Stretching can prevent a decline in metabolic rate
It’s an inescapable fact – we’re all getting older.
Although you can’t stop the march of the years, it is possible to slow down the effects of aging – enabling you to enjoy life more and for longer.
As you age three things happen:
- Loss of lean muscle mass
- Increased difficulty to lose weight
- Loss of bone strength
Let’s take a look at why each of these changes take place – and how we can use diet and exercise to slow the aging process and delay its effects.
Loss of muscle mass
Between the ages of 25 and 65, people lose about five pounds of lean muscle mass each decade, with this process accelerating after the age of 60.
Our muscles lose their ability to respond to growth as we age. This can lead to insulin resistance – a contributing factor in obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.
But don’t worry – correct nutrition can help prevent this.
Switch from processed to unprocessed carbs – ditch the white bread and white rice, opt for the whole grains. You’ll stabilise your blood sugar and avoid insulin resistance.
Make sure you consume two to three portions of oily fish (i.e. mackerel, fresh water salmon) or grains and nuts (such as peanuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed) a week. This will keep cells healthy and ensure the required nutrients get where they need to go.
Omega 3 also regulates hormone production. Algae is an effective alternative to fish for vegetarians and vegans.
Colourful fruit and vegetables
Think bright and deep colours when it comes to fruit and veg and make sure you’re having five to seven portions a day. In addition to the antioxidant qualities of berries and apples, multi-coloured vegetables carry a range of different nutrients.
Increased difficult to lose weight
After the age of 25, with each passing decade individuals experience a 2-4% decline in their Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). This is the calorie requirement to perform your body’s daily functions.
This means that as you age it becomes more difficult to lose weight.
Preventing a decline in RMR
Starting an exercise regime now will help you retain muscle mass as you get older. Developing a regular habit of exercise (this can include walking, swimming, yoga, or other activities involving your whole body), you’ll maintain muscle mass and improve joint health.
Loss of bone strength
A natural consequence of ageing is that our hormone production decreases. The onset of menopause (for women), which includes the decrease in oestrogen production, starts at an average age of 51. The male decline in testosterone production (andropause) begins after 30, decreasing at a rate of 1% per year.
An important side effect of this decrease in hormonal output is increased risk of osteoporosis, or a loss of bone strength.
Preventing loss of bone strength
Supervised weight bearing and resistance training using exercises that load the bone along the length will help prevent osteoporosis.
Choose exercises that use more than one joint, or involve complex movements. A squatting motion is more effective at loading than a leg extension, because more joints are utilised.
With these exercises you’ll help decrease bone loss as you age, as well as increase your metabolism – helping control weight as well as retain muscle mass.
Getting old is just part of life and it’s nothing to be afraid of, especially if you’ve been taking care of yourself along the way. A healthy diet and a regular exercise routine can keep you healthy right up until the curtains close.