If you are middle-aged and you think climbing the stairs is like scaling Mt. Everest, or you are struggling to fasten the buttons of your pants without sucking in your belly, you are one of the most likely candidates for mid-life fitness fanaticism. You are not alone. Many middle-aged men, after leading years of sedentary lives, are embracing high-intensity exercises without realizing the harm they causing to their health and longevity.
So if you are attracted to mid-life fitness fanaticism, here are five reasons why you should shun it.
- Heightened Risk of Heart Attack
Most middle-aged men swap sitting long hours in front of the TV for frenzied treadmill sessions to lose the flab and reduce their risk of a heart attack. On the contrary, this increases their risk. Your body has limits and if you push it beyond those limits, it will wreak havoc. And, that is what happens when you indulge in vigorous and excessive exercising that is completely unsupervised.
Putting your heart through sudden stress of pumping more blood than it is capable of will result in a cardiac arrest. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physician has found that middle-age men who run in marathons are at a higher risk of experiencing cardiac arrest.
- Adverse Impact on Cardiovascular Health
As you grow older, your heart becomes less efficient in pumping blood throughout the body. Even the way your muscles and heart utilize the oxygen becomes less efficient. Your arteries tend to get narrow as you start aging, and middle age is the time when these issues rear their heads.
If you indulge in mid-life fanaticism, you are causing a significant increase in your blood pressure. This, in turn, causes an imbalance between your arteries abilities to supply oxygen-rich blood and the demand for oxygen by your heart. As a result, it can lead to atrial fibrillation, where you experience abnormally fast and irregular heartbeat, or even damage to the heart muscles, which are starved for oxygen due to rigorous exercise
- Higher Chances of Stroke
If you suffer from atrial fibrillation during your exercise routine, you are at a higher risk of getting the stroke. Imagine how your life would be post-stroke. You may lose your mobility and therefore your independence or even succumb to the stroke.
If your heart or brain is starved for oxygen and your arteries are unable to keep up with the demand, it causes a stroke. And, that is exactly what happens when you turn into a midlife fitness fanatic.
- Joint Issues
Ask any orthopedic specialist and they will tell you vigorous and intensive exercise will have an adverse effect on your joints. Even if you don’t want to acknowledge it, your body is going through changes.
During middle age, you lose bone density and muscle mass. This happens to both men and women. However, in men, due to a drop in testosterone levels, ligaments and muscles become tight and stiff. This makes them more prone to injuries. Even unsupervised cycling could lead to hip problems.
- Reduced Longevity
It goes without saying that the right amount and type of exercise can be extremely beneficial for middle-aged men. It helps to strengthen their heart muscle, normalize their blood pressure, and boost blood circulation. However, the key lies in moderation.
If you take up a high-intensity and a vigorous exercise routine that burdens your heart, lungs, and joints, you can reduce your longevity. Cardiologists have found exercising intensely for over 60 minutes can damage your heart, causing it to tear, stretch, or cause it to develop scars. There is no way you can live to a ripe old age with a damaged heart.
The Bottom Line
There is no doubt that middle-aged men (and women) can benefit from exercise. However, you need to find the right level of exercise for your fitness. You cannot undo years of sedentary living by working out like a fanatic. Instead, you should be looking to build your fitness levels gradually. Begin with walking to the store, using an elliptical machine at a moderate level, playing some basketball – perhaps one pick-up game and not five, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
As you build your fitness levels, take up brisk walking for 20 to 40 minutes, three times a week. You should be exerting yourself only till you are mildly breathless, but still have the ability to talk coherently and without gasping for breath. You do not need to become a leading Boston marathon runner within the scope of a few days.