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Functional Aging: A Comprehensive Guide to Staying Fit and Independent After 40

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

by Emma Mattison – NASM, CPT, CNC, and Functional Aging Specialist

Ageless Fitness and Health: Inspiring Image of a Vibrant Older Individual Embracing a Fit and Healthy Lifestyle

Introduction: Unraveling the Concept of Functional Aging

Aging - it's an inevitable process. But how we age, especially regarding our physical capabilities, is within our control. As a certified personal trainer, nutrition coach, and functional aging specialist, I've dedicated my career to helping individuals like you navigate this process and maintain your fitness and independence as you age. This journey starts with understanding the concept of functional aging.

Understanding Functional Aging

Functional aging refers to maintaining independence and easily performing day-to-day activities as we age. Essentially, it's about preserving our quality of life (Stenholm, Westerlund, Head, Hyde, Kawachi, Pentti…& Vahtera, 2015).

The Three Pillars of Functional Aging

Three key factors significantly influence our functional aging:

  • Exercise: A progressive exercise routine focused on one to two primary areas of deficit, including strength, balance, and flexibility exercises, is vital to preserving physical function (Paterson & Warburton, 2010). These deficits can be focused on for "blocks" of training, after which the target adaptation may be modified according to an individual's training progress.

  • Nutrition: Proper nutrition supports overall health and energy levels, aiding in maintaining independence (Houston, Nicklas, & Zizza, 2009).

  • Cognitive Health: Mental exercises, social interaction, and stress management techniques can all contribute to maintaining cognitive function and independence (Karp, Paillard, Neuhaus, & Guralnik, 2006).

Practical Strategies for Functional Aging

Adopting practical strategies can support your journey to functional aging. Here are some actionable steps you can take:

  • Exercise: Opt for a mix of aerobic, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises.

  • Nutrition: Focus on nutrient-dense foods, stay hydrated, and consider consulting a nutrition coach to optimize your diet.

  • Cognitive Health: Engage in mental exercises such as puzzles, reading, or learning a new skill. Don’t forget to include relaxation techniques into your routine to manage stress.

A Personal Journey to Functional Aging: Conclusion

My mission as your personal trainer and functional aging specialist is to guide you on your unique journey toward optimal aging. With the right knowledge, commitment, and a touch of guidance, staying fit and independent after 40 is more than attainable—it’s expected.

Are you interested in taking the first step on your functional aging journey? I'm offering a free 15-minute consultation call to help you get started. Sign up today, and let's take the first step toward your healthiest, most vibrant self!

Book Your Free 15-Minute Phone Consultation with Emma Mattison!

If you're ready to take your fitness to the next level, schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with me, Emma Mattison. During this consultation, we can discuss your fitness goals, assess your current fitness level, and create a personalized plan to help you improve your fitness and functional health.

Image of Emma Mattison, a highly qualified online personal trainer, functional aging specialist, certified trainer and nutrition coach through NASM and FAI, and a skilled Tai Chi and Dance instructor.

But that's not all! As a special offer, I'm providing a free functional fitness course to jumpstart your journey. This course will introduce you to various exercises and training techniques to enhance your overall functional fitness and complement your aerobic base training.

Invest in yourself today and experience the transformative power of improving your aerobic base. Take the first step by scheduling your free consultation and claiming your free functional fitness course. Let's work together to achieve your fitness goals and unlock your full potential!

An older woman joyfully participating in an online fitness class from her living room. She is in mid-movement, following the instructions on her tablet screen, and her face is lit up with enthusiasm and determination, embodying the spirit of joyful movement and active aging.

Please note: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice. Consult with your healthcare provider or a certified fitness professional before starting any new exercise program.

Schedule your FREE 15-Minute Phone Consultation and claim your FREE Functional Fitness Course with Emma Mattison! Click here to book now!

You can also email me at


About the Author

Image of Emma Mattison, a highly qualified online personal trainer, functional aging specialist, certified trainer and nutrition coach through NASM and FAI, and a skilled Tai Chi and Dance instructor.

Hi! I'm Emma Mattison. I'm a NASM certified personal trainer, nutrition coach, stretch & flexibility coach, pranayama breathwork guide, holistic nerd, and lover of birds & music! I specialize in functional fitness for older adults, and those with conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Scientific literature is fun to me, and my goal is to make it understandable and fun for you!

I am driven to share knowledge I find fascinating & transformative with my clients, and the world. Everyone has the power to take their health into their own hands!

My love for fitness and true discovery of health started with helping my best friend – who I can now call my husband! Today, I couldn't do any of this as smoothly and enjoyably as I do now without him! Check out our YouTube, MyZeniverse! He literally edits and films everything. He's editing the next YouTube video next to me right now, as we speak! Check it out, and give it a like if it's helpful! 😊😊


Houston, D. K., Nicklas, B. J., & Zizza, C. A. (2009). Weighty Concerns: The Growing Prevalence of Obesity among Older Adults. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(11), 1886-1895. DOI:10.1016/j.jada.2009.08.014

Karp, A., Paillard-Borg, S., Neuhaus, J. M., & Guralnik, J. M. (2006). Mental, physical and social components in leisure activities equally contribute to decrease dementia risk. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 21(2), 65-73. DOI:10.1159/000089919

Paterson, D. H., & Warburton, D. E. (2010). Physical activity and functional limitations in older adults: a systematic review related to Canada's Physical Activity Guidelines. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 7(38). DOI:10.1186/1479-5868-7-38

Stenholm, S., Westerlund, H., Head, J., Hyde, M., Kawachi, I., Pentti, J…Vahtera, J. (2015). Comorbidity and functional trajectories from midlife to old age: the Health and Retirement Study. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biomedical Sciences and Medical Sciences, 70(3), 332-338. DOI:10.1093/gerona/glu113

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