How To Stay Healthy And Strong As You Get Older

Time comes for all of us, regardless of who you are or what your status is. I would certainly hope that it’s not a controversial opinion that nobody escapes from the ravages of age. Simply put, everybody is going to get older, unless you deign for whatever reason to die right now—and frankly, I have no desire to be blamed for a suicide epidemic so please don’t do this.

Jokes aside, what will be sort of difficult for many physical culturists to grasp is that your body will get weaker and less able once you get beyond a certain point in age. This is especially difficult for those who were born weak and feeble and have continuously built their strength, stamina, and ability throughout their lives in a never-ending physical “prime”—and that includes myself.

However, just because your physical capabilities will inevitably be somewhat diminished with age, that does not mean that you have to stop exercising entirely once you get beyond the age of 30 or so. The “dad bod” is a real phenomenon, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be.

Why The Decline?

Before we can discuss how to slow the ravages of age, we should first discuss what those afflictions are: simply put, as a person gets older, the human body will undergo many changes that will adversely affect the person, in particular the stiffening of blood vessels and the slowing of its production of the sex-determining hormones, amongst other things.

For men, this will lead to a decrease in fertility, decrease of muscle mass and bone density, and increase in body fat, in addition to a decrease in one’s cardiovascular and muscular endurance.

All of these bodily changes will sneak up on the unsuspecting man and hit him all at once, and they’ll only continue as the years go on. Faced with such a sudden decrease in physical capabilities, the average man will relax more and exercise less and pretty soon you’ll wake up with the dreaded dad bod pictured above.

What Can Be Done?

Simply put, what you have to do to slow the aging process is continue exercising. That statement is, of course, blindingly obvious, so I feel that a greater degree of explanation is required.

We can begin by looking at the main afflictions of age, and how exercise can affect those:

1. The Loss of Bone Density

As one ages, your bones become thinner and weaker—this is hardly something that can be disputed, and the increasing likelihood of bone disorders such as osteopenia and osteoporosis can speak to that.

As luck would have it, in addition to “getting swole”, heavy resistance training has also been documented to strengthen the bones and other connective tissues of the body. Thus, even mainstream doctors—the better ones at least—will advise elderly patients to do some sort of resistance training.

As for what sorts of resistance training you should do, I would recommend doing the exact same sort of resistance training that a young man does, just with reduced weight and repetitions. Whether you are a young man or an old man, proper form is the key, and should you be using proper form in your lifting, you will avoid injury and repetitive stress, whether you are 20 or 80.

2. Strength Loss

While athletes often say that your strength is the last thing to go (certainly it goes after endurance), it will eventually go, especially if the connective tissues are no longer conditioned. Thus, keeping your strength up as an old man is done in the exact manner as retaining your bone density: continuing your resistance training, combined with eating a nutrient rich diet.

3. Weight Gain

Along with the decrease in muscle mass and testosterone production, age is often associated with a slowing of metabolism and increased percentage of body fat. And, yet again, continuing a program of resistance training, whether it be weights or calisthenics, has been associated with increasing one’s natural testosterone levels.

Combine that with a sensible diet, and you’ll find yourself slowing or even reversing signs of aging, or at the very least becoming one hell of a silver fox

4. Circulation

Leaving resistance training behind for now, cardio is also important for the older person—arteriosclerosis, a stiffening of the blood vessels, is a natural process with age. To increase your circulation, you can perform any sort of exercise that gets your heart rate up, again bearing in mind to reduce the intensity for considerations of age. This can range from traditional cardio, to circuit training, to even traditional strength training which will give you a small secondary benefit of cardiovascular training.

If you are a retiree, you likely have more free time than a younger man, but even if that is the case, I would still recommend doing the fundamental compound lifts and calisthenic moves. I certainly plan on continuing fitness as I get older, and all of you should as well.

Read More: A Brief Guide To Fitness After 40 

60 thoughts on “How To Stay Healthy And Strong As You Get Older”

    1. @ 6′ 4″ I’ve gained as much as 4 Lbs of muscle just from regular stretching and diet focus. Now in my 40s, when I manage to get back into a regular workout routine, the plan is 1-2 weeks of just stretching before starting. Walked into a nearby gym considering another membership yesterday to check it out. It’s always a reminder of just how jacked some guys are from regular lifting, seeing others now where I once was. I’ve never been one to use a “membership” as an excuse to exercise or not. So much can be done with body weight alone in your own dwelling, must commit the time.

