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What future are you designing for yourself? The still strong at 75 one or the one where you wonder “

I recently read an article in the New Zealand Herald that got me thinking. . . . the article was about how active people age better and why. They interviewed Jane Fonda, who at age 75, is still going strong. It was a great read since it was about one of my favourite topics – I am always talking about muscle loss and importance of actively maintaining it.

In today’s article I am going to talk about muscles loss and the “use it or lose it” phenomenon.

1185-Jane Fonda

The question is: “What future are you designing?” 

Quoting Jane Fonda:  “Some people mistakenly think, ‘Oh, I can’t exercise. I’ve never done it . . . or I stopped too many years ago! Well, we’ve all heard the truism, ‘Use it or lose it’. What this leaves out, however, is that if it’s lost we can get it back. Not only can we recover lost functions but in some cases we can actually increase function beyond our prior level.”

All of us know that we tend to put on weight as we get older. This is due partly to our tendency to be less active while continuing to eat the way we always have. But it is also due to the fact that we lose, on average, 3 to 5% of our muscle tissue each decade after the age of 30. This means our resting metabolism (basal metabolism) slows down. Unless we specifically tell our body to maintain our muscles and consciously eat the appropriate (and nutrient-rich) calories our metabolism will continue to slow and the Kgs will continue to pile on – not to mention becoming weaker and frailer.

The great news is that this can be very easily addressed by maintaining your muscle mass. And of course this is achieved by lifting some heavy weights on a regular basis. If you are thinking “but heavy weights will bulk me up” – remember we girls don’t have the testosterone to get us “big and bulky” like guys. Also there is a whole “calorie storage vs usage” balance that our body has to adjust to when you start a program before the results (ie dropping layers and toning up) starts to show. Both of these topics are fascinating tangents – but topics for another day . . . for now just trust me it’s true 🙂

Fitness centre older woman

The other great thing for men and woman is that we really only need 1 heavy weight lifting session, once per week and it can all be done and dusted in 30 minutes or less. This means there really is no such an excuses as “not enough time in my week”.

So what future are you designing for yourself? The still strong at 75 one or the one where you wonder “what if. . .”

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