25 Again? How You Can Stay Young
We have never come across a person who wants to age faster and likes the health effects that come with it. Organizations are spending billions of dollars in research and development of ways to become and stay youthful.
What if we told you, you don’t need expensive research and the ways of reversing age have long been in existence? Don’t worry, we’re not going to ask you to do impossible things like finding the fountain of youth – we have Jack Sparrow for that.
Step #1 – Exercise
A recent study found that regular exercise throughout adulthood may protect our muscles against age-related loss and damage later. The research found that, on a cellular level, the muscles of active older men resemble that of 25-year old guys.
The muscles of active individuals weather damage way better than that of sedentary older people. Apart from muscle aging, active people are shown to have better energy levels as compared to their lethargic counterparts.
Workout To Keep Aging At Bay
It’s no secret that muscles are among the body parts most vulnerable to the ill effects of aging. Much is still to be discovered about the working of our cells and physiological systems, and why they start affecting some people and body parts earlier or more noticeable than others.
Almost everyone starts to lose muscle mass as they step into their 40’s. The bad news gets worse as the muscle loss can speed up as the decades pass by. While all the causes for this decline remain unknown, we have tips for you on how you can stay young.
Dr. Todd Trappe, a scientist at Ball State University says, “A lot of studies show that higher circulating inflammatory factors in people are associated with greater loss of muscle mass.” To verify this statement, scientists at the University gathered 21 active men in their 70-80s, 10 runners and cyclists in their 20s, and another 10 healthy but sedentary elderly men.
Blood and muscle tissue samples of the men were taken along with the measurement of their thighs as a marker of their muscle mass. An immediate connection between their age, lifestyle and thigh circumference was established.
The young cyclists and runners had the most muscular legs followed by the active elderly. The inactive elderly men had the thinnest legs. The scientists then made the men complete a session of brief but strenuous, lower-body weight training on a leg extension machine.
Since none of the men did weight training, the exercise was expected to stress their muscles in an unfamiliar way. A few hours later, the researchers drew blood and biopsied the men’s muscles. The scientists then checked the tissues for a broad slate of inflammatory cells and gene markers.
The Role of Inflammation
Inflammation involves multiple genes and cells that talk to other genes and cells and dynamically ramp up, or tamp down, the process. All this talk about inflammation but what is the role of inflammation, you might ask.
Inflammation helps tissues to heal and strengthen immediately after any bodily injury or strain – which includes strenuous exercise. But that’s not the end, if inflammation lingers, it can become harmful and, in muscles, block them from growing larger and stronger after exercise.
The researchers at Ball State University found that the inflammatory responses differed in the men. The young athletes displayed the least amount of inflammation in their blood and muscles at the start of the study and continued to do so after the workout.
In an interesting revelation, a similar response occurred in the muscles of the elderly athletes, although their inflammatory markers were slightly higher and their anti-inflammatory reactions a bit lower.
On the other hand, inflammation in the muscles of the untrained elderly men was much more of a bushfire, spiking higher than among the other men and showing fewer cellular signs of resolving any time soon.
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone responsible for the development of male reproductive tissues such as testes and prostate, as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and the growth of body hair.
One of the primary effects of aging is the decline in testosterone production in men. Low test levels can lead to many health-related issues. Studies have shown that working out, especially the compound (functional) lifts like squats, bench press and deadlifts can help boost testosterone levels naturally.
Testosterone Boosting Supplements
Limits Estrogen Production in Men
Estrogen is for women what testosterone is for men. The fall in testosterone levels in men is accompanied by a rise in the estrogen levels. High estrogen production in men can cause man boobs (or moobs), loss of hair, and muscle mass in men.
Think of the testosterone and estrogen production in your body to be like a game of see-saw – when one goes up, the other comes down. Since working out can boost test production in men, estrogen will always remain in check. While working out will boost test production in men and facilitate in building muscle mass, it helps women in keeping their muscles toned and in shape.
Regulates Cortisol Levels
High-stress levels can cause your cortisol levels to spike which can take a toll on your overall health by negatively affecting your BP, blood sugar, and testosterone levels. Studies have shown that moderately-intense exercises can help keep the tension at bay by balancing your hormones which is one of the ways of how you can stay young.
Your body releases dopamine, endorphins (also known as the happy hormones), and boosts your adrenaline when you workout. You will very rarely – if ever – walk out of a good training session feeling depressed or anxious.
Step #2 – Eat Right
As much as you would like it, you can’t follow a healthy diet by accident. Staying in shape needs constant work, smart lifestyle choices, and regular health and fitness check-ups. But what is a healthy diet, you might ask.
