Are you prepared for the aging onslaught?

Time is a cruel currency for most middle-aged men and women.

A recent report from The Lancet medical journal suggests that most people will go up two - three dress or trouser sizes between the age of 35 and 55, equivalent to gaining an average of one kilogram a year for 20 years.

An increase in waist size can coincide with Sarcopenia, a natural decline of muscle mass and strength that occurs as we age.

Sarcopenia is a significant risk factor for disability in our older population and can impact balance, gait and the ability to perform daily tasks.

It’s possible to slow down and even reverse this condition but to do this you must keep your muscles strong and healthy.

You may think that it’s impossible with age but people who were sedentary in her twenties and thirties can have stronger muscles in middle age if they act now.  

From my perspective (a 53-year-old male), maintaining muscle mass as I age makes me FEEL better.

There is always a secondary benefit of LOOKING better as well but this is by no means my end goal. 

Keeping my muscles strong also produces a corresponding positive mental state.

So, what are the tried and true methods to better prepare for the aging onslaught?

1. Start Strength Training.

 You don’t have to sign-up to your local basement gym, push aside the gym-junkies and suddenly start dead lifting 300kgs. Strength training simply means using a resistance to build muscle and burns calories. This must be done in a systematic and planned routine but you can incorporate exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, step-ups, static holds and planks without the need to set foot inside a gym.

2. Start Cardio Training.

In the 80s it was called ‘aerobics’, now it’s called ‘cardio’. Cardio is the abbreviated form of ‘cardiovascular exercise’ and means exercise that works your heart and lungs.  Any exercise which uses large muscles, such as running, cycling, calisthenics, swimming and rowing, can be used for a cardio routine. Benefits include better brain function, fat loss and joint mobility.  Make no mistake, walking is legitimate exercise and even getting out two - three days a week for 30 minutes will do the trick. 

3. Eat Real Food. 

As the saying goes, ‘you are what you eat’ so stick to lean meet, complex carbohydrates, fresh fruit and vegetables and keep sugary foods to a minimum. Soft drinks, sports drinks, shopping-mall made smoothies, sweet coffee drinks, flavoured milk drinks, fruit juice, biscuits, cakes, donuts, muesli bars, boxed breakfast cereals and flavoured yoghurts should be eaten as a ‘sometimes food’. Your alcohol intake should be seen in a ‘risk-continuum’ – the more you drink, the greater the negative health impact can be to your health and vice versa. 

Implementing these strategies will mean you’re not leaving your health up to chance help you to bank more days in your life and life in your days.