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Fitness: Fight Back!

By Oscar Saucedo

This FaceApp thing got me thinking about aging and how I would love to delay looking like “old age me.” Judging from other people my age, it seems I’ve done a decent job of doing just that. Still, I’m definitely not what I once was!

As the saying goes, “Father Time is undefeated.” We cannot avoid the aging process. Our muscle size and strength will decrease. Our speed, agility, and quickness will decline. Our power will diminish. Our aerobic capacity will dwindle.

I’ve seen studies that say that 20% of muscle mass is lost between the ages of 40 and 60. I can only assume we keep losing quite a bit of muscle after that. I’ve read that power can decrease about 3% per year in our early 40s, and about 1% per year after that. I’ve researched that our aerobic capacity can decrease about 1% per year after reaching our peak.  

Lucky for us Average Joes, those numbers mostly apply to elite athletes, or people actually performing at maximum exercise capacity! They perform at a level we never (or very rarely) reach! That means that there’s a really good chance that—for a good while longer—we won’t notice a huge decline in our physical performance because we have yet to reach our best version of ourselves! 

As we age, we can and should continue to lift weights, run, jump, sprint, row, squat, lunge, and punch! Ageing does not mean we have to stop exercise. As we age, we may lift lighter, run slower, and jump lower. But now imagine yourself at 85 years old still lifting, still running, and still jumping! There aren’t many 85-year-olds today still doing those things.

In my opinion, ageing means there is EVEN MORE reason to exercise and eat healthy food. That’s what I call “fighting back”.  Fight the ageing process every step of the way. Fight to stay strong, stay flexible, stay agile, and stay conditioned. Some people say that it isn’t living to limit your bad foods and to be in the gym every day exerting yourself. But I think it isn’t living to have to worry about fitting into an airline seat, or to have to be at dialysis 3 times a week, or to miss out on a grandchild’s wedding just because my body can’t take the stress of the trip. I want to live the whole time that I am alive.

“Old age me” does have to keep a few things in mind, though. Older people can do the same exercise at the same intensity as a young person. However, it does take a little longer to recover. Get some guidance to determine your recovery time. As a general rule, you should keep improving every time you perform the same exercise (more weight, more reps, faster time, etc.). Your food and supplements play a huge role in helping you recover.  You actually need MORE supplements as you age. Supplements help to promote recovery. The faster you can recover, the more quickly you can get back in the gym! Hydrate well and get with a fitness professional to help you choose the right foods to keep you fighting back at 100%.

If you’re not fighting to live, you’re allowing yourself to fade away. Stay in the gym and in the fight!

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