Monday, February 4, 2008
Growing Old Gracefully
I have been thinking about aging and how that can and will affect me in the future. It is not a pleasant thought at all. I turn 50 in June and that makes me kinda sad. I just recently broke down and started on a hormone replacement because my "power surges" were really getting bad. I truly was desperate. I have agreed to give it a go and see how it works for me.
One of the big issues for women as they age is heart disease;estrogen appears to have a protective effect, and as the endogeneous production declines the risk of cardiovascular disease goes up. Exercising with cardiovascular health in mind is key as women age. Another important goal for postmenopausal training is bone density, which means incorporating load-bearing and if possible impact-based elements. Bones need to be loaded along their length, as in a squat, and ideally there is also some impact in moderate amounts.
As people age, their balance and overall mobility decline. It's essential to retain functional movement for daily life and prevent falls. A hip fracture in a 30 year old is horribly painful but not life-threatening; a hip fracture in a 75 year old can be a death sentence. The "use it or lose it" principle applies--the sooner you start, the better you retain it.
There is no reason why older women should accept immobility and fat gain. Sure, gravity gets the better of us all, but much of "normal" aging is simply disuse. One can stay relatively lean and fit at any age simply with careful nutrition and regular training.
Make working out a priority. It's right up there with food, shelter,subsistence income, basic hygiene and family. We all age and we all lose function. Staying fit is the only thing standing between me and certain decrepitude, so I take it very seriously. There is almost no situation that regular exercise doesn't improve.
2006 data shows that American women spend about 0.19 hours a day on exercise and sports, but between 2.2 and 2.7 hours a day on watching TV. So women are spending over 10 times more hours on TV than on their friends/family or themselves. There are 168 hours in a week. Let's say 50 are for paid employment, 5 for commuting, 56 for sleeping, 7 for grooming, 20 for domestic tasks like housecleaning and prepping meals. That's 138 hours. There are 30 hours left. Get moving.
Thank you to Krista for all this insightful information.
Aspire to inspire before you expire