Fitness simply means that your body is in good health and able to perform normal tasks that you expect of your body. This requires that you fuel your body with the proper nutrients every day. It also requires that you keep your body in top shape by keeping your muscles strong and your bones and joints in good repair.
For most people, fitness means a toned, well proportioned body.
But have you also noticed that this look of a well proportioned body starts to change to bagginess when older adults reach the age of 40 or 50? The body reaches its peak of health between 20 and 30 years of age. After this the body starts to slowly show a decrease in healthfulness and we tend to put on weight a little faster year by year.
Part of the reason for this is that after 30 we begin to lose muscle mass to what is called muscle atrophy (muscle shrinkage due to disuse). You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it.” This applies to your muscles.
We also begin to lose bone density leading very slowly to eventual osteoporosis.
We put on weight faster because we lose muscle mass. Muscle is active tissue and therefore burns calories. When we start to lose muscle to atrophy our metabolism begins to slow down. Unless we reduce our eating, our body will not burn all the calories we consume. The body will store these calories as more fat and we will gain weight.
Is there anything you can do to help reverse this process?
The answer is yes.
You must make exercise a normal part of your daily life.
A good exercise program includes aerobic and resistance exercises with some stretching.
Many people believe that aerobic fitness exercises are the ultimate way to lose and keep maintaining weight. But, 75% of the calories you burn are burned while you are resting. Aerobic fitness exercise only burns calories through the activity and then for a couple of hours during recovery.
Resistance exercises or strength training, on the other hand, help build and maintain muscle. And since muscle is active tissue, added muscle mass burns more calories, even at rest. One pound of extra fat burns around 4 calories per day while one pound of muscle burns around 50 calories per day. According to Dr. Michael Roizen, after 35 years of age, an inactive person will lose about 5% of their muscle mass every 10 years.
For the inactive person, the lose of muscle mass means a reduced metabolism. For every pound of muscle mass lost, the metabolism goes down by about 50 calories. That is, the body burns 50 fewer calories each day for every 1 pound of muscle loss.
You know that most people are struggling to lose weight. They try one diet plan after another. But, the problem is not in choosing the right diet program. The problem is the loss of more and more muscle mass.
How to Get Fit at 50 Years Old
The real solution is to getting fit at 50 years of age is to include resistance training into your exercise routine. Adding resistance training to a regular exercise routine will slow down and reverse many of the “effects of aging”. People, even in their 80s and 90s, have seen as much as a 200% improvement in their strength levels within 3-4 weeks of starting to exercise. High intensity resistance training also helps improve bone mineral density, meaning stronger bones.
You can get and stay fit and trim after 50. The way to do this is clear. Exercising with resistance is an absolute must if you want to stay in peak condition and feel young and alive. And you can do it, even well past 50.