While “feeling your age” is an oft coined phrase when it comes to changes in one’s capacity for physical performance, it is important to remember that calendar age is merely a number that can only keep going up. Your fitness level on the other hand, goes both ways.
While it is true that growing old makes you more susceptible to aches and pains, allowing that to dampen your spirits is unwise. Yes, your muscles will atrophy a little and one’s general endurance will be reduced, but not exercising just because you are “old” is simply an excuse of the lazy. In fact, this will only worsen your health and speed up your decline in the long run.
Arteries are more likely to experience arterial stiffening with age and atherosclerosis, which refers to the hardening of arteries. This is serious as the two leading causes of death in developed countries today are myocardial infarction and stroke, both of which can be directly attributed to atherosclerosis. Thankfully, you can prevent that by maintaining your heart health by being active and exercising.
Remember that your fitness age differs from your actual age. Depending on your fitness level, your fitness age may be older or younger than your actual age. Just as how happiness is a choice, staying young is an attitude and a decision that you have to consciously make. In fact, a Norwegian study evaluated 5, 000 subjects’ true fitness age by measuring their BMI, cholesterol, VO2 max and more. The findings suggested that one’s fitness age can differ from their actual age. In fact, a study by Indiana University further reinforced that exercise and activity can indeed influence your fitness age greatly.
To stay young or age with grace, source for activities to promote flexibility and posture. Yoga, contemporary dance, martial arts are just some means to such an end. Know where you can find supportive individuals and do not be afraid to join them. Have an open mind and be willing to learn from them. Picking up new skills as you go along is an excellent way to build fluidity while encouraging mental plasticity. If you can, find a coach who can push you to excel while respecting your boundaries in a safe manner.
Perhaps we aren’t as old as we feel. Perhaps we’re only as old as we allow ourselves to be. It is entirely possible for one to remain active and healthy well into their golden years – the idea of the elderly being infirm is an outdated notion that desperately needs to be stamped out. And it will be, starting with you.