Nutritional Needs

Eat Sleep Burn

Best Weight Loss Programs That Work

Get Instant Access

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Food Guide Pyramid (outlined in Chapter 3) were designed to provide basic nutritional information and serve as educational tools for Americans over 2 years of age. Therefore, these guidelines should be followed to ensure good nutrition throughout your life. An important point to note is that although the age-related decline in BMR results in the need for fewer daily kcals, your requirements for nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and proteins do not decrease with age (see Chapter 2). Therefore, proper food selection is essential to meet this challenge. Some ideas to help you meet your nutrient requirements without eating extra kcals include following the 5-A-Day campaign (eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day) and eating nutrient dense foods (see Chapter 3 and Appendix A).

Countering Age-Associated Changes in Fitness

Ever heard the saying "use it or lose it?" This is true for physical fitness. Whether it is muscle strength or aerobic endurance, if you do not remain physically active as you age you cannot maintain the muscle mass or heart adaptations you need for peak performance (review the effects of detraining listed in Chapter 4). Though aging can lead to decreases in fitness levels, the amount of decline can be offset by a regular exercise routine. Therefore, age itself does not predispose you to have large decrements in physical performance.

Some gradual changes you can expect in your physical performance as you age are listed below.

Table 16-1. Age-Related Changes in Fitness

Fitness Component

Typical Age-Related Change


Aerobic Capacity

5% to 15% decline each decade after the age of 30.

Do aerobic exercise regularly; try to maintain your exercise intensity (see Chapters 4,5,6).

Muscle Strength

Loss of muscle mass and strength.

Do strength exercises regularly; training effect is based on your exercise intensity (see Chapters 4,7,8,10, Appendix B)


Loss of range of motion at a joint or joints.

Do stretching exercises regularly to maintain joint range of motion and prevent injury. Warm-up before stretching (see Chapters 4,9).

Anaerobic Capacity

Greater decline than aerobic capacity.

Do speed work in addition to aerobic exercise only if you want to maintain performance-related fitness or participate in competitive sports (see Chapters 4,5).

Other fitness issues to consider as you age include the following:

♦ Warm-Up and Cool-Down - Longer warm-up and cool-down times are needed to prepare your body for the upcoming exercise and reduce your risk of injury, particularly if you are participating in strenuous exercise (see Chapter 4).

♦ Recovery from Workouts - You will need to allow for longer recovery times from strenuous workouts and competition. You may actually notice this before you notice a decline in your performance. Allow for adequate recovery by following a hard workout with a couple rest days or light workout days. In addition, allow your body adequate time to adapt to increases in your workout. Pay attention to the warning signs of overtraining (see Chapter 13).

♦ Recovery from Injuries - As with recovery from a strenuous workout, you will probably need more time to recover from training injuries. Be patient and allow yourself to fully recover. This will help you avoid future injuries (see Chapter 13).

♦ Cross-Training - No specific exercise is better than another to offset all the health and fitness changes mentioned. However, many of these concerns can be addressed by cross-training, or altering the types of exercises you perform, throughout the week (see Chapter 5). By cross-training, you can improve and maintain your aerobic fitness while recovering from intense workouts or while taking a break from weight-bearing exercises. This will help prevent overtraining and overuse injuries (see Chapter 13) while you remain physically active. So, consider making cross-training a regular practice in your exercise routine, if it is not already.

As you grow older your responsibilities, interests, leisure time activities, as well as your level of motivation may affect how physically active you are. However, it is important to remember that a sedentary or inactive lifestyle, combined with poor eating habits, can increase the risk for developing obesity, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, some types of cancers, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.

Adopting sound eating and exercise habits (the earlier the better) can help reduce the risk for developing the above mentioned diseases. Chapter 17 provides information on how to develop and maintain healthy habits.


Hn Healthy


In this chapter you will learn about:

♦ Setting SMART goals.

♦ Evaluating progress.

♦ Staying motivated and overcoming setbacks.

Forming habits to enhance physical performance and for achieving a healthier lifestyle is both personally and professionally rewarding. Using the information provided in the preceding chapters, you can set goals, develop healthy habits and achieve your objectives. For example, if your objective is to improve cardiovascular fitness, use the information provided in Chapters 4, 5, 6, and 11 to design your a plan of action. Remember, effective programs for enhancing physical performance and overall health include both sound nutrition practices and appropriate physical training.

The process of developing and maintaining healthy habits can be challenging. It is a gradual process which requires commitment, effort and perseverance. Ultimately, the payoff will be in the form of enhanced job-related physical performance, being in great physical shape, and lowering your risk for developing chronic health problems as you get older. Everyone ages: steps you take now will last a lifetime!

Setting "SMART" Goals

As you go through the process of changing and adopting healthy habits, you are actively taking charge of your health. Begin by setting Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Timed (SMART) goals to meet your fitness and health-related objectives. A SMART goal should be:

♦ Specific - The more specific the goal, the easier it is to plan your routines to reach the goal. If you have a general goal, pick a specific area to focus on. For example, define "I want to increase my running distance" to "I will increase my running distance by one mile." Another example, restate "I want to increase my dietary fiber intake" as "I will add one additional serving each of fruits and vegetables to my daily diet".

♦ Measurable - Your specific goal should be easy for you to measure so you can chart your progress. Taking the running example above, you can easily measure the distance you run to determine if you are meeting your goal. As for the fiber example, you can record your fruit and vegetable intake (see Appendix A).

♦ Action-oriented - When defining a specific goal state exactly what actions you must do to achieve the goal. This becomes your plan to reach your goals. For example, "I will increase my run by a quarter mile every two weeks until I am able to run an additional mile."

♦ Realistic - Be realistic in your expectations of yourself and what you expect to gain. Taking large or long-term goals and breaking them into smaller, more manageable goals to keep you motivated and focused on your actions. For example, train for and run a 5k race, then build up to a 10k race.

♦ Timed - Time lines provide direction in planning short-term goals and actions to reach long-term goals and objectives. Using the running example above: two weeks is the deadline for increasing run distance by a quarter mile, and two months is the long-term deadline for increasing distance by one mile.

Table 17-1 lists a number of general nutrition and fitness-related goals to assist you in identifying your own goals and in designing and setting "SMART" goals as described above.

Table 17-1. Some General Nutrition and Fitness-

Related Goals

Table 17-1. Some General Nutrition and Fitness-

Related Goals

General Nutrition-Related Goals

General Fitness-Related Goals

Read food labels when buying foods.

Health benefits (lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower stress).

Eat foods according to their serving sizes.

Improve/maintain heart and lung (cardiovascular) fitness.

Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

Improve/maintain muscular strength.

Include foods that are good sources of calcium.

Improve performance of job-related physically-demanding tasks.

Follow the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

Maintain healthy body weight and body fat.

Drink plenty of fluids to maintain fluid balance.

Improve/maintain flexibility.

Eat more dietary fiber.

Have strong bones.

Reduce saturated fat and cholesterol intakes.

Improve physical appearance.



Was this article helpful?

0 0
My Life My Diet

My Life My Diet

I lost over 60 pounds and 4+ inches off my waist without pills, strenuous exercise, or any of the things that the diet experts tell you to do...and I did it in less than 4 months! If you have the desire, and can read through my e-book , then this is for you! I could have easily made it a lot more difficult, with stacks of information that people will never read, but why?

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment