Age is nothing but a number.
That is a great inspirational quote, but it is also very accurate. Fitness does not have to stop as we age. All it has to do is adapt.
The bottom line is that our bodies do change as we age. Sarcopenia, age-related muscle loss, happens to everyone. After the age of 30 you begin to lose as much as 3-5% of muscle mass per decade. Sarcopenia does not have a definitive path, it can speed up as early as 65 or as late as 80. Although it is seen more in those who are inactive it also can occur in those who remain active.
That being said, muscle loss, and an overall loss of fitness does not have to signal the end of independence. A person can remain physically fit at any age. It is just a matter of adapting your routine to where you are in life.
For example, someone in their 20’s might look at running a sub-20 minute 5K, or bench pressing 300 lbs as goals in their fitness journey. Those same goals are likely not feasible for someone in their 70’s. One thing that both ages (and all adults) have in common is that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you get 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise weekly.
Rounds of High-Intensity Interval Training, or heavy lifting sessions, for people in their 20’s and 30’s can be replaced by lighter muscle endurance workouts, yoga, walking, and more for people in their 60’s and 70’s. It is less about how one exercises and more about the fact that one simply keeps moving.
Dr. Mike has a theory and it centers around something he calls ‘playspan.’ We have a lifespan, a healthspan, and a playspan. The longer we stay active, the longer our playspan is. The longer our playspan is the longer our healthspan is. The longer our healthspan is the longer our lifespan should be.
Exercise at any age can be fun. It does not have to be something to dread. Find what you enjoy. Find what makes you feel good. The routine that you perform in your 20’s can make your 40’s easier. If you’ve fallen out of fitness returning at any age can make your future years easier.
If you’re looking to return to fitness, continue your journey, or simply looking for a few words of advice give us a call, send us an email, or stop by the office and gym!
by Christopher Setterlund