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Fit after 50: Aging gracefully with exercise and a healthy diet

Reginald Williams
Special to the AFRO

Aging is often a maligned occurrence. As men age, many begin to experience a host of physical ailments that can interrupt day to day life. Aching knees, shoulders, back and hips or a slower metabolism are just a few of the common complaints. It isn’t unusual to hear men claim they hurt in places they never knew existed; moving gingerly becomes a way of life. 

According to the National Institute of Health, muscle mass begins to deteriorate by as much as three to eight percent per decade after age 30 and even more aggressively after 60. A lack of exercise heightens a body’s physical decay. It affirms the adage: “If you don’t use it, you will lose it.”

Health experts maintain that muscle and strength loss plays a significant factor in why older adults live with chronic disabilities. The problems that more senior men experience is not due to their aging, but their abandonment of physical activity. It isn’t unusual for former well-fit athletes to embrace—in their later years— a sedentary lifestyle complemented by a poor diet. The axiom, “You are what you eat,” has been proven truthful. Black men, who have the lowest life expectancy, live with and die from preventable chronic illnesses largely due to poor diet and minimal physical activities.

“You have to treat your body right so that it can treat you right.”

Chronic illnesses and death have little to do with aging, and more about abstaining from healthy actions. Eating nutrient-dense diets, complemented with daily movement, is instrumental in living with less pain and fewer compromising chronic illnesses.

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