Heart Choices: The Challenge of Getting Back in Shape As We Get Older -->

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The Challenge of Getting Back in Shape As We Get Older


It's challenging to stay in shape (much less get back in shape) the older I get.  I am one of the baby boomers. That's a person born between 1946 and 1964; those born during the post World War II baby boom.  Since there are so many of us, we tend to believe we're still young and can do anything.

However, today's culture tends to celebrate youth.  So we attempt to hold on as long as we can.  After all, inside I feel the same way I did when I was in my twenties.  That is, until I look in the mirror or attempt to run up the mountain.

Yesterday, I read this revealing post on my friend Liz's Facebook profile. I've included it today after requesting her permission.

As anyone can attest to, getting out of shape is very easy. This year due to major depression lasting 4-6 months, I decided not to work out or swim. I did actually go to beach 2-4 times (no exercise involved) and pool same as above.

Well Liz is back and I'm working out in house and pool until the pool gets cold around November. This is necessary for body and mind/brain, as well as my age of 60 years. I'm already hurting, but I don't care. No pain no gain.

Have a lovely day and thanks for reading, love you all Liz

Almost immediately, I noticed a barrage of comments from many of my high school friends.  Many offered advice about walking and starting slowly.  Others shared how they suffered from a variety of ailments, including back problems, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and depression.  But what I came away with was that it's easy to gain weight as we get older but much harder to get it off and keep it off.  

One of my high school friends Elisabeth continues to be in great shape.  She responded to Liz with encouragement and wrote that over time the workouts will become a habit.  Isn't that what I've been saying? Btw, Elisabeth teaches Water Dance, a warm water therapy session and wellness classes. And she's the same age as me.
According to Biomarkers: The 10 Determinants of Aging You Can Control, a person's basal metabolism drops about 2% per decade starting at age 20.  As your metabolism decreases you need less calories.  So to simply maintain the status quo, you need to take in about 100 calories less per day with each decade. Too many of us continue to eat as those we were 20 years old!

So what do we do about this?

  • Decrease the amount of calories eaten each day
  • Choose what we eat carefully so as not to waste them on empty calories
  • Increase muscle mass with weights
  • Increase aerobic capacity through exercises such as walking, bicycling, swimming
  • Include stretching in your daily routine
There are many practical steps to getting back in shape as we age.  This is just a start. I hope to continue this series.  

Even if you're young there's much you can learn now to prevent problems as you get older.  After all, it happens to the best of us!

I'm linking up with Kim of Just For Clicks for Weigh-In Weigh-In Wednesday. Oh and by the way, I'm sticking with my exercise plan which has now become a habit. I still need to modify and improve my eating habits though.  But it's a work in progress and I'm committed.

Blessings and love,

Debbie Petras
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  1. Love this perspective. As I am about to approach 40, I already have noticed how much easier it is to put on weight now versus 5 years ago. And I know that trend continues with each year. I love the information you included about taking in 100 calories less with each decade. Great post! Thanks for linking up!!

  2. Hi Debbie, I've been to come by here since last week-life just got in the way. I ride my bike(except when its raining like today)-and rode 312 miles this summer and walk about 3-4x a week. I used to do weights but ended up quitting that but should get back to it. I struggle to keep the weight off too. Thanks for encouraging us.
    Hugs, Noreen

  3. Oh Debbie, I can attest to this with a big AMEN. I recently started taking Amberen for my "symptoms" of early menopause and all of a sudden I couldn't fit into any of my clothes! This was perplexing to me because I have always been able to lose weight when I set my mind (and body) to it. I recently started working out twice a day when I am off and then once a day when I work and then resting on Sunday. I must say, I feel SO much better with the escalation of working out and eating better. The pounds, however are not falling off. It is hard at 54. Don't get me wrong it's not that I have much to lose but I am only 5'1" so a little shows a lot. I am determined to keep going. I feel so much better when I workout!

  4. It's so easy to put the weight on in my 40's, but so much harder to get it off, and keep it off. I struggle with Fibromyalgia, so exercise is hard for me. I do notice when I lost 10lbs a while back my Fibro wasn't so bad. Still praying for divine wisdom in the health area. Blessings!

  5. You're doing it Debbie! I have added those cord pulleys to what I am doing, and it works really well, the tension is like weights, but I like this better.

    Portion control is where I struggle the most. I just get hungry, and I need to eat more slowly so my brain knows I have fed it! :)

    Working right alongside of you from Texas sister!

  6. I do exercise because it is good for body and soul. Makes me feel younger too:)

  7. You're self-discipline works wonders for you. And thank you for the encouragement. But I do want to lose weight. I'm at the higher age end of your baby boomers. I could still take weight off in my fifties, if I put my mind to it. And last year I was able to lose 20 pounds through NutriSystem and some mild exercising~~the anxiety also helped decrease the weight (not recommended!)
    Now, I'm back up 10 pounds and trying to get back down and lose more weight as well. I seem to lack the motivation. Pray for me.

  8. Thanks for the motivation and encouragement! I am noticing a few times when I noticed my flexibility and agility needed a little improvement.


I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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