Aim to look, feel and perform better than your chronological age

Reggie Grovey
Fitness enthusiast

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 regardless of age or status of health, regular exercise, good nutrition, hydration, and improved eating habits can help lower your biological age (how you look, feel, and perform). That’s good news, my friends!

I want to challenge you to focus every day on staying biologically younger than your chronological age! You have absolutely nothing to lose and a host of very important health benefits to gain. Exercise, nutrition and hydration help reduce body fat, increase muscle mass and strength, improve aerobic capacity, and reduce 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 by working within your limits, 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 who is 35 years of age and 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.

Secondly, 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.

Thirdly, 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. 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, 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 changes little, the ratio of fat to lean muscle in our bodies can increase drastically over those same years. Excessive fat leads to chronic disease and has been a strong indicator for physical disability later in life. Consuming a healthy diet, good vitamins and mineral nutrition, combined with exercise and hydration, 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 exercise 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 towards 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, prevention and consistency, makes things more manageable, less stressful, and improves performance. 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.

Until next week keep up the good work, follow all COVID-19 safety guidelines, and go make it a healthy and nutritious day! To get started on a healthier lifestyle contact Reggie’s Personal Training and Nutrition, 104 E. Main, Downtown Shawnee, (405) 613-0237! Ask about the 24-day challenge that helps you feel better, jump starts weight loss, tones you up, improves your health and active energy.

Reggie Grovey is a local 21-year fitness professional and nationally certified personal trainer and Advocare Nutrition independent distributor.