Many people believe that once you reach the age of 50 your health and fitness start to decline. That's an urban myth and here's why. People who perceive themselves as old and feeble are more likely to stop participating in the activities that keep them healthy and fit, such as regular exercise. On the other hand, people who have a positive attitude about aging tend to do the things that lead to life-long health and fitness.
Here's the truth, regardless of age every worn-out cell in your body is replaced every 11 months of your life. So, every year your body is completely renewed. Thus, your body is doing all it can to help you stay healthy by replacing old cells with new ones. Now the question is do you have the right mental attitude to additionally aide your body in it's life-long effort to keep you healthy and fit?
The right mental attitude about aging leads you to do the things that help you stay healthy and strong your whole life, such as exercising on a regular basis, and having a healthy diet. These are the things that help you thrive and not merely survive as you age.
The benefits of regular exercise as you age are many. Here's some of the most important. (1)
- Exercise helps older adults maintain or lose weight. As metabolism naturally slows with age, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge. Exercise helps increase metabolism and builds muscle mass, helping to burn more calories. When your body reaches a healthy weight, your overall wellness will improve.
- Exercise reduces the impact of illness and chronic disease. Among the many benefits of exercise for adults over 50 include improved immune function, better heart health and blood pressure, better bone density, and better digestive functioning. People who exercise also have a lowered risk of several chronic conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.
- Exercise enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance in older adults. Exercise improves your strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn will help with balance, coordination, and reducing the risk of falls. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis.
- Exercise improves your sleep. Poor sleep is not an inevitable consequence of aging and quality sleep is important for your overall health. Exercise often improves sleep, helping you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply.
- Exercise boosts mood and self-confidence. Exercise is a huge stress reliever and the endorphins produced can actually help reduce feelings of sadness, depression, or anxiety. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident and sure of yourself.
- Exercise is amazingly good for the brain. Activities like Sudoku or crossword puzzles can help keep your brain active, but little comes close to the beneficial effects of exercise on the brain. Exercise benefits brain functions as diverse as multitasking and creativity and can help prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Exercise may even help slow the progression of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
I can personally attest to the fact that age is only a state of mind. I'm in my late 50s and I've been weight lifting on a regularly most of my adult life. I'm still stronger than I was in my twenties. Here's the key, I never let any negative thoughts about age linger and take root in my mind, and neither should you.
(1) HelpGuide.org, Exercise and Fitness as You Age