This article was updated in January 2019
The aging of the Baby Boomer generation is leading to an increased focus on whether it’s possible to slow down aging. Each day, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers hit the age of 65, and there is a concern by health authorities that increasing health issues of the boomers mean that demands on the health system will rise dramatically.
Much attention has been given to whether the boomers are financially ready for their retirement, but being physically ready might be just as important. The average boomer may be able to look forward to another 20 years of life after retirement. The important question is then,
The important question is then, are we physically ready to be able to enjoy our longer life expectancy?
The good news is that the following health tips can help to prevent disease, slow down aging and even extend lifespan for Boomers. Best of all they can also help to maintain or even improve the overall quality of life.
Tip #1: Focus on the Cardio
Most medical practitioners now recommend 30 minutes a day of light cardio as a way to prevent the onset of heart disease. All exercises involve working muscles to increase their strength and resilience. The heart is one of the most important muscles for our health and fitness.
Cardio exercises are any activities that raise the heart rate for long enough to have a training effect. This might include anything from walking and dancing to bicycling and running. As a way of reducing stress on their bones and joints, some Boomers are turning to home gyms with built-in cardio workouts. Rowing machines, for example, are a common feature of home gyms.
Latest research has found that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is very effective and efficient in developing and maintaining the health of the heart.
What’s more, a study reported in the March 7th, 2017 edition of Cell Metabolism showed that HIIT exercises actually caused cells to produce more proteins which feed the processes that re-generate cells.
This was more than an action to slow down aging as the effect was to stop aging by the production of healthy new cells.
Tip #2: Quit Smoking
If there’s one single way to reduce the chance of death through cancer, strokes or heart failure, it’s to stop smoking. By now, the medical evidence is incontrovertible.
The added bonus for Boomers is that stopping smoking also will improve physical appearance and quality of life. Your skin will look better, you will breathe better and you will sleep better. And it will help you live longer.
But if you have been a smoker most of your life, you know all this, and you know how hard it is to stop. The good thing is being prepared to try again. One of these times it will work for you. If you’d like some help and new ideas that have worked for many people, click this link now!
Tip #3: Add Strength Training to Your Weekly Routine
For Boomers, strength training and lifting weights is not about vanity – it’s about better health. By age 50, both men and women begin to lose muscle mass.
It’s important to focus on strength training to tone muscle and regain muscle mass. You can do this either with free weights or with machines that use resistance training.
The good news is that strength training has a very significant beneficial effect on the whole body. When muscles are being exercised that triggers a bio-chemical response that increases the amount of calcium deposited in the bones. It’s a logical process. The muscles are working harder and growing bigger, so the bones the muscles are attached to need to be stronger to support the extra workload. The magic of the process is that just lifting weights to develop biceps will result in bones being strengthened throughout the body.
As we are aging, lean muscle mass that we have developed in our younger years begins to decrease with age. Shock horror, the much prized lean muscle mass converts into fat as it declines. Strength training as a regular routine will stop that process.
When we are regularly exercising our muscles, we are also strengthening the connective tissue and tendons. This is important for the efficiency of the way our body moves, and the balance of the body and decreases the risk of falls and injuries.
In terms of safety and results, many fitness experts now recommend the resistance training that you’ll find in many home gym machines. They work each muscle through a much wider range of motion and prevent the risk of injury from using free weights.
Tip #4: Slow Down Aging with a Healthy Diet
Eating healthier will not only make you feel better, it will also prevent the onset of disease. Swapping out sugary soft drinks for water, for example, will help to prevent chronic disease like diabetes.
Most people have heard of the Mediterranean Diet as being good for general health. Increasing research has confirmed the very significant benefits to overall health and disease prevention as a result of diet changes.
Your goal should be a well-balanced diet that has been optimized for caloric consumption.
As a rule of thumb, many dietitians now recommend “colorful” meals, in which there are plenty of greens, yellows, oranges and reds.
This means that you are getting the right vitamins and nutrients for a strong and healthy body. You should also be looking for lean cuts of meat and chicken to reduce fat.
Tip #5: Watch Your Weight
On a related note, you need to be watching your weight. By middle age, many men may begin to notice an expanding waistline. Many women may notice the appearance of cellulite in unexpected places.
Losing that extra weight has real health implications – it can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
If you’re not sure what your optimal weight should be, one tool to use is the Body Mass Index (BMI). What the BMI does is take your height and give you a suggested range of weight that will keep you healthy. Keeping your weight under control is one of the best ways to slow down aging.
Tip #6: Improve Your Balance and Flexibility
As Boomers age and lose flexibility, they also increase their risk of slips and falls. That could lead to dangerous accidents.
For older seniors who are struggling with osteoporosis, those slips and falls could lead to serious broken bones. So, to improve balance and flexibility, you can practice stretching more before every workout.
You can also focus more on working out the body’s core. Both men and women can use yoga and Pilates to work the “stabilizer” muscles that are hard to work with free weights alone. Many high-end home gyms will include exercises specifically targeting the core. Avoiding falls, strains, and breaks is an important way to slow down aging.
Tip #7: Have Regular Medical Exams
The days of going in for a checkup only once a year are over. For Boomers, it’s important to start thinking beyond just the annual medical exam. That’s because the health risk for certain diseases starts to trend up dramatically after age 50.
That’s when women should start scheduling mammography exams to detect the onset of breast cancer. That’s also when men should start scheduling prostate exams to detect the onset of prostate cancer.
Also, it’s useful to take vision and hearing exams more seriously. Eyesight also starts to deteriorate significantly after age 50.
Tip #8: Train the Brain
There’s been a mini-boom in “brain training” exercises, and for good reason. Researchers have shown that keeping the brain healthy and active can prevent the onset of dementia or other cognitive diseases.
Doing puzzles and brainteasers are just part of the solution. Another way to train the brain is by learning new activities. It’s never to late to pick up a new hobby and slow down aging of your brain.
Tip #9: Reduce Stress
The human body is ill-prepared for chronic stress. You can blame evolution for that. As a result, reducing stress is about more than just feeling better at the end of the day or getting a better night’s sleep. It’s also about preventing the risk of chronic disease.
Stress, in short, can lead to chronic diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease. Some choose to reduce stress via meditation and listening to calm, soothing music. Others just love to hit the gym and take out their frustrations on the weight machines! It is important to take action to slow down aging.
Tip #10: Understand the Link Between Exercise and Diet
It’s easy to think of exercise and diet as two very different ways to become healthier and live a better lifestyle. But it’s important to see them as vitally interconnected.
Changing your diet to lose weight and eat healthier is just part of the equation. You won’t see real results unless you are also working out multiple times per week.
The same is true for working out regularly. You won’t see any weight loss if you’re still eating processed foods and consuming a lot of sugar.
Putting It All Together
It’s easy to see that adopting a holistic approach to heath and wellness is the best way to reduce the health risks of an aging population. It’s also important to point out that there are no immediate, short-term fixes.
As a Baby Boomer, you need to make these health tips part of your everyday lifestyle. By doing so, you will not only slow down aging and prolong your life, you will also improve and maintain the quality of your life.
Graham Forbes setup Getfitnessathome.com to provide and share information on ways to improve fitness training. We are committed to supporting your fitness program for the sake of your health and the benefit of your friends family and the wider community