Did you know being sedentary is one of the biggest factors in all disease and leads to early death? As a woman, your health is is directly related to your activity level. Let’s talk about what happens to your body if you’re active or not.
In your teens
Yes, fitness starts here. In fact the earlier kids adopt an active lifestyle, the healthier they are. Teen girls don’t have to be athletes to be active. Be sure your daughters and granddaughters get enough sleep -so they wake up refreshed in the morning. Encourage them to walk. Take dance or exercise classes with them. Just get them moving!
In your 20’s
Active …If you’re in your 20’s… and you stay active then you retain the strength, stamina and flexibility of your teen years. Your 20s are when your bones build their strength and density. So be sure you continue regular weight bearing exercise, consume plenty of calcium rich foods and get adequate caloric intake, so your bones will stay healthy for years to come.
Sedentary …But if you’re Sedentary …you may look great, but physical changes are already beginning to take place that have far reaching effects. Your aerobic capacity —the ability to transport oxygen throughout the body—begins to decline at the rate of 1 percent per year. After age 25, muscle mass can decrease by an average of 5 percent every decade. Metabolism begins to drop at a rate of 2 percent per year, which will translate into increasingly higher body-fat percentages. Any fat added now will be distributed evenly throughout your body. And you begin to experience tightness in your hips.
In your 30’s
Active …If you’re in your 30’s and you stay active, you look and feel as fit as you were in your 20’s. You’re still agile and coordinated plus your aerobic capacity is better than ever. Thanks to well-developed muscles and below average body fat, you look and feel great. If your bone strength has not yet peaked, it will by age 35. Although you won’t look it, you may a little weigh more because bone is so much heavier than fat.
Sedentary …But if you’re Sedentary …you will begin to feel your age. You don’t have much stamina and your arms and legs are weaker. That’s because your muscle fibers are starting to atrophy – meaning they’re shrinking and if you don’t get active, your muscle mass will continue to decline at a rate of 6.6 percent each decade from here on out. Plus you’re stiff since without regular stretching your muscles lose elastin. And you may have as much as 33 percent body fat, most of it concentrated in your hips and thighs. Along with that of your active peers, your sexual responsiveness reaches a peak—but you may not have the energy to enjoy it.
In your 40’s
Active …If you’re in your 40’s and you are Active…you remain as energetic and flexible as ever, with excellent aerobic stamina. Because of an inevitable decline in metabolism however, you may have a tendency to put on some body fat— particularly in your hips and thighs. But your high ratio of muscle to fat keeps your calorie burning capacity up, and this along with continued aerobic exercise, will counteract this tendency, keeping you around 22 percent body fat. Although due to gravity, you experience some compression of vertebrae in your back, but thankfully your strong muscles keep your stomach relatively flat and your back supple.
Sedentary …But if you’re Sedentary …you are by now 15 percent weaker than you were in your thirties, and the decline will be ever more dramatic past age 45. Your shoulders appear narrower as your muscle mass decreases in your upper back. The discs between your vertebrae begin to compress, so that with time you will be 1 to 1 ½ inches shorter, and your stomach will distend as the distance between your ribs and pelvis decreases. You’ve lost 40 percent of your range of motion in your hips and may develop varicose veins.
In your 50’s
Active …If you’re in your 50’s and you’re still Active …you have maintained every aspect of fitness. Your age shows only in your percentage of body fat, which continues to increase slightly—it’s probably up to 24 percent now. Gravity may start to take its toll on your body, and you may feel some wear and tear in your joints due to years of activity. You may want to rethink your workouts, switching to lower-impact activities like swimming or walking.
Sedentary …But if you’re in your 50’s and Sedentary …you have poor posture due to your continued drop in flexibility and muscle strength. You slouch forward, and have a protruding stomach and overarched lower back. All the repercussions of inadequate aerobic exercise begin to kick in: your blood pressure rises, you become more susceptible to diabetes and heart attacks. Now body fat begins to settle around your middle, your skin wrinkles and is tugged down by gravity.
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In your 60’s
Active …If you’re in your 60’s and still Active …you have strong, flexible muscles and plenty of stamina. Despite the effect menopause has on estrogen production, your bones are strong thanks in part to the weight bearing exercises and strength training you’ve done all your life. Because aerobic exercise has kept your heart strong, you remain able to pump healthy amounts of blood. You have about 26 percent body fat.
Sedentary …But if you’re Sedentary …you are 2 or 3 inches shorter by now and may have osteoporosis, partly because you have not done weight-bearing exercise that keeps bones strong. Your breasts begin to sag in earnest and your waist widens even more. Your heart is 10 to 15 percent weaker than it was when you were 20, and measurable changes in your immune system increase your risk of developing cancer and certain infections. Wrinkles are now deep creases and your skin is dry.
In your 70’s
Active …If you’re in your 70’s and still Active …you can work and play almost as hard as you did 30 years ago. Only a slight increase in body fat—amplified by the Earth’s pull—reveals your age, along with deeper creases in your face and a drier look to your skin due to a decline in oil production that occurs after menopause.
Sedentary …But if you’re Sedentary …you are in failing health as high blood pressure, brittle bones and unhealthy blood cholesterol levels leave you vulnerable to a host of serious diseases. Your flexibility, strength and stamina are about nil, and you may have developed the classic “dowager’s hump”. You have wrinkles on your cheeks, and your mouth turns down, so you appear as unhappy as you probably feel.
But it’s never too late to get Active. Just get up and get moving! Dance, walk, play.
Genesis Gold helps you age gracefully
Source: Self Magazine, September 1992, page 180-181