Remember that time when you couldn’t wait to grow up and become an adult? Now there’s no turning back. So sit back and let father time work his magic. Aging is as natural as eating pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. It’s one of life's few common denominators. Just because aging is inevitable, it doesn't mean we can’t fight back and age gracefully.
Back In The Day
Remember when you could party all night, eat whatever you desired, and do it all over the next day? You would be crazy to pull that off today. You'd need a solid week to feel close to 100%.
As we age, many things decrease: lean muscle, bone density, metabolism, skin elasticity, hair, libedo, and body fat. (Just kidding about the body fat part) Body fat is the one thing that increases.
Maintaining a healthy weight becomes a full out battle. For the first time in your life, you are conscious of every morsel that goes in your mouth. You find yourself skipping desert and restricting yourself to only a couple slices of pizza.
There was a time when all you needed was less than a month to look your best for that summer vacation. Today, you could try the same tactics and not even make a dent on the scale. What gives? Your metabolism used to run like a Corvette (fast). Today, it’s a bit more economical, think Honda Civic or maybe a Prius. It’s not nearly as fast as the high performance Corvette.
The effects of aging are gradual, you don’t notice it on a weekly base. It’s similar to how water washes over a rough stone and smoothes it out over time. Fast forward a decade and the effects are undeniable. Shoulders that once stood erect and look a bit narrow and droopy. Maybe you even shrunk an inch or two. To top it off, Your favorite pair of jeans feels kind of snug around the hips. It takes you a deep breath and a couple of wiggles and shimmies to work those pants on.
According to WebMd our lean muscle tissue begins to dwindle at some point into our 30’s. Significant muscle loss is more prevalent in the elderly (>65 years) The scientific term for this phenomenon is known as sarcopenia. A decrease in muscle mass equals a slower metabolism.
Why Should This Concern You?
A decrease in muscle mass is linked to weight gain. Muscle tissue are very needy and high maintenance. They require a lot of energy in the currency of calories to keep them alive. In other words, your body burns off a lot of calories while you’re chillaxing.
According to Valter Santilli, MD, PhD, Sarcopenia is frequently associated with poor endurance, physical inactivity, slow gait speed and decreased mobility. The elderly population are vulnerable to fall related injuries due to a lack of strength, poor mobility, or dementia. Maybe one of your loved ones or yourself has been on the receiving end of a fall related injury.
Resistance strength training is your number one option, if you’re interested in preserving muscle and maintaining strength. Simple body weight exercises such as: push-ups, squats, and planks are enough to fight off age related sarcopenia.
If you are not putting emphasis on strength training, you should start today. Individuals who meet the minimum requirement of strength training a couple of days a week have a lower risk of developing preventable diseases such as osteoporosis and diabetes.
According to data in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) adults 65 years and older who strength trained twice a week had a 46% lower mortality rate.
Once we reach a certain age, we set money aside into a retirement plan. You should look at exercise in the same light. For every hour that you train, you’re adding to the quality of life bank for when you retire. What good is money, if you don’t have your health and desire to live. We can’t stop aging but we have the power to control how we age.