It usually dawns on us around this age that we have been neglecting our bodies. Fitness at 40 becomes a mantra we would all like to live by and turn around the last couple of years of being nonchalant about our lifestyles. A lot of us have been busy battling our daily lives with pressure of work, commute, running of the house, taking care of children and elders in the family, basically the daily grind. We have forgotten to take care of our own needs putting everything and everyone before us till comes a wake up call.
Sometimes it is as mild as the first body aches and pains. We start feeling the stiffness in our joints as we walk up the stairs, bend to pick up things, getting tired after a little exertion, breathless if we run to catch our children and such small tell-a-tale signs. But sometimes it’s that rude shock like the onset of diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, osteoporosis or even a heart attack. Our body sends us warning signals long before which we in advertently fail to understand. Though the human body is self repairing in many ways, and is conditioned to adapt too but we end up pushing its limits. If we do not give it the time to recuperate how will it heal?
Even those how have had a relatively easy life without the stress of all of the above, face similar situations. And we are forced to think maybe all the good things in life weren’t so good after all. The late night partying with friends, the “ma ke haath ka” halva on festive occasions, the lazy Sundays, the gourmet holidays……all of which also burden the body just as much as the daily grind.
It is at this stage that fitness goes for a toss. Your metabolic rate starts falling, bone density starts decreasing, wear and tear of the joints, muscles and organs shift into faster gears. All of this is inevitable but we can press the pause button, slow the detrimental processes, increase our health quotient and alter our fitness levels to be fit at 40. However do not confuse fitness in the gym with being fit. So what exactly is fitness after 40? It’s is being able to optimize your food intake with your calorie burnout. It’s being able to keep your metabolism high enough to provide enough oxygen to all your organs so that they work to their best capacity. It’s being able to be functional fit, ie; you should be able to do all of your daily routine without compromise, pain free and with ease.
To do all of the above it is essential for you to receive all the nutrients your body requires. Vit D and B12 are the ones that optimize the absorption of the other nutrients, so if these levels are low you are bound to face trouble ahead. Calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous are required for bone health and muscle repair. Niacin, Thiamine, Pantothenic Acid, Pyridoxine and folate all of which are B vitamins are essential for the nervous system and synthesis of hormones and energy production. Selenium and iodine are important to keep the smooth working of the thyroid gland which is like a manager of metabolism. So while most of the people might simplify their food with protein, carb and fat breakup, it is also equally important to re fuel the catalysts and components of good health, the vitamins and minerals.
It is essential that we keep our body active. For a car that sits in the garage will soon rust from the inside even if cleaned and polished regularly. Exercise keeps the machine running smoothly. It also makes you aware when a part is under-utilized or misused. Functional training is that kind of exercise that makes the levels of fitness that correspond with your lifestyle possible. Eg : It is not necessary for a swimmer to be able to do a deadlift of a 100kg, but it is important that he/she be nimble and lean as speed is the essence of what they do. Similarly, for a homemaker, being able to run a marathon is not as important as being able to have perfect mobility of her arms, to cook, clean, lift up her children etc. In both the cases the kind of workout would be totally different and yet equally essential for optimization of their lifestyle. So do not hit the gym, lift weights or sign up for marathon training just because your friends are doing it. Choose wisely and correctly so that you give shape to a fitter you.
Being fit after 40 requires a little re-structuring of your life in terms of what food you eat and what exercise you do. Invest in that now and reap the benefits of an active and healthy life ahead.
Read The Times of India article – click here