Aging and the Fountain of Youth

fountain of youth - Lauren Parsons blog

Aging…it’s inevitable.

We all face it and discover how it seems to overtake us with ever increasing speed. Our wrinkles increase, sun spots appear where before there were none and we realise that what was once firm, taught and in its rightful place has softened, moved or wandered off completely!

‘Muscle tone’ and ‘metabolism’. We’ve all heard of this terminology but what do these words really mean? What’s the big deal with metabolism and why is it mentioned so often?

Muscle tone is essential for maintaining the major driver of your metabolism, namely your base metabolic rate (BMR). Your BMR is responsible 70% of all the calories you burn every day. It’s a major driver of whether you gain or lose excess body fat, and of how much of your favourite foods/drinks you can enjoy and still stay in shape.

As we age our muscles atrophy (break down and get smaller and weaker) and as a result our metabolism slows. It becomes easier to gain excess body fat and the downward spiral starts. Gravity also takes certain things downwards as we lose tone!

Loss of muscle and loss of strength are the two major biological makers of aging. No ointment from a pottle can reverse your biological age, but there is something that truly can!

They say that “you are only as old as you feel!” and it’s true that your biological age does not have to reflect your chronological age.

You can defy time and harness the power of the true fountain of youth!

It has eluded scholars and explorers for centuries, but here is it right within your grasp, you don’t even need to travel….

Do regular strength training.

Or put simply… lift heavy things.

By lifting heavy things you can keep your body biologically strong, lean and young! The heaviest thing that we carry around all day every day is our own body; think about that! By learning a handful of effective exercises to add into your day (while the jug is boiling or just before you jump in the shower for example) you can harness the fountain of youth anywhere anytime.

I hope you’re as excited as I am about this revelation!

Often women avoid lifting weights or doing strength exercises fearing they will bulk up, but just remember that this is virtually impossible as we have less than one twentieth the amount of testosterone of men.

Countless clients of mine over the years have come to me disheartened after trying to ‘lose weight’ just by doing cardiovascular exercise (e.g. walking, biking or running) and had little success. An important piece of the puzzle was missing! Once they added a simple strength training routine in alongside the cardio, the boost to their metabolism worked quickly to help them drop body fat and see results fast. As we age this is increasingly important to include.

The reason that strength training is so effective is that unlike cardio which burns more calories for example during the 20 minutes that you do it, strength training burns more calories for those 20 minutes, but also raises your BMR permanently so you burn more calories 24 hours, seven days a week. Picture your body as a fat burning machine, working away at shaping and toning your body, even while you sleep.

It is as simple as adding effective strength exercises to your life for 5-10 minutes, once or twice a week. (Note the word effective; not all exercises are made the same). Be sure to stick to compound exercises that work lots of muscles at once and functional exercise which strengthen your body for everyday movements.

With a good strength routine you can keep your entire body strong, maintaining your metabolism, improving joint and bone strength as well as healthy, supple and vibrant.

Imagine being able to run around with your great grand kids and swing them in the air! What a groovy granny/grandy you would be!

As an aside… I recall once during a group fitness session I was exalting the benefits of a certain exercise, saying “Imagine being 92 and being able to bend down and touch your toes, and being able to throw your grandkids in the air.” One of the team looked up at me with a dead pan expression and said, “Lauren, when I’m 92… my grandkids will be 50!”

It certainly was an amusing mental image and got our abs working (laughter being a great abdominal exercise!) I have now changed my standard patter to talk of great or even great-great-grand children!

Wouldn’t we all love to have more vim, vigour and vitality to enjoy life every day?

While the aesthetic benefits of strength training are fantastic, the health benefits are even more impressive.

By adding strength training to your routine, you not only strengthen your muscles helping you with everyday tasks, you can also strengthen your bones, reduce injury and stave off arthritis and osteoporosis. You can improve blood lipid profiles, insulin resistance, and maintain a healthy body composition avoiding obesity and all its related diseases. Ultimately you can avoid an early death.

Yes, I know we all die from something one day. Just consider how much it would be worth for you to have those extra few years to meet those extra grandchildren and great-grandchildren and be able to enjoy life with them.

Yes life is busy, just like everything else in life it comes down to priorities.

You really are worth it, so I urge you to fit strength training into your routines.

Check out our resources page for some great tools to help you workout from the comfort of home.

Quick Tip: Start out by snacking on exercise and build up from there!

I wish you all the best for a strong successful year ahead.

Stay active, stay strong and enjoy life to the full, now and always!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, please comment below…

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