You can be fit and healthy no matter what age, but what comes easy when you are in your 20s requires a little different approach and more consistency when you are in your 40s and 50s. You need to train smarter and more consistently and be more diligent with nutrition and recovery instead of starving and smashing your body in an 8-week bikini challenge and then reverting to a sedentary lifestyle and eating whatever comes into your sight for the rest of the year.
Just look at JLo, Elle McPherson, Naomi Campbell, Jane Fonda or Cher. Sure, they had some surgical help, but you can’t implant fitness, muscle tone, mobility, agility, coordination, and posture. They all have a few things in common: regular exercise, healthy nutrition, plenty of sleep and abstaining from alcohol.
It’s not normal to be unfit, out of shape and in pain as you age, and most of these negative ‘symptoms’ associated with aging are caused by the modern lifestyle, not by the number of times we celebrate our birthdays. That's why many anti-aging experts think of aging as a disease that's preventable and, to a degree, reversible by appropriate exercise and nutrition.
However, the truth is that our physiology changes with age and every decade of our life brings different challenges. Some of the physiological changes that start to arise in our 40s involve:
- Declining muscle strength and muscle mass (The strength reduction between 50 and 70 years of age equals about 30%).
- Progressive drop in collagen production (1-2% per year) and increased collagen breakdown- the common contributing factor of sore joints, increased injury risk, cellulite and wrinkles.
- Hormonal changes, especially sex hormones and the human growth hormone.
- Changes in the sensory system (visual, vestibular, and somatosensory).
- Changes in the immune system and chronic inflammation in blood and tissues, aka INFLAMMAGING
- Declining ability to fight against free radicals and toxins.
The good news is that you can use exercise and nutrition to rewind the clock back to your late 20s or 30s and feel amazing no matter what age!
While it's a well-known fact that regular exercise:
- improves cardiovascular and pulmonary conditioning
- increases lean muscle mass and muscle strength
- helps maintain bone mineral density and structural integrity
- it's beneficial for brain function and mental health,
What you might not know is that regular exercise can also bring:
- Improved mitochondrial function (the energy production powerhouse)
- Changes in genetic expression (switching off the bad genes and upregulating the good ones)
- Reduced inflammation, thus preventing "inflammaging"
- Improved telomeres length
- 300-500% increase in growth hormone release after each high-intensity session
- Improved gut microbiome balance
- Increased NAD+ (the so-called 'molecule of youth')
- Enhanced innate immune functions
- Enhanced cognitive function by changing the brain structure
Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand, and you won’t get the best results unless you get on top of both. Appropriate nutrition can help to prevent inflammation, grow lean muscle, get rid of unwanted fat, maintain healthy bones, prevent and improve cellulite and wrinkles, improve gut health, and boost cognitive performance and brain health.
An effective training program to keep you fit, lean and youthful must cover all health components of physical fitness (muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and body composition), as well as all physical fitness skills. Balance, coordination, and agility are the primary fitness skills in focus when you cross over to your 40s.
The best diet to adopt is high in nutrients and fibre and low in calories (fruits and veggies) while covering your daily protein and fat requirement. Minimising or avoiding ultra-processed foods, added sugar, artificial additives, alcohol, and other toxins is the key to being healthy, energetic and lean. Try our range of healthy snacks if you struggle with these!
So how do you go about this? It’s easy! Stay tuned for our next blog with practical guide, nutrition, and training tips for the 40s and beyond.
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Daly, R. M., Dalla Via, J., Duckham, R. L., Fraser, S. F., & Helge, E. W. (2019). Exercise for the prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women: an evidence-based guide to the optimal prescription. Brazilian journal of physical therapy, 23(2), 170–180.
de Guia, R. M., Agerholm, M., Nielsen, T. S., Consitt, L. A., Søgaard, D., Helge, J. W., Larsen, S., Brandauer, J., Houmard, J. A., & Treebak, J. T. (2019). Aerobic and resistance exercise training reverses age-dependent decline in NAD+ salvage capacity in human skeletal muscle. Physiological reports, 7(12), e14139.