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Let's Chat, Myths:

AGE, "I'm Getting Old"

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Welcome back to Let's Chat, Myths! This week is the first part out of two all about the myths of age in regards to health and fitness. We start with the older generation. We've all heard it "I'm getting old" "I'm too old for any of that" etc etc. While there is evidence to suggest a decline it can be mitigated if individuals take action and in some cases, this mitigation can get to a point where other factors cause improvement with age.


We break down today's episode into multiple parts. First up was exploring the impacts of age on strength, power & mass. We discuss type 2 muscle fibres, the peak age for elite athletes and something that can affect us all with age, sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is an age-related deterioration in skeletal muscle. Once again if individuals take action as we discuss on the pod then you can mitigate its effects and as the data suggests "older pop" can get similar % of strength gains compared to "younger pop" when participating in a resistance program. The worst thing you can do in terms of sarcopenia is giving up and let it get worse. Take action, keep active and keep on top of diet and you'll reap the benefits going forward.


Endurance. We start by establishing that type 1 muscle fibres like those used in endurance events are not impacted as much by age like in type 2. However due to max heart decreasing over time our ability to utilise oxygen technically decreases. So we asked the question why are seeing older champions/record breakers? Apart from the cynicism of Tom jumping straight to performance-enhancing drugs, we looked at individuals. One sportsman made the point that with age his training and diet has improved due to knowledge gained over the years and that his mental/physical robustness "I don't feel pain as much" has improved.


Recovery. "It takes me ages to recover now" We've all heard it from "older pop" and we are not saying those individuals are lying however it can be mitigated to the point of being negligible. We looked at two sets of data from trained athletes looking at 24hr recovery and HR recovery after a bout of intense exercise. Both concluded that essentially age didn't impact their recovery. We suggested that as these "trained" older pop participants have kept up with exercise they have perhaps with experience learnt how to recover optimally for their age so that in data it looks no different.


Metabolism. This is a common one. Once you hit 30 your metabolism tanks and after eating a pringle you'll blow up like a balloon. Of course, this statement was made in jest as it simply isn't the case. Yes, your metabolism does slow with age however multiple factors come into play. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is impacted by things such as muscle. If sarcopenia takes hold and you stop any physical activity and have a poor diet (minimal protein etc) then due to low muscle mass your metabolism will slow further. More important to note is that this is a very slow gradual process. (data suggests 1-2% per decade) One set of data compared 90+ participants to 20-34 in terms of metabolism and worse case taking no account of gender, muscle etc found 90+ burned 422 calories fewer. 20-34 compared to 60-74 was even less at 122 fewer. These numbers are not that big so to blame sudden "ballooning" on metabolism when you're in your 40s/50s is just passing the blame. Keep active as you age and you should be ok. If you decide in your older years you don't want to exercise as much then just be aware you may want to cut down on a few things to keep those calories lower.


Lifestyle. Tom's favourite buzzword makes a comeback. Socioeconomics. As we get older we tend to have more life responsibilities. Moving higher up in the work chain, house, kids all these things accumulate to offer more barriers to consistent physical exercise and good life choices. This final part of the episode offered some real honest discussion about the impacts of "life" as we get older. This part alone is worth a listen.


If you want some more advice/help then get in touch. Remember if you want us "on tap" then head over to and sign up to any of our training programmes and you'll be invited to join our exclusive Facebook group where you can chat to us whenever. Apologies if it's inundated with conspiracy theories it was part of the deal when we asked Tom to join the group. 


New to the show? Head back to episode 1 "Let's Chat, Covid & Fitness" where we give an introduction into who we are and talk about the current state of ourselves and the fitness industry during this covid pandemic

Studies Mentioned

Muscle changes in ageing: understanding sarcopenia

Age-related changes in skeletal muscle

Age Differences, Age Changes, and Generalizability in Marathon Running by Master Athletes

Peak Age and Performance Progression in World-Class Weightlifting and Powerlifting Athlete

Periodization resistance training program in college-aged and middle-aged men

Effect of Age on Muscle Hypertrophy Induced by Resistance Training

Dose-Response Relationships of Resistance Training in Healthy Old Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Age-related changes in cardio-respiratory responses and muscular performance following an Olympic triathlon in well-trained triathletes

Effects of age and training status on heart rate recovery after peak exercise

Ageing, Resting Metabolic Rate, and Oxidative Damage

Age-dependent changes in different components of energy expenditure (EE)

Nutrition and Aging: Changes in the Regulation of Energy Metabolism With Aging

Bouncing Back! Counteracting Muscle Aging With Plyometric Muscle Loading

How Old Is too Old to Strength Train?

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