It’s been two generations since fitness became part of the broader culture, but still most of us don’t exercise regularly.
We see it everywhere – from gyms and studios to home workout equipment, from wearables like Apple watches to “athleisure” clothing like Lululemon.
Fitness today is a $100 billion industry worldwide, which means countless ordinary people exercise for the sake of exercising. They know it’s good for them. They know it will help them lead better, longer lives. They know it’s fun.
But it wasn’t always like that. Until about 40 years ago, fitness facilities weren’t common. Celebrities weren’t super-fit. People smoked cigarettes – a lot. The idea of “fitness over 50” hadn’t been coined
But there’s still generational difference in this awareness, particularly among older Baby Boomers who came of age before fitness was so common.
Is that you?
Chances are your parents and grandparents never set foot in a fitness facility after high school PE class.
But starting in the late 1970s, Jazzercise and the running craze began taking off. And 40 years ago, in April 1982, movie star Jane Fonda introduced her “Workout” VHS tape, galvanizing all these elements to help create the modern studio, home workouts, and the home-video industry.
Fonda sold millions of copies of “Workout” videotapes and books, inspiring people everywhere to don legwarmers and “feel the burn” doing aerobics.
Before this period, most ordinary people didn’t exercise just for the sake of it. Heck, they probably hadn’t even thought of it.
That’s why so many older still people don’t “just know” a basic truth that we promote every day about fitness over 50:
We all need to exercise – especially later in life – to keep the strength, flexibility and endurance needed to lead our best lives.
Remember these other touchstones from the time period?
Where We Are Now
We’ve all come a long way since then. Fitness has improved and extended millions of lives.
More people over 50 are returning to exercise or discovering it for the first time. They want to feel better, move better, and look better – which defines “fitness over 50” for plenty. They know that exercise simply must be a part of a healthy lifestyle.
They’re coming to see us every day and loving it.
So, what are you waiting for? Another 40 years? Come on in today!
What does it mean to have muscle?
When we were kids, we probably thought of athletes and superheroes.
In our 20s, we might have associated muscle with lots of weightlifting in the gym and young men with bulging physiques.
But later in life, we need to realize that muscle means more than big biceps.
We need muscle to perform all kinds of tasks – even standing up off the couch requires muscle. It’s that basic to our everyday lives and function.
Muscle means life – ordinary, simple life for everyone. And we start losing it in our 30s, which can lead to all kinds of trouble if we don’t do something about it. And that “something” is resistance training – also known as weightlifting or strength training.
Have You Heard of Sarcopenia?
There’s even a medical term for this losing muscle mass: sarcopenia. The condition is commonly associated with aging, but it is not inevitable. You can prevent it and even reverse it at the gym or fitness studio.
You know the stereotypes about being old and frail.
And you might have noticed that you struggle more to, say, bring in the groceries lately.
Trust us, this is common but preventable and treatable with regular resistance exercise and proper nutrition.
“Sarcopenia can be considered for muscle what osteoporosis is to bone,” said Dr. John E. Morley, St. Louis University School of Medicine, in the journal Family Practice.
Dr. Jeremy Walston said in the National Institutes of Health, “Sarcopenia is one of the most important causes of functional decline and loss of independence in older adults.”
If you’re entering midlife or if you’re already more advanced, talk to your doctor about sarcopenia. He should tell you about resistance training to prevent issues linked to sarcopenia including weakness, increased risk of falling, increased likelihood of fractures, insulin resistance and obesity.
Being inactive contributes to sarcopenia – which then contributes to inactivity.
Break the Cycle
We’ve all heard the old adage, “Use it or lose it,” right? It’s true when it comes to muscle and aging bodies. If you don’t use your muscle, you will lose it. If you use it, you’ll keep it – and all the functional ability and strength that includes.
Doctors have known for decades that exercise can reverse muscle losses of sarcopenia. But it still hasn’t filtered down into our general awareness, where “muscle” still means Arnold Schwarzenegger.
By using resistance bands, body weight, machines, or free weights, we increase muscle strength, size, and endurance.
That means you move better, feel better, look better, and sleep better. For starters.
IT DOES NOT MEAN you will get huge. Period. Full stop.
Call me today so we can talk about strength and muscle, answer your questions, and get you going with a safe, fun, and effective program.
It doesn’t take much to start seeing important results.
Hey, have you heard about the new miracle fat-loss product?
It’s a special tea.
Or a lollipop.
Or a rubber vest you zip tight around your abdomen.
Or… or… or…
We’ve all seen countless “too good to be true” products guaranteeing help with losing weight “melting” fat and “boosting” metabolism.
It’s easy to chuckle at most of these. They might seem harmless to more than your wallet, although that’s not necessarily true of all of them.
Health scams cost consumers countless millions. And older people are often the target of phone and email rip-offs; those might not be related to health and nutrition products, but they show how con artists prey on vulnerabilities of older people.
Hormones change as we age, for men and women. Our metabolisms slow down. Fat gets distributed in new ways. For correct information and strategies, trust us and your doctor – not someone advertising a quick solution or miracle cure on the Internet.
But even among people with healthy skepticism, some of these ads can be effective and get us curious to try the “latest thing.”
Anthony Wilkins is co-owner of a studio for mature women, and he says clients frequently ask him about a new product. Maybe they’re told they have to sweat a lot or suffer soreness to prove they got a good workout. The false ads often promote similar falsehoods. So, Anthony started addressing them in a series of posts on social media. Here are three of his “favorites.”
Fat Fact #1: Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat!
“This myth should die now and die fast! One pound of fat weighs the exact same as one pound of muscle. That same pound of muscle takes up less space than that pound of fat. This means that you cannot have lost any weight but still be much leaner and drop inches… If you are doing the right things consistently look for other wins that you are having besides simply what you weigh.”
Fat Fact #2: You cannot spot reduce and lose fat EXACTY where you want to!
“You can train certain body parts to make them better, but you have absolutely no control over where you lose fat. Your genetics play a major role in your basic body composition and you can only change so much. Your focus instead should be on maintaining a consistent level of strength training and good nutrition habits which will lead to long term fat loss success.”
Fat Fact #3: Wearing a waist trainer will not make you healthier!
“It will give you the appearance that you have a slim waist you’re wearing it. But it does not burn fat, build muscle or anything else health related. Where exactly do your internal organs go when they are squeezed together anyway?”
There is no quick fix. No miracle cure. For long-term, healthy living, the key is consistently exercising and eating well.
I'm here to help with these realistic goals. My only promise? You’ll never regret it. Let's talk!
Welcome to my blog. This is where I share informative, inspirational and fun articles about being fit over 40.