Most of the time I don’t feel like someone in my mid 60’s. My efforts to eat well, exercise regularly, and pay attention to what my body, mind, and spirit are telling me, help me to live most of my days to the fullest.
Even so, I am realizing that there are things my body just doesn’t want to do as it has in the past.
It wouldn’t be unusual for me to go through my workday, including finding time for a few workouts, eat dinner, then go back to the office for an hour or so before calling an end to the workday around 8 or 8:30 p.m. Easy peasy.
I’ve recently discovered, however, that my body doesn’t want to conform to that schedule anymore. It’s telling me that a more strenuous workout that includes strength training needs to be done earlier in the day, not after 5 p.m. What??
It’s telling me that once I stop and have some dinner, the workday is done on most days. Really??
So I’ve been doing some research on the benefits of exercise on aging in order to combat slowing stamina as you age. Because I don’t like to give up or give in to things that make me change how I live, or make me feel like I can’t do something that I want to do. I’m a little bit stubborn that way.
Your lifestyle or daily routine might look very different than mine, but even so, if you’ve noticed that your stamina isn’t quite what it used to be, keep reading. 🙂
If you click on a link and then make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
The Benefits of Exercise on Aging
As we get older (men and women), the aging process shows a gradual decrease in endurance, strength, and flexibility. Got that. ✔️
To minimize it, we should get regular exercise, eat a proper diet, and maintain a healthy weight. Got that. ✔️
Studies show that our bodies use oxygen less efficiently as we get older. Interestingly, our posture directly impacts oxygen flow and stamina. Hmmm.
Why? Our upper spine (the area that surrounds the lungs) usually changes in shape as we age, with an increased upper back curve of about 10 degrees by 60 years of age. Furthermore, our spinal ligaments typically become stiff and lose that elasticity of our youth. Both combined can decrease our lung capacity, which has a negative impact on endurance and strength, or reduced stamina as we age. New information. ⭐
So if you’ve noticed that some things have changed in your everyday routine, and maybe you are not able to do as much as you did in the past, or not in the same way, this may be part of the reason.
So, what can we do to combat this propensity for decreased lung capacity and slowing stamina as we get older? This is where the benefits of exercise on aging really come into play, specifically aerobic exercise. And, all of these activities we’ll mention will help keep your metabolism strong, too.
1) AEROBIC EXERCISE
When you do aerobic exercise it raises your heart rate, and when you consistently engage in this type of activity, over time it will help to strengthen your heart muscle. More blood will pump, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your muscles for energy. This can help counteract that natural decline in your heart’s capabilities.
Strong muscles have more endurance and can react faster when needed. So we not only want to keep our heart muscle strong with aerobic exercise, we want to continue to work on maintaining and even building overall muscle strength as we get older. Got it. ✔️
Be sure to consult your physician if needed, to make sure you’re able to perform the type of aerobic or strength training you want to engage in.
2) STRETCHING EXERCISES
Consistent stretching can help us maintain the flexibility we need to sustain an active and healthy lifestyle and counteract the natural shift toward less flexibility as we age. In fact, stretching in the morning can be a real game-changer for us as women over 50. Try it!
This is an activity that I didn’t give enough attention to until recently. It is so essential, friends, and an integral part of the benefits of exercise on aging!
A good night of sleep: get it as often as you can. Although it may not fit the category of a benefit of exercise on aging, it is a must!
In general, we need seven to eight hours of sleep at night in order to release the hormones that build and repair muscles.
And, studies have shown that a lack of sleep can decrease the carbohydrate, glycogen, which is used for energy during physical activity. It makes sense when you think about it. Raise your hand if an ongoing lack of sleep makes you not only tired but listless and lacking energy. 🤚
What to do with these suggestions for maintaining our stamina as we age
For me, it’s a verification that the increased aerobic exercise I’ve been doing for the last couple of months is a healthy choice for maintaining and even increasing my stamina. I want to keep my heart muscle strong!
With the climate restrictions (I’m a big baby and don’t want to walk outside if it’s less than 55 degrees) and our current sheltering in place, I’m wearing out my comfy walking shoes with my indoor jogging, walking, and marching in place. But that’s fine with me, as I’ve gradually increased the tempo and pace of my jogging.
Strength training has been a part of my workout routines for years, and although I’m not lifting as much weight as I did 10 or 20 years ago, I feel that I should increase the weights a little bit at this point, so will be adding to my small but helpful array of hand weights.
Along with the indoor aerobics, I’ve started added stretching exercises, before and during my walkout workouts. Now I need to remember to stretch when done, to make it the most effective, safe, and healthy activity that I can.
I also want to be reasonable, listen to my body, and make good choices for myself and my lifestyle. So, if adding more leisure time to my evening seems like the right decision, I will do that. If I need to switch up my daily routine and place the heavier workout in the middle of the day, so be it.
Living alone gives me total flexibility with my schedule and I don’t mind that at this time in my life. But I want to remember my philosophy of ‘moderation in all things‘ and that includes how I spend my time.
Whether it’s a matter of my slowing stamina as I am getting older, or simply making a wise decision, some relaxing time in the evening could include reading, picking up on learning a new language (that went by the wayside a long time ago!), taking a course to learn a new skill (just started a really interesting online cooking course), or chilling out with a TV show I enjoy.
How about you? Have you found that your stamina seems to be decreasing as the years go by?
Take some time to evaluate your focus and commitment to aerobic exercise and strength training, to the value of incorporating stretching into your workout, and making sure you get enough sleep at night.
The benefits are real, and they’re available to us if we put these into practice!
Like this post? Share it!
