The hardest part of getting older is accepting the body changes that Mother Nature dishes out to you in your forties, fifties, sixties and beyond. A midlife crisis is absolutely nothing compared to the crisis that faces you every single day as you work your way through this most challenging period in your life.
Loss of hair, graying hair, crow’s feet and age spots are depressing but nothing compared to changes like sluggish metabolism, weight gain and loss of muscle mass. As you age, you lose muscle mass. As you lose muscle mass your metabolism slows and as metabolism slows you gain weight. How is that for a never-ending cycle?
It is now necessary to exercise religiously to keep the ravages of time at bay. The older you get, the more time it seems to take to maintain the status quo. Studies show that the natural progression of aging is accelerated by disuse. If you stop exercising your muscles your heart rate increases and the body starts acting “old.” If you stimulate your muscles by exercising they will respond, but if you don’t, the body starts to shut down.
Keeping fit is the key to maintaining physical independence as you age. Your fitness program may have to be modified but there is no reason that you can’t remain reasonably active and enjoy the benefits. A rule of thumb is doing some aerobic work for 20-60 minutes three times a week and strength training twice a week for a similar amount of time.
The metabolic rate decreases by 2% for each decade after age 30 (doesn’t look too good for us 60 something’s does it?). Most people after the age of forty feel pain and wear and tear on their joints. The key is to start looking (even at this youngish age) for some non-weight bearing workouts and of course it is time to decrease the amount that we eat. Injuries happen. Seek professional help and heed their advice. The real key is to prevent the injury from happening in the first place. This sounds like a great plan but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. It is difficult because we are not ready to admit that there are some things that we just can’t do any more and we push ourselves until it hurts.
People are living longer than every before and because of modern technology we have been handed an additional 10, 20 or more years of life. In order to have the strength to enjoy this gift you must take care of your body by exercising, eating properly and getting enough sleep. Refocus your fitness plan and work hard to maintain a healthy, productive and independent lifestyle. It may be a little more time consuming but we are talking quality of life here.