They say getting older isn’t for sissies, but nobody escapes it completely.
We reach our peak fitness somewhere between our mid-20s and mid-30s, on average.
Afterward, we slowly begin noticing our reflexes beginning to slow down, our personal records can’t be beaten. Muscle mass begins to decline and heart-lung capacity dips. Metabolism slows too, making it harder to maintain your goal weight.
But there are many things you can do now, whatever your age, to slow down this process and remain healthy and vital throughout your life. There are three major categories of physical activity you should incorporate into your life to forestall and control your aging process.
Walking, running, cycling and other endurance exercises improve your cardiovascular function and keep your metabolism as active as possible.
You should try to get at least 30 to 60 minutes at a time for a total of 150 minutes a week, at whatever level you can tolerate. More is always better if you can handle it; the CDC says researchers have not pinpointed an actual plateau where physical activity fails to produce additional benefits, but your upper limit depends on your health and how prone to injury you are.
Maintaining muscle mass as you age is important for both men and women to prevent falls, preserve physical function and independence and maintain a healthy weight. It also protects bone strength and joint function.
Fat often replaces muscle mass and makes it more difficult to maintain healthy circulation and blood sugar as it promotes inflammation throughout the body. The best way to maintain strength is by lifting weights at least twice a week, regularly increasing your load to keep your muscles building while remaining aware of your limitations to avoid injury.
Once you’ve been exercising for a little while you can consider interval training (HIIT), which when done correctly can bring additional health benefits.
Alternating bursts of activity done with at least 90% of your total effort with longer periods of low intensity movement can raise your metabolism for several hours after the activity and decreases heart rate and blood pressure in overweight individuals.
HIIT is usually not a good idea if you have a heart condition or osteoporosis, are pregnant, immunosuppressed, ill or incontinent.