As we age, ideals such as longevity and quality of life become dramatically more important than they were in our younger years. As we look to the next 20, 30, 40 years of our life it’s important to remember that we do have control of HOW we age! The reality is that all of us will get older and the mortality rate is still 100%; however, the way we go about aging is something we can have a positive effect on.
While aging doesn’t appear to be glamorous in any way, I do believe that it does not have to be as dreary and terrible as the media cracks it up to be. However, there are certain physical limitations that we will be faced with including osteoporosis, joint pain, muscle loss, and decreased balance. While some of these physical limitations are unavoidable, by living an active and healthy lifestyle through your entire life, you will be able to fight that process. A study showed that only 11% of adults ages 65-74 met the suggested strength training recommendations and that medical costs of inactive adults 55 and older were substantially higher than adults 55 and older who did maintain an active lifestyle. By maintaining an active lifestyle preventable diseases such as non-insulin dependent diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, chronic pain, and others will be kept at bay, resulting in lower medical costs and higher quality of life. Now that we see and understand the positive effects of living an active lifestyle, how do we get started?
Find something you enjoy
The best part about learning to live an active life is that you get to explore new ways of moving that you enjoy. Lifting weights isn’t for everyone, and neither is bike riding or walking. The key is to find one to two things you enjoy doing (for me that’s lifting weights and doing yard work) and doing them consistently. If you have trouble staying consistent then find someone that will help hold you accountable! This could be a person you bike with a couple times a week, or maybe someone in your neighborhood that you take a morning walk with every day; regardless, it is important to have some level of accountability because at the end of the day, sitting on the couch with a snack is so much more tempting than walking outside in the summer heat!
While finding something you enjoy doing is the first and most important step, there is still the possibility that you already do struggle with chronic pain or other physical limitations, so what do you do if you are fearful of a flare up?
Don’t fear pain
Now, there is definitely a line between “good” pain and “bad” pain and I believe it is important to differentiate between the two. There will be some level of discomfort whenever you change your activity level or type of exercise that you are participating in. However, if you experience any level of burning, stabbing, searing, sharp, or lingering pain, you should stop immediately. If you want to learn more about the difference between discomfort and actual pain, click HERE for some good tips and general rules of thumb when exercising.
If you are new to exercising or you are finding that your muscles stay sore for longer, you experience prolonged joint pain, or you just need a little something extra to help with the recovery period post-workout, we would suggest looking into supplementation. While the supplement world can be slightly confusing and overloaded with tons of information, there are a few supplements that can help relieve soreness faster and get you back to feeling normal again. The three that are discussed below are ones that I use in my regular workout regimen and after healing from 3 knee surgeries, I can say work quite effectively.
BCAA’s- . These have been found to significantly reduce muscle soreness and accelerate the growth and recovery process. BCAA’s also help prevent muscle breakdown, resulting in faster recovery post-workout. You can find BCAA’s in a powder form which can be easily added to your post-workout drink, or you can find them in tablet/pill form which you can easily take post-workout along with a recovery drink or some good ‘ol H2O.
Glutamine- Vigorous movement/exercise depletes glutamine stores in the body; therefore, supplementing with Glutamine post-workout will decrease soreness as well as decrease recovery time. Glutamine is most commonly found in powder form but can also be found in a pill/tablet at most health foods or sports nutrition stores.
Curcumin- Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric and is also found in limited amounts in ginger. It is an anti-inflammatory molecule with anti-cancer properties. Curcimin Pro is a fantastic supplement and one that I use regularly. It has tremendously helped with my joint pain and it reduces soreness after an intense workout. Click the link above to have it shipped straight to your door.
We encourage you to start small with these three, simple, action items
- Do something every day for 30 minutes or more
- Be present by completing your activity with moderate to vigorous intensity
- Be consistent
You may find that you learn to enjoy a new hobby, perhaps you reap health benefits of the increased activity, or maybe you just feel happier, whatever results you achieve, know that you are doing something now that your future self will thank you for.