Gone are the days of that spring in our step. Gone are the days of no soreness after a hard workout. And gone are the days of firm, toned muscles.
It’s a sad reality, but if you’re between the ages of 30 and 55, then you know it’s time for a reality check. But it’s definitely not time to throw in the towel. Though what once was firm muscle tissue is starting to show a little slack, and a weekend of fun makes us much stiffer come Monday morning, we don’t have to succumb to our body’s normal aging process.
No, I don’t have ambrosia from the gods, and I have not located the fountain of youth. What I do have are tried and true steps to slow aging and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle into our senior years. Bringing sexy back, however you define it, has never been so important.
Even though our bodies are reminding us we’re not twentysomething, it doesn’t mean we have to stop putting on our favorite dance shoes and tangoing our way into our senior years.
The bare bones
Once we hit our 30s, our bone mass slowly starts to decrease, and in our 40s and 50s, permanent bone loss is occurring.
Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, weight-lifting, dancing, jogging, and tennis signal our bones to make more bone and to make it stronger. Stronger bones enable us to avoid osteoporosis, which can be simply put — avoiding fractures from falls as we age.
Genetics aside, an active lifestyle and a healthy body weight are two things that also can help prevent arthritis, which can cause painful swelling of the joints.
Though toned muscles are undoubtedly sexy, keep in mind that they also burn more calories, which helps keep us trim. Consider a weight-lifting program using lighter weights and more repetitions to build muscle without looking like a body builder. Stronger muscles, ligaments, and tendons are more flexible and help your body absorb stress to fend off injuries.
Long-term regular exercises may slow the loss of muscle mass and prevent age-associated increases in weight. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) claims that an exercise program doesn’t have to be strenuous to be effective.
If you’re starting a new exercise regimen, consult your doctor first. Take things slowly. Begin and end with gentle stretching and be alert to your body’s signals that you’re over doing it. You may experience a few aches and pains initially but these should subside in a reasonable time frame. If the pain is sudden, severe, or doesn’t stop after a few days of rest, talk to your doctor.
Fad diets that put muscle mass at risk
Inactivity and unhealthy weight that
put joints and bones at risk
The pack mule syndrome: hauling heavy purses, groceries, and children all at once
Skipping calcium-rich foods or supplements.
Stretching. Instead try warming up by taking a brisk walk or doing another light activity before starting your more strenuous exercise.
Ignoring the body’s signals to slow down, stop, or get medical attention