Table of Contents
- 1. Why is it important to stay fit and strong as you age
- 2. Ways to improve with age
1. Why is it Important to Stay Fit and Strong as You Age
Wrinkles and sagging skin aren't your only problems as you age. The question is how to stay healthy as you grow older? That doesn’t mean trying to looklike you’re in your 20s again — it's about living a healthy lifestly that positively affects your physical and emotional wellness.
Aging means you have to work harder on improving your strength and coordination. Aging means you decline in terms of physical performance and your balance. This decline can cause to become weaker and unfit as you grow older. To cope with the adverse effects of aging, it is vital to adopt ways to stay strong and fit.
1.1. Effect of Strength Changes on Your Body While Aging
When you reach over 40 years old, you will start to see a decrease in stamina and agility. All these problems are associated with the loss of muscle mass. After passing the age of 40, most individuals face 1-2% loss of muscle mass per year. When muscle loss happens, your muscle fiber becomes shortened which can result in improper organ functions, damaged skin, weaker immunity, and slower metabolism. Maintaining healthy muscles and slowing down muscle loss is crucial if you wish to maintain adequate strength and energy for doing daily physical tasks.
1.2. Effect of Coordination Changes on Your Body While Aging
Your coordination changes as you age due to it being associated with your nervous system. When you age, the white matter in the brain becomes damaged due to decreased blood flow to the brain. Hence, white matter lesions are formed. These lesions cause problems to the memory, balance, and mobility of older people. An unhealthy Western diet and lack of physical activity in old people accelerates the problem.
2. Ways to Improve With Age
The following are ways that can help you improve your strength and coordination, ensuring you stay fit and strong as you grow older.
Most people believe that as you get older, you should reduce the frequency of exercises because you might fall or become weaker due to the intense exertion. But to improve your strength and coordination, it is vital to exercise regularly. Older people require more exercise as it helps them to deal with hormonal changes, slower metabolism, and the loss of muscle mass and bone density. If you exercise regularly, your stamina, bone mass, and balance should improve, reducing the risk of weakness and falling.
Why Exercising is Important as You Age?
According to Tom Lenneta, a senior athletic trainer who specialized in strength conditioning, exercising more often helps you deal with your body’s decline as you age but you should remember to adjust your routine to avoid injuries.
Exercising regularly can help lower your risk of contracting diseases like coronary illness and cancer, and ensure you have good mobility for as long as possible. Also, exercising regularly lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation, improves mental health, and reduces mood swings.
Safe Exercises as You Age
Usually after you turn 40, your muscles and tendons become weaker and tighter. Suddenly, exposing them to intensive exercises can cause tears which can lead to musclular injuries. Doing safer, less-intensive exercises will help to prevent injuries and muscle pain.
Start slow until you body is used to your intended workload, then gradually increase the difficulty of the exercises until you achieve your goal. You should consult a doctor or a certified fitness trainer for advice on exercises that are safe for you, especially if you suffer from chronic and coronary health problems. The following are exercises that you can safely pursue:
- Using Machines Like Elliptical or Stationary Bikes
- Moderate Intensity Strength Training: Weight Lifts, Squats, Pushups, or Stretchy Resistance Band
Steps to Take Before Exercising to Reduce Injuries
To lower the risk of injury, you should warm up at least 5-10 minutes before doing any intense exercises. The motivation behind warming up is to prevent injuries and diminish stress on your body.
Warming up mentally prepares you for heavy exertion and raises your body temperature. After your body temperature increases, you can do physical activities without straining your muscles and your heart will be able to better take the strain. Because of muscle elasticity, this will also lower the risk of muscle strains.
In addition to strength exercises, adding stretch exercises and weighlifting machines will help improve your balance and agility. Moreover, these kinds of exercises will help prevent injuries.
Find Your Actual Work Groove
According to Tom Lennetta, finding exercises suited to your current level of fitness is crucial. You should check your body’s condition first to make sure you are not suffering from any muscle or joint pain. Stop exercising if you feel unusual pain or cannot take the strain of the exercises. You can resume your workout after you recover.
2.2. Balanced Healthy Diet
Eating a balanced and healthy diet is an important factor to staying fit in your old age. With age, a lower metabolism slows down your digestive system. Adding large portions of fruits, vegetables, and green herbs to your diet along with whole grains, nuts, seafood, lean meat, seeds, dairy, healthy fats, and starchy food is necessary to compensate for muscle loss and improve digestion.
As you grow older, blood pressure amongst the elderly becomes high which increases the risks of heart attacks and strokes, which is why you should avoid high salt and sodium intake in your diet. A balanced amount of sodium is necessary to ensure the functionality of your internal organs, but a high amount of sodium can speed up the aging process and damage your internal organs.
Your nutritional needs will change with age, as there is a high risk of nutrient deficiencies amongst older people. For instance, over 50% less production of HCl in the stomach results in decreased absorption of essential nutrients like vitamins, iron, and calcium. Moreover, muscle and bone loss will require you to consume more calcium and vitamins with age. Loss of appetite in older people makes it more challenging for elderly people to cope with their nutrient deficiency.