    2. Even more important to stretch if you lift! biggest downside to lifting is the tendency to shorten the muscle belly… stretching counters this quickly and easily (and makes them ‘gainz’ look better!)

    3. Absoutely agree with Roosh.
      I stretch every morning and perform deep breathing exercises of fresh air (outdoors, not indoors) to start my body and mind. It makes a difference.

  1. 5: Cut down on the alcohol. When I was younger my dad would take a look at someone and remark that the person drinks/smokes too much. I never knew what he meant by that or how he could tell just from looking but nowadays I know exactly what he means and see it everywhere. Extra calories, wear and tear on the liver and disrupted sleep all make for a more miserable, unattractive and and injury prone life as an older guy.
    6: Don’t spend time with people who want to make you fat by eating too much, not exercising, etc. The effects are cumulative.

    1. Fat people usually hang out with other fat people, while healthy active people like to be around other healthy active people.

      1. And fat people who take company with healthy people begin to adopt habits that make them change. You are a product of the company that you keep.

    2. I can pick out regular beer drinkers. Smokers are easy too because they face is falling around the mouth.
      I can also pick out women who’ve trained in ballet. It’s really easy; watch their legs. They move lightly.

    3. This guy did a stunt where he ate several thousand calories of junk food in a day, and then remarked he did not gain weight. Of course he won’t gain after a day, but if he continued for a a couple of weeks to a month, he would definitely see change. Morgan Spurlock went from eating organic food his girlfriend cooked for him to eating McDonalds every day at each meal for a month and his body started falling apart.
      Rich Piana used to do eating stunts on his channel, he used to eat whole giant pizzas, and he was very muscular. The only reason why he maintained his physique was that he was hopped up on steroids and hgh, which allowed his body to absorb excess calories, that he and he was working out 4 hours a day. What he did was unsustainable long term and he recently passed away.

      1. Steroids and HGH will help, but the main trick for eating 1,000s cals junk and staying ripped is T3/T4…

  2. At age 41, I can say that diet and exercise are more important than ever. As time goes on, there is a clear and obvious difference between those who exercise and eat clean and those who do not. Also, if you’re on the winning side of this battle, you will have to deal with male jealousy from those who are not. I speak from personal experience.

    1. 41! Ahhh, those golden days of youth-enjoy them sonny, they play out really, really fast.
      I would add to have at a minimum a yearly blood test for your T levels and PSA(among other things) To make a long story short, I started TRT several years ago and I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s been a life saver but every little bit helps.
      Gym every day for my dose of iron and a long swim once a week. Since I’ve been in Texas, I do miss my mountain bike riding I did a couple times a week in CO but my Texas days are numbered.
      Can’t agree more with watching what goes through the soup coolers. Absolutely no junk/fast food. I prepare nearly 100% of the food we eat, lots of fresh produce, fish/chicken and occasionally some grass fed beef.

  3. I did a google image search to see who that Asian guy in that top pic is and to see how old he is….his name is Deshun Wang, he’s 80 years old! That’s pretty damn impressive!

    1. I wish it was that easy man. I’m Italian & can’t give up pasta & bread, which are the devil. I eat healthy for the most part, but for dinner I like to throw down a few times a week. Plus football season = beer, another evil

      1. You can.
        I’m part Asian. Noodles and rice to me were like pasta and bread to you. Pasta, bread, noodles and rice are not necessarily evil. You just gotta take a break from those every now and then.
        I haven’t touch alcohol for few months now. I’m thinking of quitting for good. I’m just an average man. If I can do it, so can you.
        Give it a try, man. It’ll be worth it.

