Are you an active person? Maybe you walk your dog every day or play tennis a few times a week. You’re already miles ahead of most Americans if this is you, but here are some benefits to following a workout program even if your active.
1. Every year after age 30, it is typical for an individual to lose 3-5% muscle mass every decade. That is the bad news, but the good news is that you can do something about it with a little will and hard work. Muscle is important for bone health. Because the muscles in our bodies attach to our bones, building muscle increases the strength of the bones which helps prevent health issues like osteoporosis. For aging men, testosterone levels drop about 1% every year after age 40. Regular strength training gives a boost of testosterone which can help with not only libido, but also bone strength, muscle mass, and cardiovascular function.
2. Not only does our muscle mass decrease as we age, so does our metabolism. The cheeseburgers and pizza we ate in college don’t metabolize like they used to thus making it challenging to lose weight. The great news is that exercise changes our metabolism, but it requires work and a plan. What worked five years ago might not work now. If at one point you lost 10 pounds by walking the dog and you haven’t been able lose anymore, you’ve likely reached homeostasis—your new normal. Our bodies always fight to reach homeostasis so we must keep changing it up in order increase or even maintain the same metabolic level.
3. Exercise is great for your brain. Not only does exercise generate those feel good endorphins we all love, it also improves memory and thinking. Studies have shown that individuals who participate in regular exercise have larger volume in their prefrontal cortex; the part of the brain that is associated with thinking and memory.
4. Exercise for balance! Because muscle mass decreases as we age, balance becomes more difficult. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injury for older Americans, making this a very important topic of discussion. Developing a fitness plan that can increase proprioception—the body’s ability to sense and be aware of its environment, is crucial as we age. Keeping muscles strong and agile assists the body in balance and awareness.
5. Movement is a gift! Who doesn’t want to be able to run around playing with your kids and your grandkids? It’s about enjoying life and even though our bodies age, the kid at heart needs to be able to come out and play every now and then.
Find ways to exercise that keep you motivated. Find a workout partner, take a class, or hire a personal trainer to help you on your fitness goals.
Here is a 20 minute workout to get you started that you can do at home or in a gym with minimal equipment. . . .