Nobody looks forward to turning the dreaded 4-0. There are lots of changes that occur in our body as we age. For example, resting metabolic rate drops about 2% per decade. This leads to a decreased need for calories to maintain your weight. This translates to approximately 100 fewer calories needed per day. When you don’t cut those calories through diet, or burn them with exercise, it leads to creeping obesity. Other things to keep in mind as you age is the change in fat distribution throughout the body. Fat becomes more visceral (surrounding your organs) and less subcutaneous leaving you more prone to heart disease. To add insult to injury, the number of fat cells in women actually increases during menopause due to a surge of hormones. Keep in mind as we age postural changes also may occur. The shoulders may become more rounded and the chin can drop forward. Combine this with a loss in bone density that occurs at an alarming rate of 1% per year starting at the age of 35, and progresses up to 3-5% for women during the first 5 years after menopause. Some other considerations as we age include a decreased aerobic capacity of 10% per decade, and degeneration of all body tissues. If you are still reading and haven’t given up because you are thoroughly depressed, keep this in mind; a lot of these issues can be prolonged or even prevented with a healthy lifestyle. Follow these 7 steps to ensure you age gracefully.
- Include strength training (especially rowing exercises to ensure posture)
- Incorporate aerobic & anaerobic exercises
- Do postural training
- Incorporate balance training
- Work on improving/maintaining flexibility
- Do mind body relaxation training and manage stress
- Be sure to have proper nutrition