A decline in strength and coordination is experienced as we age. Loss of muscle and strength affects our ability to perform the simple, mundane tasks that are a part of our day-to-day life. As we age, small things like holding a glass full of water, picking up something from the ground, or even climbing the stairs take a lot of effort. While escaping aging is impossible, there are ways we can retain our physical strength and staying fit is key to it.
We all must have heard about how we should stick to low-impact and easy exercises as we age. After that advice, surely deadlifts would feel too risky. The truth is that as you age, you need to work out even more to maintain your strength levels. Deadlifts help you build muscle and gain strength no matter your age.
During a deadlift, you bend to pick up external weight from the ground and stand up again. This simple natural movement strengthens our major muscle groups, including the quadriceps, glutes, back muscles, calves, hamstrings, hips, core, and trapezius. Since deadlift falls under resistance training it also promotes bone mineral density, especially in men.
You can start deadlifting with lighter weights and as your strength grows, you can challenge yourself with heavier weights. Therefore, whether you are 18 or 80, deadlifts will make you significantly strong.
If deadlifts seem dangerous or if you are not on the right fitness level for deadlifts, start with bodyweight exercises. These exercises train your bones, joints, and muscles to support your body weight. With no equipment involved, you can easily add them to your day.
Perform bodyweight exercises three to four times a week to preserve bone density, increase muscle mass, and get stronger as you age.
Aerobic exercises increase your cardiovascular health. During an aerobic workout, your heart rate increases, and more oxygen is supplied to the muscles. When your muscles have the oxygen required to perform a certain exercise, they can be worked longer and become stronger over time. So perform aerobic exercises for 20-30 minutes every day.
Energy Boosting Diet
With age, people become more calorie-conscious and reduce their intake of carbohydrates and healthy unsaturated fats or switch to a vegan diet. According to a study on strength and muscle loss, after 40 up to 2% annual decline is observed in lean muscle mass and up to 5% decline in strength.
Not eating enough protein, whole grains, and healthy fats can speed up muscle loss which can directly impact your physical strength. These organic compounds (carbs, fat, proteins) give us a sustainable energy boost for workout and carrying out everyday tasks. Therefore, reduce portions and work out more to boost your metabolism and burn fat, but do not eliminate essential nutrients from your diet.
Get Quality Sleep
Quality sleep is crucial for long-lasting physical strength. When we sleep, our body uses the energy reserves for muscle recovery and the reformation of new bone tissue. During sleep, muscles release large amounts of protein-building amino acids that help the muscles grow bigger and stronger. Growth hormone is also released during sleep.
According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, poor quality or short sleep span increases the risk of muscle reduction and declines physical health. Sleep span reduces naturally with age, but it is still recommended that people who slept 7-8 hours a day had better strength than those who slept for 6 hours or less.
Go for Regular Check-Ups
Regular check-ups help identify any emerging health problems. With age, humans become more susceptible to osteoporosis, vitamin deficiencies, infections, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal disease. Through regular check-ups, you can stop illness-related weakness, and muscle and strength loss. To start certain exercises and supplementations, you might need clearance from your doctor. So visit your medical practitioner every month for blood work, nutrition advice, and medication.
Due to our lifestyle choices, a wide majority are deficient in vitamins and minerals. Common deficiencies include Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, iron, magnesium, calcium, and selenium. These micronutrients play an important role in maintaining our physical strength as we age. Get tested for any of these deficiencies and start taking supplements if you are unable to get the required daily dose through your diet.
Consuming alcohol is directly linked to aging. According to several research studies from Oxford Population Health, alcohol consumption speeds up aging damaging DNA in the telomere, a DNA-protein structure that protects chromosomes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a healthy man should consume two drinks a day and a healthy woman should consume one drink a day. However, it is ideal to avoid alcohol altogether to slow down aging and loss of strength.
If you have undergone surgery, use prehab exercises for fast recovery and increased strength. People in their 50s can also resort to prehab workouts to get stronger with age.
Besides physical strength, prehab training also helps to overcome limiting mindsets, stress, and improve overall mental health.
Do not wait until after 40 to start taking care of your health. The younger you start, the more strength you will have as you age. In fact, healthy lifestyle choices slow down aging significantly and also reverse the loss of muscle and bone, improving strength and stamina.
On the other hand, do not get demotivated if you are in your late 40s, 50s, or older. Your strength can still improve if you start working out and eating better.
The right time to start is now regardless of your age and strength levels.
We fear aging because we lose the strength and fitness that we have at the prime of our youth. The aches, lack of focus, sluggishness, and acute fatigue are dreadful indications of aging.
Luckily, human bodies are designed to become stronger when exposed to controlled stress in the form of exercise. Whether you want to improve your physical or mental state, lead an active lifestyle, have a consistent workout routine, check in with your doctor every month, and eat a healthy balanced meal. Limiting alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods can also improve your strength and fitness levels.