The Benefits of Active Aging: Exercise SMARTER to Optimize Your Age

Act your age (we encourage it).

“Optimal Age asks that we throw away the idea of accepting age as a fixed state and take ownership of the controllable components of aging. It’s not about turning back the clock, but it’s also not about settling in. It’s about understanding the changes in your body," explains physiologist and educator Angela Santoni, PhD.

Angela is leading our hands on workshop with fellow industry-leading expert Danny Musico to teach our local fitness communities how to develop their own (personalized) OPTIMIZING AGE plan of action. [Learn more about our Free Optimal Age Fitness & Health Event]

So we thought it would be perfect to tap into her directly to discuss why it’s imperative everyone incorporate exercise into their lifestyle to take the necessary measures to address specific concerns and train smarter. 

Angela Santoni, PhD. shares: 

"A woman never tells her age (so don’t ask), BUT I am entering into a time where I will  have some TIME to myself. I’ve worked hard, I completed more years of school than I care to admit, I find my professional and personal life to be extremely fulfilling, my child is happy, healthy and getting ready for college. We all understand that our bodies are changing, it’s undeniable. However, if you are anything like me, I am getting ready for a new and different phase of life that I am excited about. 

Yes, my body  changing. Yes I am getting older, time is passing.  But I refuse to allow a number dictate what I can physically accomplish NOW that there might be a few extra me moments on the calendar. I have embraced my body where I am and welcome THE FREEDOM  that comes with age. I have learned how to optimize my age and frankly am in better shape now than I was in my 20’s.”

Top tips to live your best life and EMBRACE the process of aging with fitness:

First, learn more about two processes of aging and how you can IMPROVE your level of fitness as you get older here - The Benefits of Active Aging: How to Stay Strong

Don’t avoid, prepare.

“For some, the primary thought process to stay pain and injury free it to avoid movement, to move less. Moving less however will make it more likely that you will experience pain and ultimately expose you to more injury. The reality is your body is designed to move, to shovel snow, even to jump from high depths at all ages. But as you get older your body is changing so you need to change the way you train."

In short, it’s important to incorporate specific actions to address specific concerns.

For example, Rapid bone loss is a mandatory (unavoidable) part of the two processes of aging. Again, mandatory aging is the parts of aging you CAN’T control. Both men and women experience bone loss, and while completing a variety of exercises is important, to address this specific concern you need to do activities with high-ground reaction force - NOT resistance training. 

Yes, you still should do cardio, resistance training, and a variety of other activities. But these activities do not stimulate bond building or bone remodeling. 

“As we get older, our body is changing, so you need to adapt your training. There are a variety of options to exercise in a variety of ways.”

Determine what is important to you to maintain your ideal quality of life. 

- Do you want to maintain or increase your strength of daily activities, such as walking up stairs, carrying groceries, or picking up your grandchildren? Incorporate resistance training. 
- Looking to improve or strengthen your reaction time? Incorporate power training into your routine. 
- Brain health important to you? Be sure to account for 30 min per session/per day of activity in your Active Aging plan. 

The way your body adapts to training is specific to the training you choose. The activities you select will apply a specific stress to the different tissues in you body.

So, where is the best place to incorporate a large variety of exercises to meet your fitness goals? 

“The gym offers an environment the outside world does not. It is a controlled environment, so excuses like bad weather etc are eliminated, and it provides access to the tools you need. This is why utilizing a commercial gym or working out in a home gym is preferable. Because the variety of exercises that you need to complete to provide the appropriate stress to a variety of muscles is ideal. Whereas, just working out outside can limit your progress.”

First, it’s important to reiterate.
At Gym Source, we think the best workout is the ONE YOU ACTUALLY DO. 

There are tons of benefits to exercising outside, and we encourage it. We also know there are benefits to both home gyms and commercial gyms.

(In fact, we often explore the pros and cons of a home gym vs a gym membership.)

But, when building your active aging plan, the controlled environment of a home or commercial gym is ideal. 

“The variety of equipment options supports the variety of exercises you need . In the gym you can progress easily through a wide variety of exercises that allow your body to rebuild in a number of different ways. Incorporating cardiovascular exercise, resistance training, power training, plyometric training, cable or resistance band training and different recovery techniques like stretching or foam rolling is at your reach all within the same space. These different techniques will prepare you body in unique ways that support the healthy rebuilding of all of your entire body, preparing you to stay active, and pain free at stages of age.”

But, not all equipment is equal. 
“It’s important to remember every piece of equipment is designed differently. There is equipment that is designed to better fit your body because the mechanics of the equipment is designed very specifically.”

This is where we act as your fitness partner, AND insist you test, touch, and try equipment for yourself before committing. 

We know the questions to ask before purchasing fitness equipment, and together we will assess your goals (and current limitations) and make recommendations for the right home fitness equipment for you. 

Want to learn more about our Active Aging event on November 9th? Visit our event overview here.

Join us to learn how to train to optimize your age and learn how to slow the effects of aging with training techniques tailored to your specific fitness goals and concerns. 

Learn more about Active Aging:

Connect with your local Gym Source showroom to to explore assessment tools and fitness & nutritional advice to learn what you can do to improve your health at EVERY age.

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