“Am I too old to make a change in my body and my habits?” This is one of the reoccurring questions we get from potential clients looking to start a training and nutrition program.
We live in a world where youthfulness is the answer to gaining a competitive advantage over others and the key to happiness. Being healthy is much more than just losing a few pounds. While it is true that with age it is a harder struggle to get and stay in shape, have you ever considered that your daily activities and lifestyle is different in your 40s and 50s vs when you were in your 20s? Many clients tell us that life in their early 20s was great: They had time to work out every day, there weren’t constant work pressures and deadlines, and they didn’t have the responsibility of parenthood, travel schedules, vacations and anniversaries. Life is busy, and it only gets busier with age.
There is irrefutable evidence that you physically decline (mainly loss in muscle mass, slowed metabolism, increase risk of disease) with age. Fortunately, a consistent exercise plan and healthy nutrition strategies can combat and reverse a lot of the age-related declines you see in your body. As coaches, we like to challenge clients who have hesitations about starting due to their age. Our message: Put the mute button on the whole conversation about age and realize exercise is beneficial for everyone regardless of age, limitations or exercise level.
Many people underestimate the impact a healthy lifestyle has on your body outside of the way it physically looks (although you can still look great at any age – see Linda’s story below). By eating a more nutritious diet and getting regular exercise, there are numerous benefits that go beyond the aesthetics including, but not limited to the following statements
• Decreases resting blood pressure (systolic and diastolic). (Haennel, Quinney, & Kappogoda, 1991)
• Decreases LDL cholesterol (Goldberg, Elliot, Schultz, & Kloste, 1984)
• Improves physical performance and cardiovascular function in post coronary patients (Butler, Baierwalter, & Rogers, 1987)
• Improves age-related gastrointestinal disorders (Cordain, Latin, & Behnke, 1986)
• Promotes better glucose utilization to lessen the severity and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes (Durak, Javanosis-Peterson, & Peterson, 1990; Miller, Sherman & Ivy, 1984)
• Reverses effects on osteoporosis and improves bone mineral density (Layne & Nelson, 1999; Snow-Harter, Bouzesin, Lewis, Carter & Marcus, 1992)
• Prevents and reduces low back pain (Morrow, 1997)
• Eases conditions of arthritis (Tufts University, 1994)
• Reduces depression (Singh, Clements, & Fiatarone, 1997)
• Increases metabolism (Campbell, Crim, Young, & Evans, 1994; Lemmer, Ivery, Ryan, Martel, Hurlbut, Metter, Fozard, Fleg, & Hurley, 2001)
• Increases muscle mass (Campbell, Crim, Young, & Evans, 1994; Fiatarone, Marks, Ryan, Meredith, Lipsitz, & Evans, 1990; Frontera, Meredith, O’Reilley, Knuttgen, & Evans, 1988)
The limiting factor for a lot of people over 40 isn’t their age, it’s their busy lifestyle (work schedule, parenting, travel, events etc..) and lack of consistency with eating properly and exercising regularly. You’re never too old to start exercise. Refocus and prioritize your health. The rewards of a consistent exercise routine and proper nutrition far outweigh the costs.
“I have been training with OC Fitness Coach for 3 years now. They keep me motivated, toned, and help me keep weight off despite my traveling and vacations. I too was hesitant thinking it was for people in their 20s and 30’s, but that’s the furthest from the true. Keeping my body fit at 55 is motivating me to keep going. I wouldn’t train with anyone else.”
Linda 55 – Mission Viejo
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2. Goldberg, L.,L. Elliot, R. Schultz, and F. Kloste. 1984. Changes in lipid and lipoprotein levels after weight training. Journal of the American Medical Association 252:504-506
3. Butler, R., W. Baierwalter, and F. Rogers. 1987. The cardiovascular response to circuit weight training in patients with cardiac disease. Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation 7 :402-409
4. Cordain, L., R. Latin, and J. Behnke. 1986. The effects of an aerobic running program on bowel transit time. Journal of Sports Medicine 26: 101-104
5. Durak, E.L. Jovanosis-Peterson, and C. Peterson. 1990. Randomization crossover study of effect of resistance training on glycemic control, muscular strength, and cholesterol in Type I diabetic men. Diabetes Care 13: 1039-1042
6. Miller, W., W. Sherman, and J. Ivy. 1984. Effect of strength training on glucose tolerance and post glucose insulin response. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 16: 539-543
7. Layne, J., and M. Nelson. 1999. The effects of progressive resistance training on bone density: A review. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 31: 25-30
8. Snow-Harter, C. M. Bouxsein, B. Lewis, D. Carter, and R. Marcus. 1992. Effects of resistance and endurance exercise on bone mineral status of young women. A randomized exercise intervention trial. Journal of Bone Mineral Research 7: 761-769
9. Morrow, J. 1997. Relationship of low back pain to exercise habits. Paper presented at the American College of Sports Medicine conference, Denver, May 31
10. Tufts University Diet and Nutrition Letter. 1994. Never too late to build up your muscle. 12 (September) : 6-7
11. Singh, N.,K. Clements, and M. Fiatarone. 1997. A randomized controlled trial of progressive resistance training in depressed elders. Journal of Gerontology 52 A : M27-M 35
12. Campbell, W., M. Crim, V. Young and W. Evans. 1994. Increased energy requirements and changes in body composition with resistance training in older adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 60 : 167-175
13. Lemmer, J., F. Ivery, A Ryan, G. Martel, D. Hurlbut, J. Metter, J. Fozard, J. Fleg, and B. Hurley. 2001. Effects of strength training on resting metabolic rate and physical activity. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 33: 532-541
14. Fiatarone, M., E. Marks, N. Ryan, C. Meredith, L. Lipsitz, and W. Evans. 1990. High-intensity strength training in nonagenarians. Journal of the American Medical Association 263: 3029-3034
15. Frontera, W., C. Meredith, K. O’Reilly, H. Knuttgen, and W. Evans. 1988 Strength and Conditioning in older men: Skeletal muscle hypertrophy and improved function. Journal of Applied Physiology 64: 1038-1044