Nutrient deficiency is easier to handle if you are eating a balanced diet but certain diet restrictions amongst older people or vegans require an extra supply of nutrients via supplements to make up for any deficiencies. These dietary supplements can come in the form of medicine, a drink, or a powder. You must consult with your doctor before trying a new supplement and always buy a quality supplement from a reputable brand.
Protein intake is vital for muscle building. Without protein, it is challenging for your body to appropriately work. Proteins produce catalysts, chemicals, synapses, and antibodies, in addition to performing muscle fix and development. That is why it is essential for older people to add protein to their diet.
Almost 25-30 grams of protein must be added to your meal everyday if you want to prevent severe muscle loss. Proteins can be found in lean meats, eggs, legumes, and low-fat dairy.
Adequate water intake is vital for reducing the adverse effects of aging. Proper hydration keeps the skin healthy, improves brain activity, and enhances energy levels in older people. Talk to your doctor about adequate proportions of water intake if you are feeling dehydrated.
Avoid Smoking, Alcohol, and Processed Food
If you want a healthy lifestyle in your old age, then you should quit or restrict your smoking habits and alcohol consumption. Tobacco smoke contains toxic substances that can trigger premature skin aging.
High alcohol consumption in older people results in a lack of body coordination. Lack of balance may lead to sudden falls which can lead to hip and arm fractures.
Processed foods are rich in sodium which is why they should be avoided to avoid speeding up the aging process. Moreover unhealthy fats and refined sugars should also be avoided as they can raise diabetes and cholesterol levels in older people.
2.3. Regular Checkup
As you grow older, several issues arise that affect your health. All these issues can be due to a poor diet and cardiovascular health. You must regularly visit a doctor for a complete checkup at least once a month to make sure there are have been no drastic changes in your health. Your healthcare provider will suggest the medication and wokrout plan to improve your nutrition and manage illness-related muscle loss. Following the advice of your healthcare professionals will help you achieve a fit and healthy lifestyle.
2.4. Mental Wellbeing
The impacts of poor mental health on your body can range from premature aging to a higher risk of coronary illness. A healthy mental state is necessary to avoid premature aging. There are various ways to reduce mental stress, including meditation, breathing activities, yoga, workouts, getting enough rest, and conversing with a close friend.
Aging can increase due to higher levels of stress. You will find it easier to deal with everyday stress if you build connections with your loved ones. Spending time with your friends and family will improve your mental well-being. A strong social network will result in lowered stress and blood pressure. You don't feel lonely and your overall health is improved.
Social activities and empathy are other ways to relieve stress. Taking care of others can give you a sense of purpose and mindfulness. When you feel happy by helping others, then less stress hormones will be produced like cortisol and more healthy brain chemicals are produced like endorphins that have a therapeutic effect on your mind. Having empathy and a sense of purpose in your life will also help alleviate any premature aging.
Find New Hobbies to Get Physically and Mentally Active
When you engage in new hobbies, you become more physically and mentally active. There is less risk of contracting chronic illnesses if you are more physically active. Walking, hiking, cycling, or even traveling with loved ones can keep you mentally and physically active. BJJ is a suitable sport for elderly people to stay fit and strong.
Lots of older people embrace the aging process because they simply lack self-motivation. Self-motivation is vital for lifetime fitness. If you lack self-motivation, you will not do such a good job taking care of yourself. You should tell yourself why you need a healthy lifestyle and how it will be beneficial for you. Once you accept that you are aging, the trick is to keep a positive attitude. To motivate yourself and ensure better self-care, you should prioritize your time to improve your mental well-being, do exercises, and change your eating habits to ensure the long-term benefits of healthy living.
2.6. Maintain Good Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential to reduce the adverse effects of aging. It is scientifically proven that good sleep improves your physical and mental health. It also improves skin health. At least 7-8 hours of sleep is required to preent premature aging. Many older people have difficulty sleeping due to chronic disorders and stress. You can ask your doctor for any antidepressants to soothe your mind so you can get enough sleep.
2.7. Oral Health
Aging can lead to nutrient deficiencies such as not getting enough calcium and vitamins. Our teeth require these nutrients for good dental health. Poor oral care further aggravates the aging problem in your gums. To avoid these problems, older people should brush their teeth twice a day followed by regular flossing and mouth rinse. Moreover, they should try to visit a dentist for advice on proper dental care.
2.8. Skin Maintenance
The biggest signs of aging are sagging skin and wrinkles. Skin is the largest organ in your body and if it is not treated with care, then it will show visible signs of aging. Sagging or wrinkling skin sometimes causes loss of confidence in older people which can adversely affect the consistency of their workouts.
Treat your skin with care. Wear sunblock and avoid exposing your unprotectedskin to the sun. Maintain an anti-aging skincare routine by using gentle and high-quality products. Drink plenty of water. Also, it is recommneded you do a yearly screening to see if there are signs of skin cancer.
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