24 thoughts on “Finding Slowing Stamina as You Age? Benefits of Exercise on Aging”
Such good tips. Thanks for sharing them. I learning during this deal if I don’t get out and walk for about 20 straight minutes I feel very weird. #MLSTL
I know what you mean, Pat; I just don’t feel right if I skip my regular exercise and workouts, particularly walking. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
I can relate to all you say here Candi. In the last couple of years I’ve noticed a definite slow down. I tried to defy it at first but realised I had to give in to it and make changes to my exercise program. I still exercise every day but sessions don’t have quite the intensity that they previously did. #MLSTL Sharing
Yes, Jennifer, that’s very similar to my experience. Our bodies tell us what they want and need if we listen to them. Thanks so much for sharing!
Hi Candi – this is great advice and I think we all need to be aware of how important it is to stay fit and healthy in our second half of life. I also think that we’re allowed to step back a little bit too – without it seeming like we’re losing our drive or stamina – maybe it’s just a recognition that we don’t need to live at that pace anymore? I’m certainly enjoying a slower lifestyle and not missing all that work and stress that was the norm for me for decades.
Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊
Hi Leanne, I agree that our pace of life changes as we get older. For me, it’s a matter of my mind and my body working in sync. The mind still wants me to go-go-go, but it really isn’t necessary and my body says, “um, what are you doing??” Thanks so much for sharing!
I always enjoy reading your thoughts and idea Candi, you have so much to offer this age group so many thanks. I am trying to stay motivated during this lockdown time and I’m enjoying me new ebike. I have shared for #mlstl
Hi Deb, it can be hard to stay motivated right now, that’s for sure. I love the ebikes and how versatile they are! Keep riding! 🙂
Boy, can I relate to this! It’s been hard to accept I can’t do what I used to. I am doing more swimming of laps now which helps but my joints can’t take what they used to.
Hi Rita, I know…my feet hurt when I walk around the house without shoes on, and that was never the case in the past. Swimming is a wonderful way to stay in shape and is a bit gentler on the body. Thanks so much for stopping by!
I can relate. In my case part of the problem was an underactive thyroid that was making me extra sluggish. It was only picked up by a routine blood test as I had put problems down to aging
Hi Anne, you make a very good point – health issues can certainly make us feel tired. I’m glad you found the source of your problem.
Hi Candi, I’m 53, and until recently I haven’t paid any attention to exercise! I’m blessed with good genes and haven’t needed to exercise for weight control, so I never bothered. Now I’ve reached my 50s I’m realising how important it is. I’ve started doing stretches everyday (or almost). I get enough sleep (especially in ‘lock down’!), and have been healthy eating for years (except for sugar, which I’ve recently cut down on), so I’m just trying to improve on that to keep my body healthy and willing to co-operate as I get older. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic, it’s a really interesting and helpful post. Take care. 🙂
Hi Cheryl, it sounds like you’re on a good overall path to keeping your body healthy as you get older. I fight the sugar battle every day and try to keep it down to a little treat, and not overindulge. Even though I love the taste I can feel the effect on my body when I eat too much. Thanks for stopping by for a read!
Hi Candi. I found this post so interesting! The part about our decreased lung capacity, because of increased curving of the spine explains so much to me about how some elderly people walk, sort of hunched over. This information you gave has not only made me grateful that I started exercising a long time ago, but it’s also made me think about my posture. I want to remind myself to lift everything up and walk tall if that makes any sense. I’m still running almost every day, but since my wrist is still healing, I haven’t been able to do weights. I’m hoping to get back to that soon. Thanks for sharing a very interesting post. I’m hoping to have one of my own up any day now. xx
Hi Christina, I’m glad to hear that your wrist is healing up, but can understand that it’s frustrating to have your workouts limited. Yes, the curving of the spine was enlightening to me, too. (I just sat up straighter in my chair!). It’s something I try to work on daily, and now that I know how it can impact my overall stamina it’s even more important. Take care and be well, my friend.
Hi Candi, I find over the last few weeks that I am mentally tired and around 8:30pm I’ve yearning for my pillow. I’ve been working hard on my assignments which can be draining. I agree though that staying active is a must as we age but so is listening to our bodies. I have a well balanced exercise program which includes cardio, strength and flexibility training. All of these areas are essential to stay fit and active. However, we don’t have to be running marathons or lifting heavy weights. It is just a matter of consistency and as I said listening to our bodies. Thanks for such an informative post and linking up at #MLSTL. I hope you are keeping well and we need to organise another chat! Enjoy your weekend. xx
Well said, Sue! Stay well also and I’d love to chat again soon. xo
This is a great post! 🙂 I pinned it. It is good to know there is a reason why I don’t spring back from exercise as I used to. Thank you for the information.
Hi Christina, Yes, I agree that having an understanding of the ‘why’ behind a change in our body certainly helps to know how to deal with it. Even if we accept it as our new reality, at least we understand what’s happening. Thanks so much for stopping by!
You have really inspired and motivated me with your post. I will be stretching more and be more aware of my posture. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Catherine, I know what you mean! I’ve been doing the same, and try to make a conscious effort to sit up straight and walk tall. 🙂
I am interested in the diminished lung capacity you mentioned as being responsible, in part, for our decreased stamina. My pulse-ox readings are lower lately and my husband positively huffs and puffs when we exert ourselves at all. That explains why!! Will continue being active in hopes of slowing things down and building up stamina.
Tried a work out my daughter recommended yesterday. In my mind, like you, I don’t feel 62. Most days. But when I tried this workout turbo-something! I realized very quickly I can’t kick my legs out very quickly any more. Gone are my hopes of being a Rockette!! Not quite up to turbo anything these days.
Hi Leslie, well, even if you’re not an aspiring Rockette you are still a beautiful woman. I always enjoy reading your perspective on life. Take care and be well. xo