Healthy Aging for Men
Later this year I will be turning 47 years old. Having always looked after myself, I‘ve been fortunate to maintain good health and reasonable fitness. Latterly however, with renewed enthusiasm and focus, and the launch of the F.I.T program back in 2014, I’ve never enjoyed better health. I’m stronger, leaner and faster than at any stage of my life.
There are a number of hormonal changes however that present challenges for the over 40 male. The attitude however that it’s all downhill after 40 is exactly that…..an attitude. Like many males in the context of health and fitness, most of us need a bit of a shock / scare / wake up call to get us to sit up and notice. Thankfully, mine was not too serious…but seeing my bulging waistline in a photo was enough to get me serious about my health. I knew that I was exercising less. I blamed my achy knees from years of distance running.
The reality was that life had gotten busy; I’d let fitness slide down the list of priorities and having a glass of wine in the evening had become the norm instead of the exception. What I hadn’t taken into account was the underlying hormonal changes that were occurring and how these might be contributing to these lifestyle decisions I was taking.
A man’s testosterone levels peak around age 20. They then tends to drop by 1% per year from that point forward. So by the age of 50, T-levels are half their optimum. Testosterone controls many bodilyfunctions notably energy, mood, libido and muscle mass. Alongside this, the stress hormone cortisol (which is largely in opposition to testosterone) tends to rise as we age. Unless the over 40 male takes specific steps to challenge these changes, weight gain occurs in the ‘cortisol distribution’ with fat going on around the belly, and muscle mass getting less in the major muscle groups. As muscle tone drops and the waistline expands, many slide into their 40’s and experience the stereotypical ‘middle age spread’.
Apart from being aesthetically troubling to some men, visceral fat poses risk factors to their health, so it’s important for many men to tackle the challenge head on, before they have a major health scare. Keeping an eye on calorie intake and the amount of sugar is important. It’s also important to do cardio exercise to manage weight. However, resistance exercise is essential too to maintain bone and muscle mass. As long as the over 40 male has medical clearance, higher intensity workouts, sprints and free weights can help testosterone levels. This makes it easier to gain lean muscle and boost the metabolism. This is as important to maintaining a healthy waistline as watching the calorie intake. I made huge progress in a relatively short period of time doing the F.I.T program. Healthy eating, doing the right sort of exercise and cutting down on the things we all know aren’t good for us meant that my body composition changed radically, even though my body weight didn’t.
Nutritionally it’s important to work out the right calorie intake to ensure you lose, maintain or gain weight depending on your goals and to take these from a balanced intake of macronutrients. It’s also important that the over 40 male has adequate intake of vitamins and minerals, particularly zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6. The omega 3 oils as well as glucosamine are also important to support healthy joints.
As a healthy over 40 male, I choose to take the forever freedom each day as well as Argi+, Arctic Sea, Naturemin and Forever Daily.