Aging Strong: Strategies for Fitness as You Grow Older




5 min

Aging marks an irreversible journey but also an opportunity to deepen our connection with fitness. With the passage of time, fitness becomes more critical, not only for maintaining physical strength but also for prolonging a healthy life. In this process, through scientifically sound exercise, we can unlock our body's potential, improve our quality of life, and make aging a time of vibrancy and fulfillment. Therefore, fitness is not just a pursuit of external appearance but a care for internal health, allowing us to radiate even greater vitality in the river of time.

What happens to the body as we age?

1. Increased Risk of Diseases:

The rise in age often comes with an elevated risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and musculoskeletal conditions. Taking cardiovascular disease[1] as an example, the heart and blood vessels become stiffer. The filling of the heart slows down, and with a large influx of blood, rigid arteries cannot effectively dilate, leading to high blood pressure. This, in turn, can result in elevated blood pressure. The aging heart cannot accelerate its heart rate as rapidly as a younger heart, pumping out more blood in a short time. Consequently, the performance of elderly athletes is often inferior to that of younger athletes. However, regular aerobic training can enhance the performance of elderly athletes.

Changes in Bones and Reduced Joint Flexibility

2. Changes in Bones and Reduced Joint Flexibility:

With the increase in age, bone density decreases, making bones more fragile and prone to fractures. For women, the decline in estrogen levels after menopause accelerates the decrease in bone density. If these changes occur in the upper part of the spine, it can lead to forward tilting of the head, putting pressure on the throat. Swallowing becomes difficult, and choking is more likely to occur. The decrease in vertebral bone density causes the soft tissue (intervertebral discs) between the vertebrae to lose water and thin, leading to a shortened spine. Hence, many older individuals become shorter.[2]

The cartilage between joints thins due to constant wear and tear over the years, and the joint surface is not as smooth as before, making the entire joint more prone to injury. The joint surface can no longer slide as smoothly as before, increasing the risk of injury. Lifelong use of joints or repeated injuries causing cartilage damage often leads to osteoarthritis, a highly common disease in old age.

Ligaments (connecting joints) and tendons (attaching muscles to bones) lose elasticity, and joints become tight or stiff. These tissues also become more fragile. Therefore, the flexibility of most elderly people decreases. Ligaments and tendons are more prone to tearing, and once it occurs, healing is slow. All these changes are due to reduced activity in the cells that make up these ligaments and tendons.

3. Changes in Muscles and Fat:

Muscle tissue (muscle mass) and muscle strength start to decline around the age of 30 and continue throughout life. The decrease in muscle mass is partly due to a lack of exercise, but aging itself can cause a loss of muscle mass and strength of about 10% to 15% throughout adulthood, even without disease. In the absence of disease, most of this 10% to 15% loss beyond normal aging can be prevented through regular exercise. More severe muscle loss (also known as muscle atrophy, literally meaning muscle loss) is caused by disease or extreme lack of activity, not just aging.[3]

4. Did you know what doesn't change with age?

Metabolic slowdown is a common observation, but recent research published in the journal "Science" indicates that, accounting for differences in body size, your metabolism doesn't change from age 20 to 60.[4]

Understanding these changes and adopting a proactive lifestyle can help us maintain health and vitality as we age.

A singular exercise form may not meet the diverse needs of the body. Integrating aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises comprehensively enhances overall physical fitness, sustaining the health of muscles, joints, and the cardiovascular system.

The Optimal Approach to Exercise

A singular exercise form may not meet the diverse needs of the body[5]. Integrating aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises comprehensively enhances overall physical fitness, sustaining the health of muscles, joints, and the cardiovascular system.

1. Vitality Training:

When starting to exercise, gradual difficulty increase and repetition are essential. Ensuring proper posture is crucial; start with lighter loads and gradually increase to avoid injury. As age advances, emphasis on adaptation becomes critical, gradually elevating the load. Professional guidance is especially vital, providing age-appropriate vitality training plans to ensure challenging yet safe workouts.

Strength Training

2. Strength Training:

Gradually increasing training weight as you progress is crucial for increasing muscle mass and strength. However, caution is needed when adding weight—too quickly or excessively may lead to injury. Recommend a gradual incremental approach, adding moderate loads weekly while maintaining good form. With age, the focus should be on protecting joints while gradually increasing weight, avoiding hasty upgrades and prioritizing correct form.

Strength Training

3. Maintenance Training:

Once the ideal training weight is reached, resist the urge to rush further increases. Rapid upgrades can lead to excessive fatigue or potential harm. Maintain the current level, enhancing workout effectiveness through higher intensity and increased exercise difficulty. The ideal training weight should be challenging yet manageable; heed body signals, including fatigue and joint discomfort. In this phase, extra attention to maintenance is crucial, avoiding potential risks of overtraining.

Adopting these comprehensive exercise methods ensures an all-encompassing improvement in physical fitness, reducing injury risks and fostering long-term health and vitality.

Intelligent Exercise, Tailored to Your Age

Halytus is dedicated to providing more thoughtful designs for the older fitness community:

1. Personalized Workout Programs:

Halytus' app intelligently records your age, weight, and previous fitness experiences during the first login, providing personalized and suitable workout programs. This ensures that your exercise plan aligns with your physical condition and health goals.

2. Smart Fitness Tracking:

The app continuously tracks your fitness progress, automatically adjusting courses as you increase exercise frequency and time. This intelligent tracking ensures sustained progress on your fitness journey, always challenging at an appropriate intensity.

Smart Fitness Tracking

3. Diverse Exercise Movements:

Hookee offers a variety of exercises designed to effectively train different muscle groups. This design considers the physical differences of older users, making the exercise routine more comprehensive and targeted.

4. Adjustable Resistance:

The device's adjustable resistance factors in adaptability and protection. By appropriately adjusting resistance, it enhances body protection during exercise, minimizing the risk of overstrain. This feature provides users with a safer and more sustainable exercise experience.

In summary, Halytus embraces intelligent, personalized, and comprehensive design principles, aiming to make it easier and more enjoyable for users to integrate fitness into their lives, regardless of age.

Now, let's hear from a 53-year-old Ph.D. in Psychology and Health and wellness Expert, sharing her experiences and review of using Halytus Hookee.