Warning: Your fitness is declining sooner than expected | Well-being



Most people find that their muscle strength, balance, coordination, and other aspects of their fitness will decline as they get older – but they assume “older” means in their late sixties or seventies. at the end of the sixties. Well, here’s an unfortunate surprise: Physical declines start earlier than many people think, often when they’re still in their 50s, according to new research from the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development at Duke University. School of Medicine in Durham, North. Caroline.

“I think subtle changes in our physical abilities go largely unnoticed until they become problematic,” says Miriam Morey, lead author of the study, professor of medicine and co-director of the Duke Older Americans Independence Center. “This is why this study was a great opportunity for us to examine physical functioning throughout adulthood and to highlight the critical decades in which changes begin to occur.”

To assess age-related changes in people’s physical performance, the researchers asked 775 participants between the ages of 30 and 90 to perform a variety of physical tasks designed to measure strength, endurance, balance and walking speed. While men generally performed better than women at all ages, the age at which physical declines started to appear (the 1950s!) Were the same for both sexes. It was at this point that both men and women began to lose the ability to get up from a chair and stand on one leg. Further declines in walking speed and aerobic endurance occurred in participants in their 60s and 60s.

Not only was it surprising that a significant decline in function began as early as the 1950s, but the magnitude of the difference in performance on certain tasks between people in their 30s and those in the 80s and 90s was revealing, explains. co-author Katherine. Hall, assistant professor of medicine at Duke. When it comes to balance, for example, “people in their ’80s and’ 90s performed 76 percent worse than those in their 30s,” Hall says, while “with aerobic endurance, [which was measured by] On the six-minute walk test, the difference was only 30 percent between the youngest and oldest cohorts. To me, this suggests that lower body strength and balance are particularly vulnerable areas and should be considered in health promotion activities. “

The result: Everyone must take steps to preserve physical function in early adulthood, Hall says. While some degree of physical decline is inevitable as people age, the rate or severity of this loss varies widely from person to person – and it is a mistake to expect that to happen. ‘installed. The key to minimizing or delaying this fall, says Hall, is to stay active with a well-balanced exercise program that includes a variety of activities that target endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.

“The earlier you start, the better,” says Pete McCall, a personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise and an adjunct exercise science faculty member at Mesa College in San Diego. “Exercise can slow down a number of different measures of the aging process.” In fact, by doing the right forms of exercise in your 30s, 40s, and 50s, he adds, you can avoid age-related declines in your 60s, 70s, and 80s. To that end, McCall recommends doing the following:

  • Intensive resistance training two to three times a week

  • Light cardio or yoga exercises once or twice a week

Plus, McCall says performing basic movements to increase lower body strength and balance at least three times a week can make a substantial difference. Here is a routine you can do at home:

Cup squat with kettlebell(Getty Images)

30 seconds of jumping jacks (2 to 3 sets ideally) to warm up your muscles.

Deadlifts: Pick up a large bottle of laundry detergent from the floor and lower it using your hips (keep a slight bend in the knees). Do this 10 to 15 times.

Goblet squats: Hold a gallon of water at chest level as you squat and stand up; don’t let your knees move in front of your toes as you squat. Do 10 to 15.

Box step

Step-ups(Getty Images)

Step-ups: Step onto a box or step (at knee height or lower) with your right foot, balance on that foot for 3-5 seconds at the top, then descend with your right foot and then your left. Do a set of 8 to 12 with your right leg, then repeat the movements with your left leg.

Pack a 20-pound bag of dog food: Hold it with one arm as you walk 25 feet. Switch arms and wear it the other way around. “This helps build stability and strength in the spine, which helps with balance,” says McCall.

Get up and go 10 times: This involves getting up from a chair, using only your legs (no hands!), Then lifting one foot (so you are balanced on the other) for 3-5 seconds before returning to a seated position. Repeat this movement, balancing on alternate feet.

High boards

High boards(Getty Images)

Balance on one leg with toe touches: Stand up and balance on your left foot, then extend your right leg out to the side and press your toes towards the floor at the 3 o’clock position; lift your right foot, extend your leg to the 5 o’clock position and touch the floor. Come back to stand on both legs. Repeat this movement 5 to 10 times with each leg.

High boards: Get into a regular push-up position, with only your hands and toes on the floor. Stand straight and flat, as if you are on top of a push-up, while squeezing your thighs and glutes, for 30 seconds; Relax for 30 seconds, then repeat, working up to four repetitions. With this movement, “you wire all the muscles in the body to work together and create more stability,” McCall says.


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