Archive for the tag - age

Am I Too Old To Get Back In Shape?

Dear Davey,

I’m 41. I’ve battled obesity for the majority of my life. I hit 200 pounds when I was 12, and 300 pounds by the time I turned 30. When I was 36 I decided to turn things around, and I lost 132 pounds through diet and exercise. I was so proud of myself.

I managed to keep that weight off for almost four years, then last year I suffered several personal crisis in a row, and let things slip. I’ve gained back 78 pounds of the weight that I worked so hard to get rid of.

I am so depressed and angry with myself for allowing it back on. I also don’t feel like I can push myself like I used to.

Can I get back to what I was at before? I know that our bodies change as we age, so I’m worried it’s going to be harder. It’s only been five years, but I feel so much older this time and I know people lose muscle mass with age. For the best results, should I put more focus on cardio or weight training?

Thanks,
Dwight

Jordan-Jovtchev

Dear Dwight,

For best results, it’s not about cardio or weight training. It’s not even about age. It’s about attitude.

In the paragraphs above, you outline a number of excuses. In a nutshell, they include:

  • I’m too old.
  • It’s harder.
  • People lose muscle with age.

Excuses don’t create results. Instead, as the saying goes, excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure. As such, let me destroy each of your excuses, one by one.

First, you said that you’re too old. I’m reminded of a elderly man that I met in San Diego. Jogging along on the treadmill next to me, he told me he was 91. With his World War II cap proudly on display, he outran almost everyone else at the gym. If he’s not too old, you’re not too old.

Second, you said it’s harder. Yes, getting into shape requires energy and effort. But do you know what’s harder than working out? Dealing with the effects of obesity, coping with internalized anger and dying of a heart attack at age 50.

Third, you said that people lose muscle with age. You’re right, to an extent. The condition to which you refer is sarcopenia; as people age, skeletal muscle mass and strength can be lost. But what’s also true is that sarcopenia can be prevented – and even reversed – through physical activity.

You could probably come up with more excuses. But I promise you that I’ve already heard them. And I can also promise you that they’re equally destroyable. So let’s save ourselves the time and cut to the chase.

The truth is, your greatest obstacle is yourself.

Instead of becoming increasingly frustrated, recognize that your existing problem can only be solved with a new perspective. The solution isn’t a workout plan or a diet. It’s a new way of looking at things and a new attitude.

You have an opportunity.

Through 41 years of life and your weight journey, you’ve learned a lot. Tap into that wisdom and create a new 40s for yourself. And then a new 50s. And so on. Build on your life experience not for declining health but for a renewed commitment to fitness expressed through an active lifestyle.

Love,
Davey

P.S. Because losing weight is about more than diet and exercise, I recommend downloading Davey Wavey’s Weight Loss Program to create truly lasting results.

Fitness at 40 for Men!

Dear Davey,

I am 43 years old. I have tried working out with a trainer, I have joined gyms, I have changed my diet, I have tried every pill potion, powder and DVD there is to buy… all with no results. My question is this: is it even possible, at my age, to get rid of the gut, and gain some lean muscle? What do you recommend for us old guys?

From,
Corey

Hey Corey

Goodness! You make 43 sound like you’ve already got one foot in the grave – and I know that’s not the case!

The short answers to your question is YES! It is definitely possible for someone in their 40s to get rid of their gut and gain lean muscle. In fact, it’s possible for someone twice your age! You can build muscle at any age – and, as we get older, building and maintaining muscle becomes increasingly important.

In other words, 43 isn’t an excuse. It’s a reason. And it can be a great motivator.

You say that you’ve tired everything, and that nothing has worked. If you follow the strength training basics – and support your training with a proper diet – your body will build muscle. Any other result is scientifically impossible. It’s just a question of combining an effective weight loss plan and strength training program with the required time, energy and effort.

Keep in mind, results take time. If you try a program for 2 weeks and don’t see results, it doesn’t mean that your body isn’t transforming. And it’s certainly not a reason to give up. You may just need a little more time. I’d encourage you to stick with a sound and effective program for 2 months or more – and then evaluate your results.