  4. “slowing of its production of the sex-determining hormones”.
    I feel something should be said about testosterone supplementation as one gets older, whether through legal (comparison of T levels in blood tests monitored by a doctor and prescribed as needed) or illegal means (steroids bought off the Internet by Bitcoin transfer).
    I’m in my mid-30’s and have trained since my late teens, but I’m noticing that my recovery isn’t quite the same, sex drive slowly declining, strength gains are much slower etc. I did my first cycle earlier this year, 1mg of test twice a week for 6 weeks and I can’t recommend it enough. I felt like a teenager again. Even my mind felt sharper. Will do again for sure.
    But anyone thinking about doing one: do your research. Read up on what you’re taking, possible side effects, dosage, reviews about where you get them from (if buying online). Just don’t be irresponsible about it.

  5. Amen to stretching per Roosh – just had a god damn Achilles tendonitis hit and now committed to do so for life once it clears (praying)… really dropping my biking times. Separately guys – your damn lung capacity drops. No more ‘second wind’. That sucks too, but basically keep moving starting slow building into 3/4 and back down again. And Form over Weight, never pain levels over 5-6.

    1. Like everything else, you can train to regain some of your lung capacity, low impact cardio like ellipticals, swimming biking and rowing. Time and patience, but don’t give up. you want to maintain what you have as long as you can.

  6. The older I get the more issues I have with cartilage and tendons.
    Especially the rotator cuffs and issues that cascade from them like biceps and elbow tendonitis. Took a month off and have to start getting back into it. Sucks getting old.

    1. Yeh it does. I had the rotator cuff surgery 8 years ago at 42. The dips with a 45 plate tied around my waist did a number on it too, also standing bicep curls, flat bench. I fucked it up pretty good. Fortunately being in good shape before significantly helped. Was able to do a lot of physical therapy myself in the gym. Ended up with 98% motion, although 2009 was before that Obamacare bullshit, so the surgeon was the same one that worked on the LA Dodgers & Lakers & did an amazing job. The procedure was done at Cedars Siani, a world renowned medical center here in Los Angeles, & all covered under insurance. Copay was around $500, and my monthly premiums at the time were around $200 a month. Now paying over $600 for some shit plan that barely covers anything because I refuse to go through the state exchange.
      But yeh, getting old sucks

      1. I started having issues at 46, 5 years ago.
        Yup the standing bicep curls were part of my regimen too.
        I really should have gone to a professional trainer at an early age and learned to workout the right way.
        It’s mostly body weight stuff for me these days.

    2. I’ve found this book, by Jim Johnson PT, to be invaluable and simple for rehabbing a shoulder:
      ‘Bulletproof Your Shoulder’
      I have no connection to the author. He simply writes solid evidence-based guides.
      A very large number of people with NO shoulder pain have rotator cuff tears on MRI. It’s not the tear necessarily, it’s the dysfunction, which he clearly explains how to treat simply on your own.

  7. Run, cycle, eat right, do plenty of push-ups, heaves and sit ups. Light weights/high reps and swimming laps also work wonders in terms of overall strength and agility. There is no use in looking like those jacked up retards from Jersey Shore. Couldn’t drag them out of a burning tank lol.

  8. I’m 61, recovering from a 6″ vertical cut from diverticulitus (small intestine rupture), followed by two incisional hernia operations.
    Just getting back to MWF light dumbell routine & TT walk/run/sprint routine, 3 miles (Aug 2017).
    I take a testosterone injection, every second week. Magnesium, zinc, D3, B complex, w/generic male vitamin.
    Dark roast coffee (2-6 cups daily), 2% milk over grape nuts flakes for breakfast. Protein bar, apple, carrots and cranberry almond cashew mix, for lunch and snack at work. Home for supper, concentrating on proteins.
    5′ 10.5″, 202lbs. Some sag fat around the gut scar, gonna take some time to burn.
    Work in IT, so I have a stand up workstation.
    Only one major regret. Didn’t stay as fit when I got out of the Corps in ’79, didn’t push iron till the last 2 years. I suggest you get ahead of the game. Playing catchup sucks.

      1. Well, linked study (20 years ago) was of 15-34 year olds, which I’d call young in the categorization of young/middle age/old.

