Why Aging is a Myth: Secrets to Staying Vital - Women's Health Conversations

Why Aging is a Myth: Secrets to Staying Vital

Why Aging is a Myth: Secrets to Staying Vital

Your age is in your control. That’s right – age is all about how you feel. Aging is a myth. Just because the years are passing, doesn’t mean your present and future health and well-being can’t be upgraded. Aging as unavoidable debilitation is a myth that can be busted with a dose of science and common sense.

The key to staying vital as you age is to not let any less-than-healthy habits accelerate aging (because they will if you let them). You must maintain an active lifestyle, which will slow down your aging process. Let’s find out how aging and activity will work together to boost your confidence and determination to age on your own terms. Kick the aging myth to the curb.  

Stay Vital By Staying Fit

Stay Vital By Staying Fit

Aging does not inherently involve an inevitable decline from vitality to frailty. This commonly held belief is not true. You are not destined to grow more frail as you age.

To stay strong and vital, you must play hard and challenge your body like you did when you were young in years. You can keep up with your favorite type of fitness after 40 as long as you keep doing it. You cannot assume that it is ever appropriate to be inactive.

Movement science expert, Dr. Carol Ewing Garber of Columbia University studies older adults’ movements and stresses the importance of keeping fit as you age to protect your body from degradation. As long as you recognize any legitimate limitations, you should focus on flexibility exercises, strength exercises, and aerobic exercises as you age.

Focusing on flexibility exercises helps you maintain mobility. Ewing recommends practices like yoga or Pilates and stretching every day. Strength exercises are also important as you age and lifting weights actually helps you stay toned and lose weight because maintenance of each pound of muscle uses between 75 and 100 calories a day while a pound of fat only uses three calories a day.  

Aerobic exercise is key for successfully fighting against the clock. A Mayo Clinic study examined older adults for 12 weeks and found that increased aerobic exercise contributed to cardiorespiratory health, muscle mass and insulin sensitivity and increased muscle strength. This study also showed that while mitochondrial cellular function declined with age, it improved with aerobic training.

Your body is a dynamic and masterful adapter capable of consistent mobility throughout your lifespan, but you must pay attention to your body. While you’re pushing yourself to stay fit, make sure you stretch, warm up, cool down, and drink plenty of water.

Aging is a myth: Bone Health is Key to Vitality

Bone Health is Key to Vitality

Your chronological age matters less than your perceptual age. The latter explains how old a person seems, which is completely in your control. Another aspect of feeling younger is keeping your bone health in check. It’s so important for women’s health – especially when women are faced with low levels of estrogen.

When a woman falls and breaks her hip, there is a 6.3 % chance that he or she will die in the hospital. Of the 93.7% who make it home, one-third die in the first year after the fall. Of the two-thirds that survive, 50% of the time they do not return to pre-fall function and require help with daily activities.

Your bones are dynamic, growing structures, but there is a direct relationship between low estrogen and the development of osteoporosis. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “After menopause, bone resorption (breakdown) overtakes the building of new bone. Early menopause (before age 45) and any long phases in which the woman has low hormone levels and no or infrequent menstrual periods can cause loss of bone mass.”

Surprisingly, one treatment for osteoporosis includes weight-bearing exercises, which make your muscles work against gravity. Just one more reason to keep exercising after 40 to stay fit and fierce!

What Happens to a Sedentary Body

What Happens to a Sedentary Body

Everyone wants to be vital until the very last minute, but so many of us don’t take the steps we need to stay vital. A common myth of getting older is that you’re weaker and should feel less motivated to get off the couch. But, when you lead a sedentary life, your tissues get tighter and tighter.

The loss of lean muscle mass, or sarcopenia, results in the loss of power and endurance. In sedentary populations, declines in muscle mass can lead to more disability.

A Health ABC study examined over 2,000 men and women aged 70-79 and found that sedentary lean muscle becomes grossly infiltrated with fat. When abnormal amounts of fat build up between muscle fibers and within cells, your muscles will attenuate.

Fitness After 40

So, here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to exercise your brain and you’re going to exercise your body. You won’t let low estrogen levels defeat you because you can combat them. Aging is a myth. Don’t give up on yourself when you still have years of a happy, healthy life ahead of you.