One of the biggest mistakes people over 40 make when starting an exercise program is not realizing that exercise causes an onset of free radicals in your cells. Free radicals are unstable atoms that cause pain and joint issues, among other types of damage. People who are older tend to feel the effects of free radical damage more than young people.

It’s a mistake not to prepare your body for the free radical onslaught before you start exercising. That way, it can more easily bring your free radical load back into balance. Here are five ways to improve your performance and limit soreness.

  1. Always warm up. ​You may have been able to get away with it when you were younger, but now it’s important to prime your muscles and nervous system. Working out with tight, stiff muscles is a sure way to end up with knee and/or back pain.
  2. Be cautious not to over train.​ Your body can only handle so much. It needs recovery time. Alternate your workouts. Do upper body one day. Do core work the next. Try doing a stretching program or yoga one day a week.
  3. Get rid of the free radical mess caused by training​. You want a healthy supply of antioxidants on board when your body is at its peak of free radical imbalance. Glutathione is a very potent antioxidant that our bodies make on their own. But as we age, our glutathione-making process becomes less efficient, so we need to find another way to offset the free radicals. Glyteine, an ingredient found in ​Continual-G​ drink mix, stimulates the body to make more glutathione in the cells, where it’s needed most. Take it before working out. It reaches its peak within about two hours and stays with you for six to seven hours.
  4. Eat plenty of protein.​ Insufficient protein intake is a big problem among older adults, especially women. Without protein, you lose muscle tissue, get injured more easily and you won’t recover from exercise as quickly. Plan to consume a high-protein shake or snack within 30 minutes after finishing a workout. That’s the window when your body is hungry for nutrients and will absorb them faster. For your meals, adding some cold-water seafood such as salmon, mackerel or sardines is a good choice, because they contain omega-3s which can help with muscle recovery and decrease inflammation.
  5. Get deep, restorative rest​. This is when your body does most of its recovery work. You’ll know you’re getting enough sleep when you wake up in the morning feeling well rested and ready to go.