The Case for Exercise
Have you ever noticed how people who do no exercise at all still have a look of fullness in their arms, legs and chests for example, when they are less than 30 years old? Have you also noticed that this look of fullness starts to slowly become a look of droopiness and sagginess when they are over 30? Our body is at its peak at between 25 and 30 years of age. After this point, our body starts to slowly go into a decline and we tend to put on weight a little faster than before. Part of the reason for this is, after 30, we begin to lose muscle to what is known as atrophy (muscle shrinkage due to disuse). We also begin to lose bone density leading very slowly to eventual osteoporosis. Muscle is active tissue and therefore burns calories. When we start to lose muscle to atrophy, our metabolism begins to slow down as a result leading to more fat storage and weight gain, and over 50% of this is due to inactivity. Is there anything you can do to help reverse this process? The answer is yes you can. We’ve all seen it, there are two women standing together, one is around 35 years old while the other is around 50, yet the older women looks more firm and vigorous than the younger women. You might ask yourself; how does she do it? The answer is she exercises. Period! You, at almost any age can stay in great shape as well, but you have to exercise. You have to make exercise a regular part of your day. A good exercise program would be one that contains both aerobic and resistance exercise with some stretching added also. Many prefer to do aerobics and resistance exercises separately, but a lot of people find that the best workout for them is circuit training since it utilizes all three of these types of exercise in one, and is very effective and time saving. A lot of people seem to think that aerobic exercise is the best way to lose and maintain weight, but, since 75% of the calories you burn are at rest, this is not the case. Aerobic exercise only burns calories during the activity, and then within two hours after you are finished, you burn no more calories than before. Resistance exercise, on the other hand, builds and maintains muscle, and since muscle is active tissue, you burn more calories than before, even at rest. One pound of fat burns around 4 calories per day while one pound of muscle burns around 50 calories per day. After 30 years of age, an inactive person will lose ½ to 1 pound of muscle every year. That means that ten years of muscle loss due to inactivity equates to a metabolism slow down of around 450 calories per day! If you want to lose fat and gain muscle, then you must include exercise into your day and that means including resistance training into your exercise routine. Men and women who include resistance training to their exercise routines lose around 44% more fat than those who don’t. Adding resistance training to a regular exercise routine will also slow down many of the effects of aging. People even in their 80s and 90s have seen as much as a 200% improvement in their strength levels within 3-4 weeks of starting to exercise. You can stay fit and trim after 40, but the message is clear, exercise with resistance included is an absolute must if you want to stay in peak condition and feel young and alive, and you can do it, even well past 40.