TUESDAY TIP – HOW IS OUR FITNESS AFFECTED BY AGEING?
- METABOLISM SLOWS DOWN — As your metabolic rate drops you become more predisposed to storing excess energy. Body fat levels will increase if you don’t get the balance of training and healthy eating right.
- MOBILITY DECREASES — During our working life, we spend far too much time hunched over a computer, which starts to reduce flexibility and mobility across our major joints.
- BONE/JOINT STRENGTH DECREASES – You have a reduced ability to absorb compressive forces on your joints as you age.
- MUSCLE MASS DECLINES – In your 50s, muscle loss tends to speed up and can be as much as a 10% loss every decade since.
WHY DO OUR FITNESS LEVELS DROP AS WE AGE?
Ultimately, there are two big reasons your physical performance drops as you age.
The first you can compensate for, the second you can stop or even reverse.
1. Your maximal heart rate goes down
No training will bring back your original, maximum heart rate due to a decline in the ability of adrenaline receptors, which prevents them from communicating effectively with the timing cells that dictate how fast the heart is going.
However, exercise can certainly alter the amount of work that you can do at a given heart rate.
2. You’ll see a decline in muscle mass and function
Although it’s a natural by-product of ageing, the development of muscle loss can be slowed and even reversed with exercise.
It’s easy to blame a decline in fitness on getting older, but some of it is simply us neglecting to do the right kind of exercise.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO FIGHT BACK?
Sports science is showing that exercise can slow down, and in many respects, reverse the physiological effects of ageing on your body. Reduced muscle mass and function, bone and joint strength and mobility can all be delayed with the right exercise.
The type of training you do plays a significant role in how you age.
But did you know that resistance training also plays a part in slowing down age-related loss in muscle mass?
Sarcopenia, the decline in muscle mass and function, starts to take effect when people reach their 50s and 60s. By your 70s it can become severe enough to hinder muscle function.
Aerobic exercise has its benefits, but it’s not enough to keep sarcopenia at bay without the addition of resistance training.
In short, resistance training with a variety of loads moving in different directions not only works to prevent muscle loss but improves overall strength and mobility as you get older.
Even when the focus is just to boost muscle, these kinds of exercises are the most effective. As we get older, training your overall movement is more important than simply building muscle.
Having greater functional strength and mobility is more crucial than just isolated strength.
This also minimizes your risk of injury during everyday life – something that becomes increasingly important as we get older.