How to age well? The question is on the minds of everyone – from baby boomers and their parents to generation Xers and millennials. The answer lies in the lifestyle and exercise choices we’re making right now. Though the human body naturally begins to lose peak performance after age 35, strength and endurance throughout our lifespan is, to a large degree, controllable.
Whether you’re in your 30s or 70s, it’s important to understand that exercise in the present moment affects physical ability and functionality later on. It all comes down to what you want from your future. For instance: would you opt to lose the ability to walk a quarter mile by age 80? Would you choose to be one in three people over 65 that falls every year? Probably not.
Due to a lack of awareness and empowerment, many people see aging as a burden and the loss of functional capacity as inevitable. Fortunately, this mind-set is far from reality, and our golden years can be embraced through a lifestyle philosophy known as “active aging.”
For the last 13 years, the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) has been working to change society’s myths about aging through education and awareness. The foundation of “active aging” includes an exercise lifestyle that literally changes the way we age – negating the connection between “getting older” and “deteriorating.”
Though the term “aging” seems to pertain only to older adults, active aging is for people of all ages. It’s about committing to a healthier and potentially longer life while also increasing the capacity for enjoyment down the road. Devoting time to strength and cardio training now allows our bodies to maintain control and endurance in the future. The end result? Long-term functionality and a higher quality of life.
So remember, the process of “chronologically aging” doesn’t mean a decline in the well-being of your later years. Take advantage of the opportunity now, and respond to nature’s course by committing to an active lifestyle. It will play a large role in the direction of your future, and grace your golden years with their fullest potential.