The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging estimates that by 2030 there will be 72.1 million people over the age of 65 – 19% of the population. By 2040, the number of people 85 and older is expected to reach 14.1 million! So as we’re keeping the earth populated, we need to be shining examples of living well. I think we need to make these younger folks envious of our talents, abilities and skills.
Below are so proven steps to slow down that aging process.
The body needs water to process calories. If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down. In one study, adults who drank eight or more glasses of water a day burned more calories than those who drank four. To stay hydrated, drink a glass of water or other unsweetened beverage before every meal and snack. In addition, try munching on fresh fruits and vegetables, which are full of fluid.
As we age, muscle mass decreases. Between the third and eighth decades of life, we lose up to 15% of our lean muscle mass, which contributes to a lower metabolic rate, as we get older. Maintaining muscle strength and mass helps burn calories to maintain a healthy weight, strengthens bones, and restores balance.It’s never too late to exercise and build muscle. The body is responsive to strength training at any age. Strength training can help reduce symptoms of some common problems we encounter as we age including arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain, and depression.
Just as muscle mass declines with age, so does endurance. The good news is that the body also responds to endurance fitness training such as walking. Any activity that increases heart rate and breathing for an extended period is considered endurance exercise. In addition to walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, and tennis are all endurance activities. And as our muscle mass increases our bodies constantly burn calories, even when we’re doing nothing. This resting metabolic rate is much higher in people with more muscle. Every pound of muscle uses about 6 calories a day just to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories daily. That small difference can add up over time. In addition, after a bout of resistance training, muscles are activated all over your body, increasing your average daily metabolic rate. So double the bonus, get more fit and even when resting be healthier.
Join a yoga class. Stretching and balance exercises help us maintain balance and strength. The National Institutes of Health estimates more than one-third of people over the age of 65 fall each year, often resulting in injuries such as hip fractures which are a major cause of surgeries and disability among the elderly. Along with muscle mass and endurance, flexibility also decreases as we age. But like strength and endurance, flexibility too can be improved. Increased flexibility allows for more freedom of movement and greater range of motion. Areas to pay attention to are the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles.
Exercise helps with cognitive function. Studies have shown that regular physical activity can slow declines in memory and protect against dementia. And with exercise and stretching we boost our metabolism. And as we age we can easily see those pounds creep up. Creep being an appropriate word. How fast your body burns calories depends on several factors. Some people inherit a speedy metabolism. Men tend to burn more calories than women, even while resting. And for most people, metabolism slows steadily after age 40. Although you can’t control your age, gender, or genetics, there are other ways to get a boost. If you’re a coffee drinker, you probably enjoy the increased energy and concentration that follows your morning ritual. Taken in moderation, one of coffee’s benefits may be a short-term increase in your metabolic rate. Caffeine can help you feel less tired and even increase your endurance while you exercise. Drinking green tea or oolong tea offers the combined benefits of caffeine and catechins, substances shown to rev up the metabolism for a couple hours. Research suggests that drinking two to four cups of either tea may push the body to burn 17% more calories during moderately intense exercise for a short period of time.
And one more for the road – keep those lips moist. Even the best quality makeup will have a tough time concealing dry, flaky lips. For this reason, it’s essential to moisturize often. Lip balms with shea butter, petroleum jelly, or vitamin E work well. Look for a product with sunscreen to protect against the sun’s drying effect. If you use extended-wear lipstick, be sure to let the stain dry completely before applying lip balm.