And when you do evaluate your results, do so objectively. Take various body measurements (i.e., weight, waistline, chest, biceps, etc.) and compare the numbers on day 1 to the numbers on day 60. The numbers won’t lie.

I also recommend taking a before and after picture. Because many of the changes are slow, we don’t always notice the gradual transformation while looking in the mirror each day. But when compared side-by-side, you should be able to see some fairly major differences.

Also, pay attention to the non-physical benefits you’ll receive – like increased energy, better sleep and greater endurance. These count, too!

In the comments below, I’d love for the 40+ crowd to share some of their advice and feedback for Corey. I’ll send three lucky commentators a free copy of my Ultimate Guide to Working Out!

Love,
Davey

Too Old to Exercise?

Proving time has no power.

If I have heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times: “I’m too old to workout. I just can’t get into shape at this age.”

Excuses, excuses.

This morning, in my San Diego gym, I was working out alongside an elderly individual. With his intense cardio and strength training routine, he put many of the younger guys to shame.

I noticed a World War II hat on the gentleman’s head – and so I asked him if he, like my grandfathers, had served in the war. Turns out, he had. Moreover, I also learned that he’s 91 years old. Yup, 91. If he’s not too old to workout, then what’s your excuse?

As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass. This condition is known as sarcopenia. According to the US National Library of Medicine:

Advancing adult age is associated with profound changes in body composition, the principal component of which is a decrease in skeletal muscle mass. This age-related loss in skeletal muscle has been referred to as sarcopenia… Reduced muscle strength in the elderly is a major cause for their increased prevalence of disability.

The good news is that sarcopenia can be prevented – and even reversed – through physical activity and exercise. In addition, exercise keeps metabolic levels higher, prevents reductions in bone density, improves aerobic capacity and better manages insulin sensitivity. In other words, though exercise is important for all people, it’s especially important for aging populations.

Instead of saying, “I’m too old to workout” it may make more sense to say, “I’m too old not to workout.”

New Study: Use Exercise to Shave Off 30 Years.

DILF Alert: Are you my daddy?

Forget skin creams, cosmetic surgery and youth-in-a-bottle gimmicks, a newly published study by Norwegian researchers shows that exercise can shave 30 years off your body’s biological age. Sorta.

As we age, it’s no secret that our bodies transform. Our metabolisms slow down and our muscle mass tends to decrease over time. But, according to research, it doesn’t have to be this way. Phsyical activity – rather than age – is a far more important in determining an individual’s fitness level:

By increasing the intensity of your exercise, you can beat back the risk of metabolic syndrome, the troublesome set of risk factors that can predispose people to type 2 diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular problems.

The study compared measures of fitness with cardiovascular risk factors and other assessments of overall health across different ages of sedentary and active individuals. Middle-aged gym bunnies rejoice: Active 50 year-olds were found to be just as healthy and fit as less active 20 year-olds.

Researchers dug deeper into the findings and found that, in terms of effectiveness, the intensity of exercise was far more important than the duration of exercise. Rather than spending countless hours at the gym, it’s wiser to engage in shorter, high intensity workouts. Specifically, the study mentions the effectiveness of interval training (alternating high and low intensity cardio) as a quick way to improve overall fitness.

The bottom line: High intensity workouts do wonders to improve your overall health and fitness – and thus, can shave decades off your body’s biological age.

Ask Davey: Am I Too Young to Lift Weights?

Hey Davey,

I’ve been working out for about a month now, and have been losing quite a bit of weight, mostly inspired by you and the blog. I’m 17, and my parents keep going on about strength training and how I’m too young to do any strength training, but they can’t seem to tell me why its bad for someone of my age. I’ve been doing a bit anyway, with fairly light weights, but I’d like to go onto bigger ones. Is there any truth to being to young? If so, when can I start?

