They’ve started to appear a while ago. I didn’t think about them at first, although I did notice them, slowly multiplying as the years passed.
I’m talking about my grey hairs of course, which provide a stark reminder that we all succumb to the ageing process. The difference is that the rate of decline in physical appearance, energy and well-being will vary from person to person. You can delay the signs of ageing.
The good news is that I know I can influence it as it depends on how you have lived and continue to live your life. As Benjamin Franklin wisely said: “While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us.”
Our outward appearance is a reflection of our internal environment and how our body is functioning. My personal goal is to be like Benjamin Button, the fictional character played by Brad Pitt who got younger looking as he aged. Talk about delaying the signs of ageing!
As you reach the different milestones, the age you are will influence your approach to your health. For your 21st birthday and probably your 30th you were probably out partying, socialising and probably getting drunk with your mates. As you age and your responsibilities grow, career, kids and relationships demand more of your time and many people decide to make a big effort to get in shape for their 40th.
But what happens when that landmark passes? It’s common for people to accept ageing lying down. They don’t put up a fight and try to delay it; instead they condemn themselves to a life of back pain and lethargy. Forty-five, it seems, is the age at which many give up caring about what they look like.
The male of the species succumbs to central obesity. This stomach fat inhibits organs from performing their jobs properly. It’s one of the reasons why often men die from one of the big killers: heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lung disease, at rates ranging from 40pc to 220pc higher than women.
Women, on the other hand, accept the decline and allow gravity to take hold of their bodies. The skinny jeans are replaced with baggy tracksuit bottoms and a T-shirt hanging over the edge to hide the muffin top. In summer a one-piece replaces the bikini and a sarong is an absolute must-have beach accessory.
Age is but a number and it is no reason to allow yourself to wither away. If you give up on your body then you must accept the consequences of not changing – disease, ill health and obesity. You can make time for health now or make time for ill health later.
It’s never too late to begin a training regime that will help you delay the ageing process. Stiffness in your joints can be greatly reduced by following a flexibility-style programme. Flexibility is one of the first things you lose as you age.
It is particularly important for women who are approaching the menopause to engage in strength training. At menopause oestrogen levels decrease making women more susceptible to osteopenia (low bone mineral density), which is eventually followed by osteoporosis.
A 1996 study on 56 post-menopausal women who did weight training for one year showed that bone density increased when the women lifted heavy weights.
They say that a great red wine gets better with age and the difference between a god wine and a mediocre one is the way the grape and the soil have been nurtured and tended to.
How will you mature – will you be a Petrus Pomerol 1998 or a cheap bottle of plonk?