Aging gracefully is something we all aspire to do. Feeling fit and looking our best at every age is essential for leading a successful, fulfilling life. That’s why we’ve looked into some of the best fitness tips to help keep you looking — and feeling — young.
We asked Adam Friedman, CSCS, CN and founder of Advanced Athletics, to share some simple but effective ways stay strong, lean, healthy and happy.
Get active in a way you enjoy
If you haven’t already, sign up for a sport or activity you love. “This will help keep you motivated in your training and have fun in the process,” says Friedman. “Adding the element of playful competition, whether it’s with yourself or amongst others, will stimulate a youthful mindset and add value to taking better care of your body,” he explains. Sign up and train for a 10-kilometre race, find a running or swimming club, join a basketball or soccer league or take dance lessons — whatever puts a smile on your face and pushes you to try harder.
Improve your posture with daily stretches to stay long and lean. “Stretching reduces the accumulative effect of gravity that pulls our heads, neck and shoulders forward,” explains Friedman. Each night before you go to bed, he suggests stretching your chest, the front of your shoulders and the front of your neck to relax your muscles and promote better posture. “When your posture is in correct alignment, energy flows more easily through our body, and it looks a whole lot better aesthetically.”
Make your body your own work of art
Working out isn’t always a priority and can often feel like a chore, so Friedman advises changing your approach to get more motivated. “Approach your fitness as a sculptor, and shape your body with a variety of targeted exercises,” he says. “This gets to be a fun hobby and not a practice of being overly self-critical.” Friedman also stresses the importance of building a positive self-image. “I encourage you to take a picture of yourself or draw a self-portrait as you stand in the mirror. This is a way to find self-acceptance, self-love and an acknowledgment of your current physical state, which is essential to recognizing improvement and supporting a positive self-image.”
Improve cardiovascular conditioning
There’s no better way to improve overall health and boost energy than with regular exercise. Friedman suggests using HIIT (high-intensity interval training) to improve your cardio conditioning and stay in shape as you age. “This includes bouts of sprinting followed by timed recovery. This will improve our body’s ability to generate energy and increase blood flow in the body to keep our body’s tissues nourished to help you feel and look younger,” he explains. “Incorporate this two to three times each week for 15 to 20 minutes. This is also a great way to release stress and increase the amount of calories burned both during and after exercise.”
Build in more resistance training
If you’ve been skipping strength training for fear of bulking up, it’s time to embrace the weights. “It’s a myth that you’re going to look like a bodybuilder if you lift heavier weights. It’s not a myth that as we age, it becomes more and more difficult to add muscle, and [we] lose the muscle we have more easily,” says Friedman. “First, we need strong muscle to keep us active for years to come to do the things we love, like dancing and chasing after our children. We also need that muscle to keep [our] shape to fit well into our clothes, and a firm naked always looks better than a droopy naked,” he explains.
Friedman suggests working with a personal trainer to learn proper technique so that you stay safe and the exercises you do are effective.
Bonus feel-younger tips
Friedman shares a few more essential health and fitness tips for looking and feeling younger longer. “Together, these five tips lead to being more productive in whatever it is that you want to do or need to do to maintain a balanced lifestyle,” he explains.
- Get enough sleep: Sufficient sleep promotes the hormonal balance necessary to reduce body fat stores, have the energy needed to make better decisions and be emotionally stable.
- Focus on proper nutrition: Eat to stabilize blood sugar, which creates hormonal balance, releases body fat stores, promotes muscle, reduces sugar cravings and maintains stable energy levels throughout the day.
- Exercise more: This will increase energy expenditure, build muscle, shape the body and help release mental and emotional stress.
- Boost your body with supplements: Taking supplements is like an insurance policy that fills the deficits from any nutrient-poor food we consume. Take a quality multivitamin as well as essential fatty acids, such as fish oils and flaxseed oil.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking three to four litres of water a day aids digestion and helps energy production.