“While your body will change, that doesn’t have to make you less capable.” A great article by GMB explains simple strategies to counteract the effects of aging related decline in fitness while showcasing some evidence-based research on the claims that exercisers can maintain fitness for longer than non-exercisers:
1. Don’t Stop Moving the Way You Want to When You’re 70
There are countless examples of masters-level weightlifters, gymnasts, runners, martial artists, and other athletes that have prolonged competitive careers.
What is it that distinguishes these lifelong athletes? What keeps them going when many others are content watching old footage of themselves while digging into the next bag of chips?
These lifelong athletes simply never stopped.
Though your absolute level of strength will decrease as you get older, and you’ll likely not be hitting personal bests when you are 70, your relative strength as compared to your peers who don’t exercise will be quite high.
And at a certain point, even maintaining a level of strength will put you head and shoulders above everyone else.
The important thing, though, is to think about how you want to be moving 20, 30, 40 years from now. Start moving that way now if you haven’t gotten started, and just keep at it. That’s what will ensure your success much further down the line.
Having a passion and joy for moving your body, and training and working hard because the very act means something to you – these are all part of the recipe for lifelong fitness.
So find something you enjoy, something you want to do for as long as possible, and there’s a good chance you’ll still be going many years from now.
2. Cycle Your Training Focus
This idea is applicable throughout your training lifetime, and perhaps even more so for the older trainee. The concept of a focused approach performed for periods of time that cycle over and over is a tried and true productive approach in all areas of physical training.
Periodization is simply the planned cycling of your training to improve specific goals.
Rather than attempting to do everything at once in your workouts and spinning your wheels, a targeted plan of attack for a short period of time is much better for continued progress.
It’s also much easier on the body than banging away at the same workouts, with the same intensity.
Even for youngsters, that would be a quick trip to a dead end. Patient, directed, consistent effort will always win out over frenzied, unfocused, and transient exertion.
3. Tackle Your Weaknesses Now
As we covered above, you can expect your strength, flexibility, and motor control to be lower at 80 than at 30, but the degree to which they decrease will depend on your activities.
Take a hard, critical look at your current levels of strength, flexibility, and motor control.
Though we can always improve, there are often glaring deficiencies that we tend to gloss over and think “oh, I’ll work on it later.” Well, later needs to be now if you want to get anywhere.
A systematic approach to tackling your weaknesses doesn’t mean neglecting everything else.
The easiest tactic is to prioritize that lagging area by moving it to the beginning of your routine. After your warm-up, your energy level is higher and you are more likely to get it done than you would by tacking it on to the end of your workout. Work on it first with good concentration and then move on to your other training.
Taking the time to bring up your deficits leads to bigger and better improvements later on, and for the rest of your training life. Have the discipline to start on it now and you’ll reap the benefits for years.
Find Role Models That Keep You Motivated
A lot of our ideas about age and health come from our own experiences with our own families and the media.
If those don’t offer much inspiration, seek better role models.
Stay Young at Any Age
Being “young” isn’t just about your age. It’s about what you can do, and the confidence you have in your body.
Too often, people succumb to an all-or-nothing approach to training after a certain age. They think it’s “too late” to start, or things are only bound to go downhill at a certain point so it’s futile.
It’s a shame that so many people view it that way, as there is so much value to be gained from a more realistic approach.
Yes, your body will change as you get older. But there’s so much you can do to ensure you’re starting from a good point, and that you can maintain as much of your strength, flexibility, and motor control for as long as possible.
One of the best things you can do to avoid losing your strength, flexibility, and motor control in the rapid fashion many people do, is to build them up now, giving yourself a strong foundation.
The full article can be read here: https://gmb.io/badass-for-life/