Age, No Excuse for Gaining Weight

Age, No Excuse for Gaining Weight

If you're among the many people who think aging is synonymous with getting plumper, it's time to change your thinking. The truth is you really can't use age as an excuse for gaining weight or being out of shape. The loss of youth does not have to mean the loss of fitness.

There are sure-fire ways to win the battle of the belly bulge and curb middle age spread.

"Resistance training" is becoming more popular, especially with people over 40, as an effective method for weight management and achieving higher levels of fitness. Resistance training builds muscle mass which is particularly important for people 30 years or older. Why 30? After 30, our bodies lose up to a 1/2 pound of muscle each year while gaining 1½ pounds of fat. This is when the trouble starts.

A trained muscle burns a lot more calories than fat or an untrained muscle. Muscle is the body's most efficient burner of calories; the more muscle mass we have, the greater the rate we burn calories, even at rest.

We must build muscle mass and prevent further muscle loss, and the only way to do this is through resistance training.

With a balanced program of resistance training, combined with regular aerobic activity, you'll improve your cardiovascular system, manage your weight and combat aging's effects on the muscular system.

Your fitness instructor could guide you through a tailored, progressive program that includes each muscle group, but here are some basics to keep in mind:

Resistance Training

Warm Up. A 40-year-old body needs more warm up than a 20-year-old body. Stretching muscles before and after exercise, without bouncing, is vital.

Take It Slowly. A common mistake of newcomers is to try and lift too much weight too soon. To avoid muscle strain, follow the program outlined by your fitness instructor.

Do Something Rather Than Nothing. If you're pressed for time on occasion, take a short cut through your weight resistance routine. Just don't make a habit of it.

Train At Any Age. Remember, muscles respond to resistance training, whether they're 60-year-old muscles or 20-year-old muscles. Muscle mass and body fat are determined by your activity level, not by your age.

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