A healthy diet is enriched with macro and micronutrients. Your diet should have the right proportions of protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, and minerals to ensure the proper functioning of your body. Set a daily macro, micro and caloric goal for yourself and eat a wide range of foods to avoid any deficiencies.
Following a balanced diet that is rich in fiber and whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, unsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammations. High inflammatory levels can damage tissue, joints, artery walls, and organs.
Eating small but frequent meals can promote your body’s metabolism. Having 6-8 small meals a day will make sure that your body isn’t storing excess fat. A spike in metabolism rate can help burn fat even while you’re inactive.
You should stay away from highly processed food as the sugar and refined oils in them can cause spikes in blood sugar which can lead to early hunger. High BP is something you should avoid as it is linked to the development of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even dementia.
To avoid overly processed food, a rule of thumb should be – if it comes in a box, don’t eat it. You should develop a habit of reading the ingredient tables before buying anything that comes in a packet. When you start reading the labels, you’ll be surprised by the junk you had been eating all along.
Helps in Building Muscle
It’s no secret that eating right can help in shedding excess weight and building muscle mass. We highly recommend following a personalized diet plan as it can help save your precious time, money and hard work.
If you want to lose body fat or gain muscle, you should know your BMI (body mass index) and reverse engineer your calorie, macro and micro-nutrient goals from there. You should update your diet program as you see changes in your body or otherwise, you’ll risk hitting a plateau.
Step #3 – Avoid Being Stressed
While you can’t get rid of stress completely, you can learn ways of better dealing with them. We would highly recommend reading the works of Stoics like Seneca and Epictetus as it can completely change the way you perceive and deal with stress.
Long-term stress is linked with hypertension, diabetes, memory loss, fatigue, and decreased ability to fight off and recover from infection which can cause damage to the brain cells and lead to depression.
According to a study, more than 90% of illness is either caused or complicated by stress. Higher stress levels can also lead to a spike in cortisol levels which can take the health and fitness situation from bad to worse.
Step #4 – Focus on Recovery
Since you’re at the dusk of your physical prime years when you hit 50, you shouldn’t push yourself too hard. No matter how hard you train, how disciplined you are with your diet, you’ll only see the desired results when you’re properly rested.
You should aim for 6-8 hours of sleep every night to make sure your muscles get enough time to rest and recuperate after your workouts. Fun fact – humans can go longer without food than sleep. Many adults tend to cut out their sleep time as they age.
Shortening the sleep time can be catastrophic as elderly people need just as much sleep – if not more – as younger adults. If you didn’t already know, a lack of sleep can cause depression, irritability, increased fall risk, and memory problems.
You should develop a sleeping routine which helps you fall asleep as soon as you hit the bed. Avoid using your phone in bed and keep your bedroom dark. If you can’t get the 6-8 hours of sleep in one stretch, you should make up for the time by adding power naps in your day.
Step #5 – Use Supplements
As you age, you will notice that your recovery pattern isn’t anything like what it used to be. If you feel that you’re not recovering optimally after your workouts, you should consider using post-workout supplements.
Using joint support, immune system boosting supplements is a good idea as you near the half-century mark. With this being said, you should consult a doctor before using these supplements if you’re already on prescription drugs.
Remember – supplements are meant to fill the nutrition void which is left open by your real food diet. Some people make the mistake of relying solely on the supplements as they are convenient as compared to meeting the daily macronutrient and calorie goals through real food.
Step #6 – Take Control Of Your Brain
Since we’re talking about how you can stay young, we can’t leave out your psychological health. Staying in shape is as much a psychological task as its physiological. Many people limit their health and fitness program to a healthy diet and personalized fitness program. While some cognitive decline is a normal part of aging, studies have shown that cognitive stimulation through active learning slows cognitive decline.
Just as physically challenging tasks can help build muscle mass, psychologically challenging tasks can slow cognitive decline and build mental strength. Learning a new language, taking dance and music classes, playing mentally stimulating games like chess, reading a thought-provoking book are known ways of challenging your brain.
Lifelong Fit vs A Beginner
Age is one of the factors that hold elderly people back from joining a gym. Most of the over-50 people think that their “fit-life” ship has long sailed, and there is no way they can get in shape now. Contrary to popular belief, it’s never too late to start living a healthy life. And, after reading this article, you have all the knowledge needed on how you can stay young.
The muscles of elderly people might feel sore and inflamed when they start training. It shouldn’t be too big a deal as their muscles will respond and grow with time. Their muscles will start to resemble those of people who have been exercising lifelong.