From,
Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

If you put yourself in your parents’ shoes, it’s easy to understand their concern. They probably want to know your motivations. They may worry that you are insecure with your appearance. Or that you are being picked on at school. Or even that you’re giving in to peer pressure. From their perspective, they may be concerned about an underlying problem, and so it’s best for you to be open and honest about why you’re interested in lifting weights. Communicate with your parents.

Moreover, like most people, your parents probably don’t fully understand strength training or any possible risks.

The truth is, strength training is perfectly healthy for young people, and it provides a number of great benefits such as:

  • Increased strength
  • Improved endurance
  • Faster metabolism
  • Promotes healthy body weight
  • Stronger bones
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Healthier cholesterol levels and blood pressure

Much of the concern about weight lifting in younger populations surrounds the myth that strength training stunts growth. The myth is rooted in some truth: If proper form isn’t maintained and/or the youth is engaged in excessive lifting, growth plates could be damaged. To ensure safer lifting, pay special attention to your form and don’t overly exert yourself.

Strength training is safe for young people, even much younger than yourself. And it’s certainly much safer than almost any other sport that your high school might offer. But you don’t have to take my word for it: The Mayo Clinic, The National Strength and Conditioning Association and American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend strength training in children for the above reasons.

It’s always wise to consult a physician, whether you’re an adult or child, before starting a new fitness routine. And with younger populations, supervision is recommended and heavy bodybuilding or power-lifting should generally be avoided until certain developmental criteria are met.

Hope that helps!

Love,
Davey

8 Ways Exercise Keeps You Young.

Want to live a long, happy and healthy life? Research suggests that exercise might just be the fountain of youth for which you are searching.

Here are 8 age-defying effects of exercise:

  1. Faster metabolism – and less body fat. Your metabolic rate is the rate and which your body burns calories to maintain itself. As we age, this rate decreases by a few percentage points each decade until around age 50 – though the amount of food we eat, often does not. As a result, a slower metabolism is one reason (of many) that people tend to gain weight as they age. By combining both strength training and cardiovascular exercise with good nutrition, you can reverse this.
  2. Extends your life and it prevents debilitating disease and illness. Staying active has been linked to both an increase in longevity and decrease in diseases like type II diabetes and obesity. Exercise also has a positive effect on the body’s immune system, preventing illness like the flu or common cold which can become serious in older populations.
  3. Builds stronger bones. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, to create stronger and denser bones, you must put pressure on them. Just like our muscles, bones adjust to the stress put on them. Load bearing exercises and cardio like walking, running and step classes have been proven to increase bone density – making osteoporosis or breaks less likely. Exercises like swimming and cycling are less effective as they don’t put as much pressure on the bones.
  4. Younger cells. Researchers discovered that regular exercisers have longer telomeres – the DNA on either end of thread-like chromosomes. Telomere length is critical to the aging process – once telomeres get too short, cells stop dividing and die. This research suggests that the anti-aging benefits of exercise go all the way to the molecular level.
  5. Improved balance. Earlier in 2010, my grandmother lost her balance on the stairs and took a terrible fall. Though it’s been 10 months, she still walks with a cane and the whole ordeal has aged her greatly. Working out regularly helps improve balance and prevent falls – and there are a number of exercises that target balance specifically.
  6. Better flexibility. Yoga, or exercise programs that incorporate stretching, lead to dramatically improved flexibility. Like balance, flexibility helps prevent falls. And if you do take a tumble, being flexible can help minimize the risk of injury.
  7. More energy. Ever notice how you feel even more tired when you oversleep? Feeling tired and lethargic is often the result of being inactive. Endurance exercises improve stamina and energy.
  8. Improved mental health and brain functioning. Numerous studies have linked exercise to decreased stress, anxiety and depression and improved sleeping patterns and feelings of well being. Studies also show that exercisers perform better on mental tests than sedentary individuals.

Of course, if you extend the timeline out far enough, the survival rate for all of us eventually reaches zero. Exercise isn’t about escaping death; it’s really just about enhancing the quality and quantity of the time you spend on this planet. And more time on Earth = more time to share your love, touch lives and serve others.