This One Decision Could Decide Whether You Achieve Healthy Aging
What happens to our bodies, emotions and memory in our 50s and 60s? They take us by surprise.
Our bodies start to sag; we find ourselves yelling at our kids for no reason at all and we can’t seem to remember anything! All of this seems to happen overnight. There are even more wrinkles on our face that weren’t there the night before!
After 11 years of coaching women on improving their health, I find there is one decision most women make around the age of 50 – whether they know it or not.
One group embraces life by being proactive with their health. They ride the upward curve of feeling great which allows them to have lots of energy to play with grandchildren and do all the things they used to do.
Others buy into the belief that it’s all downhill from there and that’s just how life happens. They believe that the 10, 20, 40-pound weight gain will never come off. They believe that to get rid of the pain in their knees they need to take a pill. They are resigned to the fact that they can’t exercise because they don’t have enough energy and it probably wouldn’t help anyway.
Factors That Affect Our Health
There are many factors that affect our health in a positive or negative way. They include diet, nutrition, exercise, pollution, prescription drugs, stress – this is a big one! – alcohol and many more.
In this piece, I would like to focus on exercise and answer some of the questions I get asked all the time on this topic. For example, “What kind of exercise should I be doing?” and “How long should I exercise?” and “Does the type of exercise depend on my age?”
You don’t have to be a gym rat to benefit from exercise. If you are just starting out, begin with 15 minutes per day and work your way up to 60 minutes per day. If you have been consistently exercising, I would suggest you start with the amount of time that you are used to and increase from there.
Many people believe that cardio is the way to go. Others believe that lifting weights is really a must. They are both right! You do need both, but in different percentages depending on what age you are. When you are younger and up to age 25, your workout should be 70% cardio and 30% muscle building or weight lifting. Things change as we get older.
What Happens to Muscles as We Get Older?
At around 40, your workout should include 50% cardio and 50% muscle building. After age 25, we start to lose muscle mass. Post-menopausal women have a natural decline in estrogen, which in turn increases visceral fat mass, and decreases bone mass density, muscle mass, and strength.
Low physical activity and low protein intakes are the two contributors to sarcopenia and osteoporosis and the loss of strength in postmenopausal women. On the other hand, exercise and supplement intake has the potential to slow down and even stop the loss of muscle mass.
So, after the age of 50, your workout should consist of 60% muscle building and 40% cardio. Once you reach your 60s, you should be doing weight-bearing exercises such are brisk walking, golf, dancing, yoga, etc. that will increase your muscle mass. Not only does exercise improve your bone health, it also increases muscle strength, coordination, and balance, leading to better overall health.
Some Healthy Aging Exercise Tips
Here are a few tips that I follow when it comes to exercise:
First, never let more than 2 days go by without exercising! Second, practice interval training – just 15 minutes per day, three times per week. It is super-efficient and the ideal workout for a busy schedule. Third, alternate your cardio and muscle building days. Always take one day off a week to let your muscles recover.
Finally, do what you love! If you don’t like running, then don’t run. Pick something that you love doing. You will be more consistent.
Stress and Exercise
I mentioned above that stress can be a big factor in determining our health. I find that most people who feel unwell have been neglecting self-care. So, on our day off, taking a little time out to care for ourselves makes us better at everything we do. Free from our careers and our relationships we see our personal problems in a different light.
One of my favorite pastimes is soaking away the stress of the day in a detoxifying Epsom salt bath. Get the recipe here and enjoy!
Which life are you designing? What are you doing to achieve healthy aging? Have you already made your decision? Are you happy with it? Remember, it’s never too late to take back your health! Please share how you have changed your exercise routines over the years.