If you’d asked me a few years ago what age I’d choose to be if I could go back, I’d have probably picked 30. Old enough, and strong enough to have my whole life ahead of me, a nd a great body. Now I pity the 30-years olds. Life was so much harder at that age, stumbling my way through life, trying to be a parent and a business woman, while still trying to strap on a social life, and pretend to have it all when inside, you’re actually exhausted and bewildered.
So, what exactly is so good about being 50? For one, we have wisdom and life experience on our side, established career and grown-up kids but above all, we can do things that we couldn’t when you’ re 30 – take care of your body, physical fitness and finally to enjoy life to it’s ample potential.
The effects of the aging process can greatly dismiss the mechanical, metabolic, hormonal, and nearly systems that help our muscles control movements. However, regular exercise and physical activity, especially of moderate to high intensity, can help ensure that these systems function at an optimal level of performance as we get older. ( Taylor & Johnson 2008).
Being active is the true fountain of youth. Being fit means being healthy and having the ability to perform physical tasks, not having a particular appearance or shape. The true sense of being fit is having energy and ability to enjoy your favourite activities throughout your entire lifespan. Following a specific work out plan can make dramatic changes to your body, but for the best results, exercise has to become a habit, one that you practice for the rest of your life, like brushing your teeth or putting on some clothes before leaving the house.
If you have repeatedly gone through phases of starting and stopping work out programs, this can seem overwhelming or even insurmountable. Have you ever considered that maybe it’s time to change your focus? Instead of using exercise as a means of losing weight for some popular culture definition of what body should look like, why not focus on using exercise as a means to improve your health and enhance your quality of life? Forget about appearance; the real goal of exercise program should be to develop strength to do any activity you’re interested in. Improving fitness can give you the physical ability to do what you want when you want to do it.
Said another way, being fit gives you the freedom to do your favourite activities as well as the ability to learn how to do new activities so that you can harness your life in its fullest capacity.
What’s Age Got to Do with It?
Researchers at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Aging and Chronic Decease concluded that after the age of 40, our muscle begin to waste away at a rate of 5-10% per decade (more steeply in men as they have a greater amount of muscle to begin with) and, by age 80, most people typically have about 40% less muscle mass than they did in their prime.
In contrast, “Women’s metabolic rates drop significantly in the 40s, by almost a quarter. That’s almost a meal a day”, says Nanette F. Santoro, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, who specializes in aging. “They have to decrease their intake and increase their output”.
But when we are inactive for even short periods of time, that deterioration spirals – we lose a pound of muscle mass a year after the age of 35.
“I can tell you the single biggest factor in preventing lifelong weight gain,” Santoro say, “Lifelong activity”.
But aging does offer some positives. As women go through menopause, their estrogen level drop: “That means testosterone becomes a more prominent hormone, which can leave the door open to get into even better shape” says Dr. Santoro. “There are so many women that are into their nutritional health and diet and trying to hold back those aging years. Many reach a certain point and they think, “I am too old now, so I give up, but that’s not an acceptable way of thinking”.
Therefore, the best means to build muscle mass, no matter your age, is progressive resistance training (PRT). With PRT, you gradually amp up your workout volume – weight, repetitions, and sets – as your strength and endurance improves. (Harvard Health Publishing, 2016). Working out four times a week for 45 minutes is enough to avoid the signs of aging, like tummy fat, flabby arms and a flat rear. Generally, it’s about just being active – it is not all about going to the gym for a workout.
I also strongly believe the power of exercise – for body, mind, stamina, self- confidence, and health. I could go on and on. The physical benefits of exercise are just the cherry on top. Here’s an important tips and takeaways:
- Speed up your metabolism. A pound of muscle burns roughly 6-10 calories each day compared to a pound of fat, which burns only a fraction of that amount at about two calories per day. The energy used during physical activity is the only energy expenditures that you have any control over, so incorporating 30 minutes of physical activity into your daily routine is key.
- Less exercise is more. As you age, less exercise will serve you better in the long run, though you will need to up the pace and intensity. Mobil exercise programs perfectly suitable during periods of high stress or a busy schedule when you want workouts that help you feel invigorated and more energetic as opposed to fatigued and crushed.
- Working the muscle stimulates the fast- twitch muscle fibres which use fatty acids as fuel. So, if your goal is to lose weight, you should focus on building muscle as a means to lose fat. Additionally, lean muscle can also help control blood sugar, important for weight maintenance and long-term disease prevention
- Go ahead, skip breakfast. Women over the age of 35, who try it say it makes a difference in their weight, and they tend to eat healthier throughout the day. Breaking is not nutritionally “better” than brunch, so don’t feel guilty if you’re not peckish enough to chow down at certain time of the day. ( Bee & Schenker, 2016)
- Feel full longer. To stay satiated, eat protein at every meal. While you shouldn’t ban carbs from your diet, build only one meal a day around them, and make sure they’re from whole grains.
- Don’t fuel (or refuel) your workouts. The idea that it’s necessary to eat before a workout is a misconception, and a “cottage industry” of energy bars and sugary sports drinks has been build around it. Eating well will suffice for the level of exercise you’re doing- 45 minutes a day, four times a week
- Do not eat vegan. Going vegan can mean eating fatty, calories- dense food. Nutritionist Dr. Beller once took a vegan lunch back to her lab. The portobello tempeh burger and kale salad with peanut sauce checked in at 1,150 calories.
- No juice cleanses. Almost every wellness expert and nutritionist said that a juice cleanse for more than a day for most people is probably one of the worst things you can do for yourself. Dr. Bozkurt from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston contends that everybody needs to be assessed as individuals. However, she added, “Anytime you are just doing liquid, just juices, it is starvation, and people are shutting down their metabolism – and they are lucky if they get it back”. Dr. Bozkurt called juicing for any length of time “pure ridiculousness”, a quick way to rob yourself of fibre and nutrients.
- And finally, the common question women ask me “And you’re sure I won’t beef up?” Exercise will affect the body shape of people differently, depending on their body type, diet and lifestyle. Getting a body builders’ physique requires a strict regimen with hours in the gym. Women’s hormones naturally limit the amount of muscle it’s possible to gain, so women who are adding some weight to their weekly work out routine shouldn’t worry about turning into “Arnold” unless that’s their desired goal.
In conclusion, “getting older is a blessing and not everyone gets to do it. It’s not a given. It’s a privilege”(Diaz). I think people should be more concerned about the healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, healthy diet and cherish those special moments when no impossible becomes possible.