Evidence of the supposedly inevitable drop in our peak physical performance seems to be all around us. Footballers start losing their edge in their early 30s and by about 35 are struggling to make the team. Ordinary gym goers find that intense exercise starts to get harder in their 40s as their maximum heart rate declines with age. And in our 50s and 60s, the ugly spectre of muscle loss raises its head. Left unchecked, it will make even the act of sitting down a difficult task for any sedentary person hitting their 70s.
But it’s nature and you can’t do anything about it, right? Wrong. As fitness experts better understand what happens to the human body as we age, they’re realising that much of the decline can be slowed and even reversed with the right kind of exercise.
Look at how you train now. Typically, as you reach your goals, you set new ones and change your training program in order to overload your body so that you keep progressing.
With the emergence and popularity of a number of different ways to train, such as high intensity interval training and Olympic lifting, many of you may be including these types of exercises in your workouts. You may have grown tired of your previous training program or simply love the idea of mixing up your training sessions.
Regardless of why you want to evolve or change your training, the question you will ask yourself is: does this type of exercise help me reach my goal? But now there’s a new, really important question to consider as well: are you training the best way for your age?
Sport science is showing that exercise can slow down, and in many respects, reverse the physiological effects of ageing on your body, such as reduced muscle mass and function, bone and joint strength and mobility.
However, you probably didn’t know that the type of training you do plays a significant role in how you age. By making some small adjustments to your workout, you can help anticipate your body’s physiological shifts so that, as you continue to grow older, you also become fitter and stronger.