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We all want to stay in shape and maintain a good quality of life the older we get. Exercise and a healthy diet are extremely important, but we need the motivation to make significant changes.
Hard work and commitment are key if you want to stay active well into your 50s, 60s or even 70s. Genetics and nature certainly have their place in determining your overall health, but you can have a say in your day-to-day activities if you are determined enough.
In author Joe Friel’s latest book Fast After 50, he states that the two most powerful factors that affect aging are behavior and lifestyle:
“There is reason to believe that the major contributor to the performance decline in athletes as they get older is nurture, with nature playing a smaller role,” he says. “[A]s we age, exercise behavior (nurture) appears to play a significant role in how our given genetic biology (nature) plays out.”
In a recent article written by Nick Heil titled, Age Is Irrelevant When It Comes to Fitness, he goes over author Joe Friel’s five ways that you can give keep your motor high well into your later years.
1. Lift Weights
“When you train with heavy loads for several weeks, you develop younger muscles,” Friel writes. “Lifting increases the body’s production of muscle building hormones such as growth hormone, testosterone, and insulin growth factor.”
2. Eat More Protein
The older we get, the more protein we need in our diet to help keep our muscles strong. There are a number of factors that decide how much each person needs, but when it comes to timing, the recommendation is the same for everyone–spread protein intake throughout the day. Introducing protein into the body at regular intervals helps to stimulate the process important for building muscle. Be sure to include protein in every meal to support a healthy weight.
See also: 9 Grab-and-Go Protein Snack Ideas
3. Sleep Better, Longer
Sleep becomes even more important as we grow older. Friel even suggests that using an alarm clock might actively impede good sleep. Follow your body’s natural rhythms, get good exercise and when it comes time to sleep, make sure your room is cool, dark and quiet. For more practical tips on how to improve your sleep check out this informative guide from helpguide.org.
4. Consider More Passive Recovery
Active recovery consists of doing something slightly less strenuous that makes you feel better after exercising. Passive recovery is the term used to describe doing nothing at all. The older you get, the more critical it is to consider taking a day or two off in between heavy periods of exercise. You can even aid your passive recovery with supplemental equipment like cold baths, compression tights or even a nice massage.
5. Be Conservative
Knowing your body’s limitations goes a long way. Over exercising in your middle age can be risky. Train a little too hard and there could be increased risk of injury and those mishaps heal even slower the older you become. Moderation and consistency are the keys to ensuring longevity and success, according to Friel. Know your limitations and exercise intelligently.