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The Shawnee News-Star
  • You can look, feel and perform younger than your age

  • I think it is safe to say that as time passes, we begin to show the normal signs of aging.
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  • I think it is safe to say that as time passes, we begin to show the normal signs of aging.
     
    It is important to remember the body’s gradual decline comes not solely from the passing of time, but from combined effects of inactivity and poor nutrition.
     
    So no matter what your age or status of health, regular exercise, proper vitamin supplementation, and improved eating habits can help lower your biological age (how you look, feel and perform).
     
    I want to challenge you to focus on staying biologically younger than your chronological age every single day.
     
    You have absolutely nothing to lose, and a host of very important health benefits to gain.
     
    Exercise helps reduce body fat, increases muscle mass and strength, improves aerobic capacity, reduces risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other age related issues.
     
    Our goal is not to strive for unrealistic expectations, but instead remain, healthy, active and vibrant for as long as we live.
     
    Respect your age, but please don’t allow it to determine how active you are going to be. There are other realistic markers you can use to determine how well your mind and body are actually performing.
     
    I challenge you to look at these markers, evaluate your status, and then make adjustments wherever necessary.
     
    Trust me, it is not uncommon for a conditioned 60-year-old to out-perform someone 35 years of age who follows a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle.
     
    The first area to look at in our quest to stay biologically young is the loss of muscle mass. Decreased muscle leads to reduced strength, increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, slower metabolism and ultimately a gain in fat. The good news is that if you remain physically active, chances are you will lose little muscle.
     
    Second, take a look at your strength. Between the ages of 20 and 70, the average American loses about 30 percent of his or her muscle cells. While we cannot prevent the loss of muscle cells, adopting a resistance-training program can boost the size and strength of the cells we do have.
     
    Third, have you noticed that as you age it becomes much harder to lose those unwanted pounds? Typically, this is one sign of a slowing metabolism. Because more energy is needed to maintain muscle than fat, the less muscle tissue in your body, the slower your metabolism and the fewer calories you must consume to maintain ideal body weight.
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    Unfortunately, many times we continue eating as if we have the metabolism of a 20-year-old, thus causing us to gain weight. The answer is simply to eat fewer calories, within reason of course, provide your body necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and get enough exercise and strength training to maintain your muscle mass.
     
    Another vital area to be aware of is the body fat percentage. In most cases, the aging process brings not only muscle loss, but fat gain. Please be cautious here, because even though our weight on a scale may be changing little over the years, the ratio of fat to lean muscle in our bodies can be increasing drastically.
     
    Excessive fat leads to chronic disease and has been a strong indicator for physical disability later in life. Consuming a diet low in fat combined with exercise is definitely the way to go here.
     
    Slowly but surely it is very important to maintain your aerobic capacity, which is the body’s ability to process oxygen during exercise. Typically, the greater your aerobic capacity, the faster oxygen is pumped throughout the body and the fitter the individual. Consistent and regular aerobic activity is the key here.
     
    We must also keep an eye on and control our blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and bone density.
     
    As we age, our skeletons become weaker and more brittle.
     
    Consuming a healthy level of calcium and weight bearing exercise like walking can be very helpful toward keeping you strong.
     
    As we age, each of us will have to deal with these issues at some point. Please remember that age is only a number. Just like most things in life, early preparation and prevention makes things more manageable and less stressful.
     
    If you have not begun, I encourage you to start today, providing your body nutritionally what it needs daily to perform at optimal levels, including structured physical activity.
     
    Exercise cannot restore destroyed tissue, but it can protect us against a number of chronic diseases, maximize our potential to function, and in some instances may have you performing biologically 20 years younger with consistent effort.
     
    Until next week, please make it a healthy and nutritious day.
     
    To get started on healthy weight loss and nutrition products, stop by Reggie’s Personal Training, 104 E. Main, downtown Shawnee, or call Reggie at 405-613-0237.
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