Why we should ‘future-proof’ our bodies from our 30s onwards

Getting into the habit of exercising can be a challenge in itself, never mind maintaining the habit through life’s ups and downs.

Many of us spent some of our early years in sports clubs or doing extra-curricular activities, but once the pressures of forging a career, building a family and starting more, it can be exceptionally difficult to make time for exercise.

However, research shows that continuing physical activity during the later years of our lives can have extraordinary benefits and extend our lives.

entering it Today with Claire ByrnePhilip Boucher-Hayes was joined by Jenny Branigan, a physiotherapist at Total Physio Sandyford, and Professor Rose Anne Kenny, the Regius Professor of Medicine responsible for aging research at Trinity College Dublin, who both spoke about “future proof” of our bodies.

There are plenty of role models to show us that it’s never too late to improve your fitness. Kenny pointed to Charles Eugster, a former dentist who saw his fitness deteriorate as he got older, only to start resistance training at age 80 and win a medal in the over-90 category at the World Championships.

Kenny pointed out how resistance training is particularly good at preventing sarcopenia, the progressive loss of muscle mass due to the build-up of fat in the muscles. As Branigan said, preserving muscle mass is of utmost importance.

“We need to think about future proofing from our 30s,” he said. “That loss of lean muscle mass that Rose Anne mentioned there, which starts from the late 30s to the 40s. We might look the same in photographs, but that’s this infiltration of fat into our muscles.”

Some key signs are decreased grip strength or decreased endurance.

“It’s really about quality of life. We have to be thinking about those times when we’re really busy and I know people are busy with kids and careers, but we also have to make sure we prioritize that exercise. “

Branigan added that as we age, our flexibility and lean muscle mass naturally decline. “And with that, the balancing reactions are reduced, and ultimately, as this happens over longer periods, it reduces your confidence.”

He said that because of this, people start to feel that they are not able to exercise as much as they used to, so they develop “a smaller comfort zone of movement”. This perpetuates the idea that certain movements don’t suit them, so they stop trying to challenge their comfort zones.

“You have to constantly challenge your body, making sure you do different movements throughout the day so you’re resilient. If you suddenly have to run after a kid down the road, you can do that.”

Kenny said he suggests his patients get “a little bit more” of exercise each year after they turn 50, “and that should continue until the day you die.”

“It’s a mindset thing,” he added.

Kenny suggested doing an activity with others for encouragement and social support.

In particular, when it comes to resistance training, making sure you’re performing the right movements safely is especially important for older people. “It has to be done under supervision,” Kenny said.

Only 8 percent of people over 75 do any resistance training in the U.S., he added. “We actually need it more as we get older than we do when we’re young because of the muscle loss we’ve discussed.”

Exercising into old age is important for bone health, Branigan added. Strong muscles and resistance training can offset the chances of developing osteoporosis, as well as improve balance and reduce the risk of falls.

To listen to the full interview again, click above.

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Image Source : www.rte.ie

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