.
It should be no bigger than half your height, according to research by City University London. If it’s within this healthy limit you should live to the average life expectancy. If not, for every extra few centimetres, you face losing months or even years of life.
2. Cut down on alcohol.
It is calorie-loaded and contributes to the development of “moobs” or man boobs, says fitness expert Matt Roberts. “If you don’t want to cut it out, at least cut right down.”
Try sprinting flat-out for 60 seconds twice a week on an indoor bike. Findings by Abertay University in Dundee suggest that older men lost 1kg of fat in two months by doing this.
4. Motivate yourself with this fact.
McMaster University in Ontario found men who did an average of three 45-minute workouts a week looked younger. Exercisers in their 40s had skin biopsies and the results were those expected in men half their age. The effects persisted; men aged 65 had thicker dermis layers of the skin — that is, they were less haggard.
5. Take the stairs.
Climbing 55 flights a week can cut the risk of dying early by 15 per cent and lower your cholesterol within weeks. Just taking two flights a day can help shift nearly 3kg in a year.
6. Resistance isn’t futile.
Muscle mass peaks at about the age of 25. After that an average of a tenth of a kilo of muscle a year is lost in a process called sarcopenia. Beyond the age of 50 the losses adopt an almost parasitic speediness, bleeding the body of up to half a kilo of muscle a year. Resistance training is by far the most effective means of arresting this fall.
7. Make the weights heavy.
“The trend for a lot of repetitions with ultralight weights is not effective for building lean muscle tissue or getting a toned look,” says Joe Wicks, a trainer known as the Body Coach. “Progressively heavier weight training acts as a catalyst for muscle growth. Aim for a weight that allows you to perform 10 repetitions, then gradually increase that as you get stronger.”
8. Warm up.
The dry heat of a sauna can be beneficial for the middle-aged male’s heart, according to the University of Eastern Finland. The study showed that a weekly sauna could cut the risk of a heart attack for middle-aged men by up to 63 per cent.
9. Time yourself over a mile.
Provided your knees are up to it, how fast you can run a mile (1.6km) can help to predict the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke decades later. According to the University of Texas, a 55-year-old man who needs 15 minutes to run a mile has a 30 per cent risk of developing heart disease. But a 55-year-old who runs a mile in eight has a lifetime risk of less than 10 per cent.
10. Do push-ups.
It is considered the ultimate barometer of fitness, especially in middle age. “It works the whole body, engaging muscle groups in the arms, chest, abdomen, hips and legs,” says John Brewer, professor of applied sport science at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Push-ups can provide the strength to reach out and break a fall, preventing fracture.