35 is Not the End: How to Maintain Fitness As You Age

It is undeniable that increasing age will bring about a certain degree of decline in physiological quality, muscle strength decline, maximum heart rate and maximum oxygen uptake will also gradually decrease.

But this does not happen overnight. More 35-year-olds begin to feel frequent insomnia, low back pain, and obesity. They think that their physical strength is weak . The reason may be the accumulation of irregular work and rest and eating habits over the years.

Through physical training, on the contrary, it can curb or even reverse the decline in physical fitness.

Someone can get into CrossFit at 52 and at 63 build muscle that they didn’t have when they were young. The oldest yoga teacher included in the Guinness Book of World Records is 92 years old and can still easily do handstands.

This tells us that biological age does not represent everything, and the decline in physical fitness is more related to daily behavior.

Compared with physical, the psychological aging brought about by the age of 35 has a greater impact on the social level.

Big factories lay off workers, saying that after the age of 35, their physical fitness declines and they cannot continue to complete work efficiently; they gain weight because their metabolism starts to slow down after the age of 35; even sitting for a long time will cause backaches and sleep disturbances will begin to worsen…

Among the many attributions, the arrival of the age of 35 foreshadowed all the anxiety.

After graduating from university and working, Lulu has been insisting on exercising and eating balanced meals, but she is 33 years old this year.

I started to pay extra attention to my weight, and I really felt like I would gain weight after two bites.

Central obesity, the main problem of obesity in middle age

The ONS, the British National Bureau of Statistics, after four weeks of counting the symptoms of the new crown of 1.5 million people across the country, gave a portrait of groups that are more likely to have the characteristics of “long crown”:

People aged 35-49, women, people with serious underlying diseases, and people living in poverty-stricken areas.

This kind of anxiety implies that people over the age of 30 are about to begin to decline in their physical fitness.

Let’s talk about chronic pain problems that are occurring more and more frequently.

Cervicogenic headache is a headache caused by cervical spondylosis. The etiology is complex. It is often related to people who have been sedentary at work and need to bow their heads, bend over their desks, and stretch their necks for a long time. The average age of onset is only 33 years old . It is increasingly common among young adults.

Chronic Pain Is Getting Younger

When interviewing A Kai, a 36-year-old fitness trainer, he also got similar feedback.

My physical recovery will take longer now. I used to exercise 4-5 times a week, but now I basically exercise 2-3 times.

All this seems to indicate that the age of 35 is really a critical point, and the physical condition will suddenly start to decline when the age of 35 arrives.

The case of professional athletes may be more obvious . Generally speaking, 35 years old has reached the upper limit of the retirement age for athletes. The 38-year-old NBA player LeBron James is currently the only 38-year-old player who can still perform at his peak in the NBA.

The factual case seems irrefutable, the 35+ crowd is no longer young.

But is the decline in these physiological states really necessarily related to age?

Take the middle-aged fat that everyone talks about, for example, in 2021, a research team led by the China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study on the weight of Chinese people in the journal “The Lancet”.

Take the BMI index changes of urban men and women in different age groups in China from 2004 to 2018 as an example. The study found that at the age of 30-39, the BMI index has obviously reached a new level, far away from the age group of 18-29.

Regarding this question, the most frequently heard answer may be: “I am old, and my metabolism is not good.”

But in fact, the BMI index is actually more obvious in terms of socioeconomic indicators, and income level, occupation type, and education level are all related to it.

For example, a research team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study in the journal The Lancet and found that BMI index has little to do with metabolic changes, and is more due to unhealthy diet and lack of physical strength, such as drinking frequency and irregular work and rest.

The number of alcohol consumption of middle-aged men increases with age

In other words, what the 35-year-old is facing is not a physical decline, but more likely due to years of inactivity and eating too much.

The same principle can be understood as a term that everyone has come into contact with: “overwork and fat”.

Behind the overwork and fat, many chronic diseases will have potential catalytic stimulation. For example , a sedentary lifestyle is closely related to obesity, heart disease and shortened life span; and employees with high work pressure have a higher risk of depression and insomnia.

This will be further reflected after 30+, mental decline and inability to concentrate for a long time.

Of course, physical fitness will indeed decline to a certain extent when you are in your 30s.

Because the average adult loses 3-8% of their muscle mass per decade after the age of 30, their maximum heart rate and maximum oxygen uptake also decrease by approximately 1% per year.

Oxygen uptake is critical because most muscle energy is produced by combining oxygen with body fuels (carbohydrates and fats). When the maximum oxygen uptake is greater, the body can transport and use oxygen faster, so you can run faster and walk longer.

The mass of fast-twitch fibers required for high-intensity exercise also begins to decline between the ages of 31 and 40 (about 3% per year), and continues to decline at a rate of about 1% per year thereafter.

But don’t worry, most of the research data based on age and decline in physical fitness is based on the decline in an individual’s maximum exercise capacity. For more ordinary people, they have reached the age of 35 before they even have time to reach the peak of their bodies.

The decline in physical fitness can also be improved through physical training.

In other words, if you maintain a healthy training plan and regular training frequency, you can well alleviate the decline of the body as you get older, and even improve it to a better level than before.

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There are already many factual cases before us. Physical decline has nothing to do with age, and physical training can help regain self-confidence.

On social media such as Xiaohongshu, more and more 35-year-old bloggers who insist on exercising have given answers.

Continuous regular exercise, physical fitness and physiological quality are visible to the naked eye.

And the 62-year-old Xiaohongshu blogger , we interviewed before (click here) , after semi-retiring and experiencing the blows of illness and family leaving, he started seven or eight years of unremitting gym exercise.

After several years of exercise, Zhenzhen’s weight has been maintained from about 50kg to about 46kg now, with a body fat rate of 17%.

Fitness can bring positive feedback at any age.

A tight body line and a full mental state are not completely lost due to a precipitous decline in physical fitness at the age of 35.

But as you get older, 35 years old can indeed be used as a reference. The age division defined by the world should not be paid too much attention to, nor can it be ignored.

According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, combining 150 minutes of moderate-intensity endurance training and 2 strength training sessions per week can delay or even reverse physical aging in different ways:

■ Aerobic exercise: including running, walking, cycling, swimming, hiking and rowing, can strengthen the heart function, help maintain a healthy weight, improve mood and mental focus.

■ Strength training : It can reduce the muscle loss that occurs with age, promote metabolism, reduce the loss of balance and coordination that occurs with age, and help maintain bone density.

Aging and physical cliff will not happen in one moment, it is more caused by the accumulation of daily bad habits and psychological anxiety.

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