      1. LOL, legal or not?
        Actually fairly serious supplement stack.. I know about 50% of it works for me, just don’t know which 50%… I keep up with latest research at suppversity and ergo-log…
        Stuff I’m pretty sure works is Whey, Creatine and Sodium Bicarbonate… everything else I’m less sure, but tend to go for wide-spectrum multi-vits and minerals, definitely a believer in Magnesium (supps and transdermal), and a bunch of other stuff which may or may not help. Oh, and HCL, digestive enzymes and gut-bacteria supps (it’s not what you eat, it’s what you can *digest*).
        I’ve posted my views on anabolics here a few times too, which can be summarised as “T is THE male hormone, when it declines naturally, why should women be the only ones to benefit from HRT?”

        1. She’s not a huge fan as I’ve traded her in for a younger, slimmer, prettier model…

        2. If she was not a fan of change, she got left behind because of it…Did she pull the fat pin on the fat grenade too? Just wondering…

        3. You know she did!
          RoK opened my eyes and I noticed I was worth way more than I was putting up with!

      1. Thanks.
        I have posted my views on ‘natural’ often on RoK. It’s considered normal for women to HRT and replace declining natural levels, but Men? Oh no! Don’t want them having too much T!
        There’s no reason for us to watch the source of our Masculinity drain slowly away brother…

        1. I want to look like that when I grow up! Its hard to do when I work all the time most times until after dark. But things relax for me a little bit soon at the end of the spring summer growing seasons, but I am getting there!

        2. Plenty of time Bro! Consistent effort over time is worth more than occasional binges!
          Dianabol helps too…

  9. I am an older guy, and pretty fit for my age. I would say good nutrition is 70 percent of the battle, exercise and proper sleep are the rest. I would avoid high glycemic foods, like white bread and sugar containing foods and drinks. Plenty of green vegetables, a serving of protein at each meal, and always some fat source. The protein and fat prevents you from craving sugar. Also Apple Cider Vinegar is useful to prevent insulin spikes, avoid supplements other than fish oil and vitamins.
    The processed meat in the picture above, I would avoid it, they are not good for you at any age, you do not have to eat organic meat but its better to eat meat that is free of antibiotics and from an animal that is fed a natural or organic diet.

  10. Try this if you are having metabolism issues. No wheat, no soy, no vegetable oils, no soda or diet soda either. Smart proteins and fats with seeds, nuts (not peanuts) and fruits — partial Primal, partial Paleo. HIIT training and weights. Sustained aerobic activity (treadmill, stair climber) over 30 minutes produces excessive cortisol in people over 40 and repetitive injuries. Age 49…6’1″ 190. Intermittent fasting also (18 hours daily).

  11. My regime is as follows.
    1)Monday I fast, no exercise except walk my dog one mile. Drink one pint of water with a little vinegar, honey, and lemon juice. And one 6 once glass of beet juice. No food.
    Tuesday-Saturday. I wake up at 3:oo AM and alternate every other day between…..
    A. a 2.3 mile run on one day.
    B. Six sets of the following exercise which takes me about 40 minutes total.
    1)20 push-ups
    2)7 Ssquats
    3)6 chin ups
    4)30 flutter kicks
    5)20 curls with barbels
    6)20 back leg lifts of each leg
    7)16 body lifts pushing myself up with arms to side on chairs
    8)40 crunches
    In addition to the above, I walk my dog a little over a miles ever day after work. (1.2 miles)
    I have been doing this since February, and it is sort of modeled after my army basic training work-outs in 1986. I am 53 years old, and this helps me.
    (I get up at 3:00, and follow up each morning before work with a)about 15 minutes of mantra meditation on Lord’s prayer with Tibetan Buddhist music in background 2)a chapter of reading of the bible in Spanish. 3)two pages of a political book in Spanish (right now, Daniel Estulin. Takes months to read one book.) 3)Two pages of a book in French (Edourard Drumont right now) 4)one article in Spanish of El Pais. Then, I set my kitchen timer on the downstairs “day bed” and lie down and listen to a meditative podcast for an hour, usually falling asleep. Usually listening to website lectures of Rudolf Steiner audio. Timer goes off, and I get up, leave house to go to work at 8:00.)
    Sunnday I do as I please. Sometimes church, sometimes pizza with buddies.
    I feel like I have got a good, disciplined morning routine for a geezer. Feel good.

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