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Your Fitness Program Exercise & Dietary Needs Change as You Reach Middle Age

"I want to be the oldest guy at the gym and still bench pressing enough to have the young guys notice.

I don't want to set any world records, but I want my athletic performance to be considerable enough to bolster my self esteem." Does this quote meet with your approval?

When we started exercising for fitness and strength our goal was to improve the quality of our lives (and pump up our self esteem, too) with good health and longevity.

What are we going to do when we do age and experience a diminishing of our physical capability?

With the proper adjustments to our exercise and dietary needs, there may be no reason to be concerned. Our capacity for exercise and physical activity may not diminish very much.

First of all, by strength training on a regular basis, both men and women are able to slow glandular aging by exercising and fitness considerably.

In fact, in men, testosterone levels actually rise from strength training, independent of special diets or supplements.

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What Happens When We Age

As we age, the rate of cell division slows down making it take longer to recover from exercise and for our tissue to rebuild.

There is a decline in elasticity in joints, skin and ligaments. This makes some exercises harder to perform with a full range of motion.

There is a decline in maximum heart rate and in our power output.

All of this may be slowed, halted or even reversed with the proper exercises and nutritional supplementation. There is no reason to slow or stop our fitness regimen just because we are aging.

It is a known fact that the person who remains fit throughout their lives will always be physiologically younger than their contemporary who is a couch potato.

But that couch vegetable can stop or even reverse their decline by getting up and exercising.

Some of the world records in power lifting were set by people over 40. The world's best time for the marathon (26+ miles) for a 50 year old is 2:11. This time would win most international events.

Sure, your intensity levels may have to be adjusted to accommodate the slower regeneration of tissue at middle age, but with these adjustments made, our fitness program may continue until we are ready for the bone-yard.

Our middle-aged joints are more vulnerable to injury, but supplements like glucosomine will help renew the cushion in our joints.

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There are a number of actions that will assure our continued fitness activity:

* We need to eat enough of the right foods and maintain a good muscle building diet. Insufficient calories can reduce testosterone levels in men of any age.

* Eat a moderately high-fat diet - About 30% of our calories should come from fat. Reduced fat diets have been shown to lower circulating androgen levels and induce a compromised anabolic hormonal environment.

* Protein is important, but not as much as in a much younger person. About fifteen percent of our calories should come from animal protein. A high vegan diet will actually promote lower testosterone concentrations.

* A Protein/Carbohydrate shake taken before exercise will boost the metabolic and hormonal response to heavy-weight exercise.

* Get an abundance of rest. Poor sleep habits may reduce hormone production (particularly testosterone) by as much as 50%.

* Incorporate stretching and flexibility exercises into your warm-up program. This will help you in building muscle.

In summary, as we approach middle age or beyond, our exercise and fitness program should adapt to our physiological changes.

These physical changes may be slowed or even halted by proper diet and the right exercises.

Our dietary needs will need to be adjusted to accommodate our slowing metabolism and hormonal production. The proper adjustments can delay these changes, sometimes indefinitely.

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