To age well is important for every one of us. You don’t want to wither away into a helpless bag of bones that is so widespread around the world.
As you get older you get told to “slow down” or “to act your age”. These typical stereotypes can be detrimental to the slowing down and physical decline of men and women in middle and old age.
But the result of this “slowing down” can be characterised by osteopenia ( weak bones) and sarcopenia ( loss of muscle) especially if the muscles, bones and tendons aren’t being trained.
The solution? strength training. Strength training can counteract, and even reverse the loss of muscle while the trainee gets older.
For example, if an older strength trainee engaged in a well-structured resistance training program for the first time ever, he would experience newbie Gains ( defined as a rapid increase in strength in new or deconditioned lifters) this would dramatically improve the lifters, strength, muscle size and quality of life.
Resistance training is quite literally the difference between living a life of independence and self-reliance or a life with poor health, struggle and a wretched existence.
To Age Well Is To Age Strong
If you engage in a resistance training program centred around the functional lifts, such as the barbell squat, deadlift, overhead press and bench press. This will ensure that you strengthen basically every muscle in your body.
You not only strengthen your body you strengthen your mind. These exercises are brutally hard especially as you get stronger.
And if you can consistently get stronger at them. You strengthen your very important ability to do things that are hard. That has carry over into all areas of your life.
” He Who Takes Medicine And Neglects To Diet Wastes The Skill Of His Doctors” – Chinese Proverb
I know that I’ve just spoken about the benefits of strength training, but strength training in conjunction with keeping an eye on your nutrition will lead to the best results.
Especially if you’ve been in a positive energy balance for too long.
Which essentially means a calorie surplus. or eating more calories than you burn.
This leads to excess fat storage.
And if you don’t do any resistance training, you lose muscle and that paired with eating in a positive energy balance means that you get fatter and lose muscle, resulting in a fatter, less muscular version of yourself.
If this is your current predicament you can dramatically improve your health by getting to an appropriate body fat percentage (10-20% for males and 20-30% for females)
And engaging In a strength training routine 2-4 days per week.
Now That I’ve Spoke About Some General Guidance Lets Get Into The 5 Practical Tips So That You Can Age Well
This may all seem like common sense. But common sense isn’t all that common.
I guarantee that if you follow these tips you’ll age well.
1. Focus On Getting/ Staying Strong So That You Can Age Well
This is arguably the most important thing that you need to focus on, especially as you get older.
This is because everybody is exercising. For instance, going on bike rides, skiing, hiking etc. While this is certainly better than nothing. It’s not training. And it’s not functional as opposed to training.
Strength training would have you focusing on pushing, pulling, and squatting heavy loads. This has tremendous carry over in normal life outside of the gym.
A heavy overhead press is going to help you carry your grandkids. Whereas a long brisk walk will help your heart rate increase, and burn a few extra calories. This is definitely a healthy thing to do. But the benefits are far less than what you’d get from resistance training.
If there’s only one type of training that you can commit to, let it be strength training.
Let cardio be a negotiable and strength training be a non-negotiable.
If you can prioritise strength training and stay strong for the rest of your life. You can battle the dreaded atrophy of ageing and you can live better into your final years.
2. Focus On Getting To Roughly 10-20% Body Fat For Males And 20-30% Body Fat For Females
Depending on where you currently are in your fitness journey. Getting to a healthy body fat percentage and staying strong will give you the biggest bang for your buck. This will help you keep your youth into old age.
Generally speaking, when you go above these body fat recommendations your body starts to not work as well.
Your body becomes more resistant to insulin and you predispose yourself to, obesity, hypertension, hyperglycemia and other undesirable consequences.
So getting strong while also getting to a healthy body fat percentage. Will increase the likelihood of you having better insulin sensitivity, being fitter, more functional and healthier.
If you think you’re at the higher end of a healthy body fat range. Click the article below to learn how you can lose fat and keep it off.
3. Eat A Mostly Anti- Inflammatory Diet So That You Can Age Well
By eating most of your calories consisting of a mixture of fruits and vegetables coming from many different colours. Foods such as broccoli, red, yellow, and green peppers, cabbage, kale and spinach. And reducing the consumption of highly processed foods and refined sugars in your diet.
You’ll be setting yourself up for a healthier diet which will make your workouts, recovery and health better.
