Aging is a natural process affected by genetics and environment. It is also powerfully affected by activity levels and by the type of activity in which the individual participates. We are all challenged by a system that begins to degenerate around 30 years of age. For example, the average sedentary person loses 3-5% of the muscle mass every decade after the age of 30.
This loss of muscle mass is important because it is usually coupled with fat accumulation. Less muscle affects the endocrine system. Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone levels decrease as a result of the loss of the right kind of activity and corresponding loss of muscle mass. This is usually coupled with a loss of bone density.
As the muscular system decreases in size the neurological system also begins to retreat. In fact, as you age, if you are not appropriately active you can literally lose muscle fiber. These changes create coordination and balance issues. It becomes a self-sustaining process. Deterioration feeds off itself.
Failure to be appropriately active also affects the cardiovascular system. Circulatory and heart problems can develop as muscle decreases and fat increases.
Muscle mass creates metabolic heat. Metabolic heat is necessary if the body’s chemistry or endocrine system, is to function properly. Without muscle mass and appropriate types of exercise our hormonal levels decrease.
We all face aging but just how it affects your body can be mitigated. It will depend upon your capacity to adapt and generate repair. You can slow down and alter the degenerative process.
Your body has the amazing ability to adapt to demands put on it at any age. The musculoskeletal system, the cardiovascular system, the neurological system and the endocrine system can all adapt (improve) at any time in your life. This is referred to in the strength and conditioning world as SAID, Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand.
The human body is an amazing organism. Any stress that is continually placed upon it causes it to adapt. If you walk, no matter how old you are you get calluses on your feet. If you walk a lot, your heart gets stronger to meet the need. It doesn’t matter if you are 10 or 60 – this will happen. This is SAID. It may take time but barring illness or injury your body will adapt to meet whatever needs are placed upon it. These adaptations will stay intact as long as the stress or stimulus continues to be applied.
Older adults can be very strong and very fit if the right stimulus and the right protocols are followed. It has been demonstrated that men and women in their 80’s and 90’s can add muscle (hypertrophy), improve cardiovascular performance, add bone density and improve balance and coordination. It all depends upon the type of stress to which the body is exposed.
At ADC we are avid proponents of progressive resistance training. Working with the neuromuscular system has the largest effect on the human body. Stimulating and stressing the musculoskeletal system has a very wide-ranging effect on the human body.
Stressing the body using weight as resistance has a powerful effect on the endocrine system. Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone levels rise with progressive resistance training for anyone, at any age. The spin-off results in changes in body composition. There is less fat and more muscle mass. This is a positive in a number of areas.
Many disease such as diabetes, heart issues, blood pressure and even cancer, are less likely to occur if there is more efficient muscle mass and less fat. The nervous system is also stimulated which improves coordination and balance. Activating nerves and muscle fibers improves mobility. Progressive stress caused by resistance work improves these functions. The outcome is improved proprioception, which is the ability to recognize body position while maintaining control.
As mentioned earlier, metabolic heat increases as a result of more muscle mass and muscular activity. These activities result in positive biochemical reactions in the body. All your physiological systems work more efficiently. *See Note
This is about quality of life. Spending a day going to an amusement park, biking or swimming depends upon a number of physiological abilities that people don’t consider as part of their physical makeup. A person needs strength, flexibility, endurance, coordination, balance, power and correct biomechanics to enjoy and make the most of activity.
These are the same characteristics an athlete develops. This is General Physical Preparedness (GPP). The degree of development may not be as extreme as your typical athlete but the qualities needed are the same. The person who wants quality and quantity of life needs the same attributes that athletes need to develop.
For the above-mentioned reasons we at ADC are proponents of resistance training. That is, lifting weights in a progressive fashion. The term progressive means you have to regularly increase stress levels to get the proper physiological reaction. I have developed a way of doing that, which is quite unique and has been successful in managing physiological decline.
We lift but we use a vibration plate. The plate activates unused muscle fiber, stimulates the hormonal system, increases bone density, improves endurance and thus improves balance and coordination. In terms of physical health, it is far superior to doses of cardiovascular activity. The hormonal and neurological reactions are far superior.
At ADC, we have been able to design a unique set of protocols that when coupled with the proper doses of vibration will create substantial positive adaptations in anyone. It is a progression that can change your body and your life. Our program is called the ZIPS Real Adult Fitness system. Real Adult Fitness combines strength, power, flexibility, endurance, balance and coordination. All the qualities athletes work to develop are the same qualities a person needs to be physically active and therefore to be able to enjoy life.
ZIPS is also designed to improve biomechanics. There are optimal body positions that make life easier. There are 6 body faults that if improved or corrected can vastly improve quality of life. These instructions are built into the ZIPS system.
This system is designed to improve all major physiological systems in the human body. Anyone’s body at any age will respond. Improving health and functionality can be found by creating proper amounts of stress using a combination of weight training and vibration
This Real Adult Fitness program is delivered in the form of a software program that is diagnostic, instructional and interactive. It is a series of protocols that gradually stress and stimulate the individual physiological systems. They are coupled with biomechanical instructions that make the system transferable to real life. The stress caused by this type of program will produce fitness for anyone who is diligent.
Real Adult Fitness is about achieving a healthy and fully active body where all the systems are functioning optimally no matter what the age.
*Note: Excessive amounts of cardiovascular activity like running produces high levels of Cortisol. It is a hormone that develops in order to help supply the body with energy for extreme cardiovascular activities. This hormone is the reason long distance runners and the like are skinny. It consumes muscle mass and converts it to energy. The loss of muscle creates unfavorable hormonal conditions in the body with respect to testosterone and HGH. Functionally this is not beneficial to a healthy lifestyle. No fat and no muscle mass has a negative effect on many of the organs of the body. That is not to say that cardiovascular activity is not important but extreme forms are generally not going to help build the muscle mass needed to support a truly healthy body.