3 Worst Exercises for People Over 40


Exercise never stops being important, whether you are a tiny baby developing neck muscles or a centenarian.

The problem is that as you age, bones, tendons, muscles and ligaments get injured more easily and don’t recover as quickly. Add on a lifetime of collected injuries and exercise becomes more important and more challenging.

So what exercises should you avoid after you reach your 40th birthday? Read on to discover the eight worst exercises you can do after age 40.

1. Intense Cardio

Yea! No more cardio! Ummm, no. Missed the word “intense”. Those long hours of exercising at the top of your level, pushing, pushing.

The demands of intense cardio can breakdown muscles that then don’t heal as quickly; decrease gains; increase cortisol production that leads to fat deposits; and builds up dangerous free radicals.

Instead go for high intensity intervals training (HIIT). Go shorter, go harder, and rest in between sets. You’ll see more fat burning and exercise that all-important muscle, your heart.


Crunches and sit-ups can cause injuries to your spine and neck. You can end up with back pain or exacerbate an already injured back.

Crunches are not particularly effective at getting rid of belly fat, despite the infomercials selling you easy sit-up solutions. They do work great on trim, fat-free bellies!

Instead, do planks (properly) and workout your core without crunching your back bones and muscles. You need to strengthen core muscles to protect your back. Planks are great for this.


The last thing your aging back and knees need are squats. They are great for your glutes and legs, but your 40 year old back will pay.

Aging knees are pretty fussy about excessive bending, especially when weight bearing. Save your knees and try to avoid knee replacements by avoiding squats.

Squats build hip muscles and make you look heavier. Add a normal tendency to deposit fat on middle aged hips and squats may add to the appearance of fat.

Leg Extensions

The leg extension machine is inherently bad, so all people should avoid them. Knees aren’t designed to fully extend while moving weights. The angle is abnormal and that adds to the wear and tear on your knees.

Adding weights just increases the chance of damaging knees. Young athletes who use these machines often find themselves developing chronic knee pain as they age.

Knees age badly, so avoid this machine and encourage your young workout companions to avoid it as well.