This month at Striation 6, our focus is on aging gracefully. Specifically, an approach to exercise that can help you age gracefully and allow to continue to feel, function, look and live the way you want for as long as possible.
If you haven't had a look at our guide yet, click here to email us for your free copy.
Naturally, that guide is focused on strength-building exercise.
There are, however, other tools and something or others to help you remain as youthful as possible, keep chronic disease at bay and feel like you best self far beyond what you might expect.
Use these three tools to stay healthy and active into your 50s, 60s and - if you're like some of our clients - even your 70s and 80s!
First, eat more protein.
In all likelihood, you are not eating enough protein.
Sorry, but it's true.
Until recently most medical doctors and paramedical practitioners were recommending a protein intake of ~0.3 grams per pound of body weight per day. So, for a person weighing 150 pounds, that amounts to 45 g of protein per day.
Basically, 5 oz. of lean meat and you're covered … not so much.
Modern research-based recommendations for protein intake now state that 0.7-1.0 g per pound of body weight per day (depending on activity level) are more in line with optimizing physical performance and increasing longevity. So, that same 150 pound person would take in 105-150 g of protein per day.
Insufficient protein intake can lead to increased rates of muscle loss with age, overconsumption of food and, through those vectors, increased chances of developing chronic disease such a diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
BONUS - Here are three simple tips to maximizing protein intake:
Go for leaner cuts of meat. Look, I love ribeyes and bacon as much as the next guy, but choosing leaner cuts of meat like chicken breast, trimmed pork loin and eye-of-round maximize protein content while mitigating total calories. This will help to ensure adequate protein intake without risking excessive nourishment.
Have protein at every meal. Do your best to include a protein-rich source of food at every meal. This will help to keep you satiated and ensure that your protein is taken in throughout the day, maximizing its potential to aid in muscle recovery / prevent muscle loss.
Don't fear plant-based protein sources. Research has shown that plant-based protein sources such as beans, legumes and tofu are just as effective as animal protein for your health and fitness. Some might argue against this or against meat as a healthy protein source. Luckily, good research shuts both zealots down.
Second, drink lots of water.
0.5 fluid ounces per pound or 15 milliliters per kilogram of body weight per day - that is your water intake goal.
As with protein, most people undershoot their water intake, too. By the guideline above, our same 150 pound (68 kg) subject should consume about 75 fluid ounces or ~2.3 liters of water per day.
Staying adequately hydrated has so many benefits, it would be hard to list them all here. In the context of aging gracefully, it can:
help to ensure proper muscle, cardiac and respiratory function;
keep your skin moistened;
help maintain disk height in your spine; and,
prevent you falsely feeling hungry and eating excess food (did you know that thirst can manifest as you feeling hungry?).
When I have written about wa
ter consumption before (*Sam pauses to chug from his water bottle*), I've often received feedback such as "Sam, that's a lot of water" or "I'd be in the bathroom all day if I drank that much!"
Well, I have two pieces of good news for you. First, there is no need to obsess over this. Just do a simple calculation of how much water you need based on the metrics above, and then track yourself for 1 - 3 days. If you're within 80% of your measured target, then you're probably actually closer to 100% than you think.
This leads to the second piece of good news: remember that the fruits and vegetables you drink are made mostly of water. So, as long as your diet has adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables, than your food is helping significantly with your water intake.
I disagree with the idea that soft drinks, coffee and caffeinated tea ought to count as part of your water intake. Keep those separate in from your water consciousness.
Lastly (for today), move. But, in a specific way.
According to research, there is no greater predictor of longevity and (in my opinion) of vitality than your VO2-Max. level (your aerobic fitness level; the maximum amount of oxygen that your body can take in during eff
ort or exercise).
To make initial improvements to your aerobic system, aim for 3 bouts of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. Use the following guidelines to get the most out of your aerobic efforts:
Maintain a heart-rate of 70-80% of your predicted maximum heart rate (click here to send me a note if you would like some help with this)
You should be able to carry a conversation during your effort, while simultaneously wishing the other person would stop talking (ie. you can speak, but it is not easy to do)
Your aerobic activity should be
both pain-free (pain as a distinct sensation from those associated with exercise effort) and enjoyable.
If you are currently in pain and cannot participate in aerobic activity, and are scared that your condition might affect your longevity and your ability to live the life you want, click here to let us know. We would love to see you for a free consultation and help move you towards health and exercise success.