As we age, our body changes. There are things we can change and improve, and there are things that life deals us. Men deal with muscle loss through the dreaded “low T” and women deal with menopausal changes. These are not insurmountable obstacles. We just need to learn to deal with the changes and adapt accordingly. A regular exercise routine is essential to maintaining good health as we age.
Muscles become more rigid with age and tend to lose tone, even with regular exercise. An example is what I call my “bat wings”. No matter how much I work my triceps, I still have the jiggly arm syndrome. The same is true for that belly fat. As we age, muscles take longer to respond to brain signals, so they slow down. The muscles also can’t repair themselves as quickly as they used to, so it takes longer to recover between workouts. In addition, tendons tend to lose water content which makes tissues stiffer and less tolerable to stress. The heart muscle becomes less able to propel large quantities of blood quickly through your body. As a result, you tire more quickly and take longer to recover. Ahhh, aging is fun!
All of this is no reason to stop exercising-quite the opposite. We just need to adjust how we exercise, and realize that we can’t do what we could do in our 20s and 30s. The mindset is just as important as the physical workout we do. We shouldn’t give up, we should just adjust. If we push too hard and try to replicate our youth, we will get discouraged (and probably injured). If we back off and start slow, it is amazing the progress we can make. It takes discipline and determination, but it’s worth it.
Once I made the change in my mindset to one of health, rather than “looking good”, I have been much more focused on my exercise. I now work out to fight off the effects of aging. I want to live a healthy life for much longer. I don’t want to be incapacitated when I am older because I gave up on exercise today. It is freeing to be able to know that I am doing something good for my future. So focus on you and your health, and find fun in what you are doing. Protect your future by exercising smartly as you age.