For many, the idea of aging doesn’t really hit home until the big 40. It’s when you start to take stock and evaluate past choices, in the hopes of planning better for the coming years. Often it is when it dawns on you that you aregetting older and you should pay more attention to your health.
First and foremost, it is imperative to note that there is no fixed age for aging or for someone being viewed as “old”. After all, we start aging the day we are born. Age is largely a thing of the mind although our lifestyle choices heavily affect when age-related changes start to set in. Setting fitness goals as the clock ticks could help you slow down the hands of time. And the good thing is that it’s never too late to start living right. Even if you’ve never been a fan of exercise or physical activity, any age is a good time to start. Here are some useful tips to help you successfully reach your fitness goals as you age.
The most important thing is making the decision that you want to be physically active. Old age is already a risk factor for many types of disease and often exacerbated by a sedentary lifestyle. Admittedly, your exercise and workout sessions may not be as strenuous as it would be for someone younger however, you should not take things too ‘easy’. If you want to stay healthy as you age, you’ll need to tailor your workouts to fit your goals. Walking is a great activity but building muscle strength should also be a priority.
Stiffening of the arterial walls is a major risk factor for stroke, myocardial infarction, and some other cardiovascular diseases. Studies have shown that arterial stiffening starts to occur as we grow older. The exact cause of this stiffening is unknown, but it has been shown that this stiffening is delayed in ‘flexible people’.
To test the hypothesis, 500 healthy Japanese adults were subjected to the ‘sit and reach’ test. The test involves touching your toes while ‘sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.’ The result confirmed that the flexibility score of the middle-aged participants correlates with their risk of arterial stiffening. The more flexible participants had healthier arteries and vice versa.
Yoga and foam rolling are, perhaps, the most common exercises that could help you enhance flexibility. You should consider adopting at least one of them if you’re not into any yet. Aside from the direct correlation of flexibility with arterial health, flexibility generally increases your capacity for physical exercises. If you do nothing to stem the natural loss of flexibility as you age, you’ll be increasing your risk of injuries, making regular exercising even more difficult.
Loss of muscle mass and bone density is one of the most common effects of aging. If you want to stay fit, you need to do something about it. Strength training via weight lifting is the easiest way to maintain muscle mass and bone density. Furthermore, strength training exercises could help reduce the risk of falls and relieve joint pain. As long as you tailor it to suit your needs and strength, you’ll benefit greatly from strength training.
In addition to strength training, you should also engage in exercises that work your core. The simplest of such exercises is planking. Planking regularly has been shown to improve muscle strength as well as flexibility.
Giving yourself time to recover is not limited to exercising alone. When you go about your regular activities, it is important to get enough rest before the next day. There would always be tasks ahead, but your body would not always remain the same if you do not manage it properly.
Staying fit at 40 and beyond is possible as long as you do it right. It is important to note that exercising is only one of the things that can make you achieve your wellness goals. Your diet and general lifestyle play a major role in maintaining your health. Exercise, eat right, live right, and there is no limit to the life you can add to your years.