(Editor’s note; This is the second in a series on how nutritional and fitness needs change as a person ages.)
Not only do the requirements of remaining physically fit change with age, but those changes differ for the sexes, according to Carey Long, a fitness expert at Spectrum and the author of “Real-Life Fitness.”
“Most women tend to have better flexibility throughout their lives,” Long said, “but bone density decreases faster, whereas men tend to have thicker, denser bones possibly because of lifting heavier weights as 20-year-olds.”
Long suggests that as women grow older, their fitness regimens should focus on building strength, but older men should work toward increasing or maintaining their flexibility.
“It is important that both sexes maintain equal cardio training,” Long said.
Long noted that nutritional needs for both sexes also change as aging progresses, in large part because most people slow down as they age. This diminished activity means that the requirements for calorie consumption for energy also diminishes.
“A prime reason we see a more overweight aging population is because they still eat the same volume of food everyday now as they did when they were younger and more active,” he said. “Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruit should be the staple of every meal, with lean proteins thrown in for lean muscle building.”