What effect will aging have on my fitness? 19/12/2010

Thank you for your question Margaret from Sale! It’s a question I’ve heard many times and appears to be a common concern, especially for those of you who have changed your lifestyles and are enjoying all the benefits of keeping fit and healthy. Aging is inevitable but it doesn’t have to be debilitating! As I always say, don’t stress about the things you can’t control! You can’t control getting older but what you can control is the choice to take this positive, healthy attitude and way of life into your years of greater wisdom!

It’s as much to do with culture and lack of education that we hold onto this idea that we can get too old to keep fit. It’s true that age does have many physiological effects on us but chronological age does not necessarily have to reflect physiological age! You truly are as old as you feel and a great way of feeling amazing  is exercising! And whilst exercise training won’t prevent the process of aging, it will increase your functional capability in the three main areas of fitness; Cardiovascular, muscular strength and flexibility.

It’s too easy to use age as another barrier or excuse. The most common diseases that affect us as we age are heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and obesity; all diseases where a healthy active lifestyle can act as intervention.

So why give up considering the physical and health benefits, let alone positive effects on neuron and capillary development in the brain. It really is true; a healthy body is a healthy mind!

So what would I recommend, as the number of candles of your very healthy birthday cake increase as the years roll on? Keep it going! If you look after your body, it will look after you in the long run.

And for those only just looking to start their healthy lifestyle journey, it’s never too late to get busy living. As with any exercise programme, start off with low intensity and build up, sticking to low impact whilst you increase compliance, in order to avoid musculoskeletal complications. There are so many activities to try, from a bit of walking or if that’s not possible swimming or stationary cycling. Just make sure it’s fun! A great way to do that is to make it something social, which in itself has benefits!

I hope this goes some way to answering your question Margaret! Keep them coming in and they may help many more! See below for a list of how aging without an exercise programme can effect you physiologically.

  • Yearly cardiovascular decline of between 6-10 beats per minute of maximum heart rate.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Weakening of respiratory system and ability to regulate oxygen transport and circulation.
  • Loss of skeletal muscle mass.
  • Regulation of blood glucose and body temperature.
  • Adverse effect on voluntary strength.
  • Lower protein synthesis.
  • Decline of metabolic rate with changes in endocrine function.
  • Increased deposition of non-essential fat internally.
  • Body composition.
  • Loss of bone and mineral content.

Luckily for us all, a healthy, active lifestyle and diet will help intervene and delay the onset of such effects on our body, combining cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training for best results!