Get Atleast 0.7 Grams Of Protein Per Pound Of Body Weight ( Especially If you Lift Weights)
Protein plays a vital role in building muscle, ligaments, tendons and organs. It also plays an important role in building enzymes, hormones and chemicals in your brain.
Adequate protein also helps your skin stay healthy. This is because collagen and elastin are the primary components of your skin. To keep your skin healthy it’s mandatory that you eat this much protein.
But the fact is most people don’t eat enough protein.
This is why you need to make a high protein intake a non-negotiable in your diet.
4. Reduce Stress So That You Can Age Well
You may have different circumstances to me, but we can all find reasons to get stressed.
Stress is actually a natural part of being human.
It’s how you react to stress that matters.
If you constantly get stressed but have no way to mitigate it. You’re bound to be miserable.
Here are a few ways that you can reduce stress.
- Get enough sleep (7-9 hours)
- Unplug (digital detox for a day)
- Go out in nature
- Avoid situations or people that don’t make you feel good.
If you find that a situation always puts you in a bad mood or causes you unwarranted stress. Remove yourself from that situation. This could be by cutting out toxic people, getting rid of a bad habit, or avoiding a place that always stresses you out. For example, if alcohol is at the route cause of most of your problems, the pub is probably the last place you should be.
Deep breathing can also put you in a relaxed state. Everyones different. But try to be aware of certain things that make you feel more relaxed. This will counteract the stress that you experience.
Try to fill at least some of your day with these activities to help you reduce stress and battle the uncertainties of life.
5. Having A Spiritual, Religious Or Philosophical Practice
A spirtual, religious, or philosophical practice can help you maintain continuity throughout your life, be a support system and provide you with guiding principles and paradigms to live by.
These sorts of practices can also teach you important virtues like acceptance, self-control, kindness and other important attributes that benefit you and everyone else.
The results of this study below state:
“Our findings indicate that spirituality is a key factor of support, an important resource in late life, and contains an aspect of continuity over the life course for participants. Additionally, spirituality serves as a critical component in the everyday lives of the participants, while providing a framework for helping older adults make sense of having lived a very long life.”
So Why Is It So Rare To See Someone Older In Good Shape?
The simple answer is that as humans we’re always looking for shortcuts and the easiest way. And in essence, ageing well is harder than not ageing well. You’ll have to pay close attention to your training program, nutrition, recovery and sleep and not only pay attention but push yourself regularly in your training.
Most people get to a certain age and think they should “slow down and just maintain a good level of fitness” whatever the hell that means.
I’d describe keeping a good level of fitness as being vigorous, strong, resilient etc but I get the feeling that the common definition doesn’t meet this standard ( You just need to look around and you’ll see that this is self-evident).
Training Is Uncommon
Most people aren’t tracking their numbers down in the gym or even following a structured plan, and that’s why they’re not making any progress.
But Why Would I Strength Train Im not an Athelete?
In essence, we’re all athletes and every day we’re decaying and fighting the inevitable decline that leads to death. But you have the choice. To speed up the decline and lessen your quality of life. Or slow the decline and ensure that the years to come are not only to be longer lived but to be better lived. Because you’ve taken reasonable steps to facilitate it. For instance strength training.
You’re Not An Athlete, You’re A Warrior Fighting Against Physiological Atrophy Ultimately Atrophy Will Win But You Can Sure As Hell Put Up A Good Fight
Lifting weights isn’t just about aesthetics and muscles. It’s about surpassing your previous self, and becoming a better healthier version of yourself in and outside the gym.
You’re Never To Old To Improve Your Health And Thus Improve Your Life
There will always be excuses to not do something. But generally speaking the more we don’t want to do something the more we should do it.
This especially applies to things that are hard, that if done will benefit you and others around you.
For example staying healthy, strong and fit is hard. And you may not always feel like tracking your calories or hitting the gym.
But the key is to do it anyway because if done, you’ll improve your own health and life and spur your friends and family on to follow suit too.
Which produces a ripple effect of a stronger healthier society.
The Bottom Line
- If you merely engage in a resistance training program consistently, eat a healthy diet individualised to you and get to a healthy body fat percentage. You would have done the most important things to become a healthier, stronger you.
- You’re never too old to work on your health. In fact the older you are the more important it is that you take action to stay fit, strong and healthy so that you can maintain your youth.
- Contrary to popular belief you don’t need to ‘slow down” as you age. It’s of vital importance that you continue to train and stay active.
Thanks for reading 🙂
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And if you have any questions, email them to me I’d love to help.