In my mind I haven’t reached middle age yet…I’m 46 and figure I have a good 60 years left (and maybe another few not so good years after that.) I am planning on living a long life! I hope my kids don’t mind… 😉
So, even though I haven’t reached middle age yet, I do feel like I have been around the health block a few times. If I haven’t experienced it, chances are I’ve seen it amongst all the people I get the pleasure of interacting with on a daily basis.
I’ve spent hours at the track, in a gym, in a kitchen, on and off a scale… I’ve coached hundreds of people, many well into their golden years. I thought today I would share some of the insights I’ve gathered over the years.
If you want to be fit and healthy and happy for years to come then you may want to read ahead. These are the things I know to be true.
Gain As Much Muscle As You Can When You Can
Muscle mass is like our bank accounts before retirement. You need to build it up as much as you can while you are still young enough to do it. Then, make withdrawals as infrequently as you can.
If you want to age well, you need to build up your muscle mass bank account while you can. Then, you need to work hard to maintain as much of it as you can by lifting weights regularly. Your body is your vehicle and you need to build it up and keep it as robust as possible for as long as possible. It is what gives you freedom in life.
The more muscle you have the more you are going to be able to resist that force that slows us down and keeps us grounded, gravity.
It’s this grounding that makes us feel old.
Pull More Than You Push
I don’t have to tell you that poor posture and aching backs are an epidemic in our world today. Look around you, the average persons shoulders are rolled forward and their arms are internally rotated (the palms of their hands face behind them, rather than towards their hips).
Heading to the gym and doing a bunch of pushups and bench press without doubling your focus on your back will only make the problem worse.
To maintain good posture and healthy shoulders and to reduce tension in your neck and shoulders you should train your back twice as much as you train your back. If you have a desk job or already have a problem you may want to make that a 3:1 ratio.
Focus on Compound Movements First
Compound, multijoint movements are the best way to build total body, functional strength and athleticism. Exercises like lunges, squats, pushups and pullups are great examples. Once you have done those, then you can move to single joint exercises like bicep curls, tricep extensions to ‘finish them off’.
These movements keep you agile and strong in all the right ways.
Never Stop Moving
I get that we all live busy lives. I get that sometimes we have aches and pains that make us not want to move but the fact is, a body in motion wants to stay in motion and a body at rest wants to stay at rest.
Keep moving if you want to keep moving as you get older. Sometimes you need to move quickly and in ways that test your agility and balance. It’s a use it or lose it kinda situation.
Exercise for Life, Not for Looks
Search within your soul what you want to do. What are your life goals? What do you want to do for fun? Do you want to play a sport? Do you want to play with your grandchildren? Do you want to look good in your clothes?
Whatever your goal is train towards that and your motivation will become intrinsic.
You have to Change Your Thinking if you want to Change Your Results
Einstein had it right when he said insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different outcome.
If you aren’t happy with the state of your health, your fitness, your weight, your relationships etc you need to find a different approach. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can help you see what you can’t see yourself.
Find Your Tribe
There is plenty of research out there showing how detrimental loneliness is to our health, and the opposite, the physiological benefits of training in a group setting.
Training with people who have the same goals or values as you creates accountability which promotes consistency.
Simply put, when someone is counting on you to show up you are more likely to stick with your training routine.
And best of all, in the right setting, with the right group, even if the workout is tortuous you can draw of the energy of others and actually have a little fun while you’re doing it. Life is short, you may as well as much enjoy as much of it as you can!
If you need help with any of these, give us a call! Our professional coaches are ready and waiting to help you get the results you need to so you can live the life you so deserve!