Feeling like a grumpy old man? It’s no fun to sense your body, your drive and your enthusiasm for life are crumbling as you get older. Guys like to stay healthy just as much as women do: to look good, feel energetic, enjoy a healthy sex life, and avoid the degenerative problems that are often associated with old age in blokes: bladder problems, prostate enlargement, joint pain from arthritis or gout. There’s just one pesky hormone responsible, testosterone, which declines as you age; but there are several strategies you can use to slow down this decline.
In a man’s 20s and early teens, testosterone production drives high energy levels, easy muscle development providing a toned shape with little fat, and a healthy interest in sex. But with ageing, testosterone levels decline, reducing interest in sex, stripping muscle tone, promoting more fatty storage, a low mood, sometimes an enlarged prostrate too. It’s commonly known as the male menopause: ‘Andropause’.
To slow down the ageing process, you need to slow down the decline in testosterone by re-focusing on your health through three major strategies. Here’s how:
Firstly, manage stress better. Everyone experiences stress, but the men who age slower have learnt how to take action which ‘antidotes’ the effects of stress. This won’t just help maintain your testosterone level, it will improve your short term memory, and make you a much nicer person to be around. Taking regular time out is effective. This could mean going fishing, or surfing, playing music, getting involved in team sports, or even meditating.
Secondly, a carefully chosen diet will keep you lean and energetic. Re-focus on protein, especially at breakfast. Protein contains lots of zinc, a particularly important nutrient for men. Eggs or high quality game meat like kangaroo is ideal. Give those breakfast cereals and instant meals a miss, and take the time to make yourself a full cooked breakfast that will set up your energy for the rest of the day. For lunch, look for a salad that includes high quality protein. Your evening meal should focus on protein like seafood and meat, plus vegetables. Fresh fruit and nuts are ideal snacks. Avoid processed carbohydrates (like bread, beer, pasta and sugar) as this will drive fat production, giving you a flabby appearance. Needless to say, regular intake of fast food and soft drinks won’t support good nutrition for you.
Lastly, regular fitness training is essential, especially weight training. The decline in testosterone means that your metabolism is going to shunt energy to fat production (usually on your tummy) unless you are regularly stimulating the growth of new muscle fibres. Training with a fitness professional can keep you safe while pushing you hard enough to get results.
You don’t have to become a grumpy, tired old man as you age. If you’re prepared to put a little work into your stress management, diet and fitness you can really slow down that ageing process and enjoy life more.