Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Health & Fitness
  3. Weight Loss & Dieting

It's how we roll: Forward momentum is key to success for middle-age exercisers

See also

Research from the University of Scranton suggests that about 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but about 75 percent have little or no success in achieving them. Not surprising, fitness goals are among Americans' top 10 resolutions.

If you’re pushing age 40, getting serious about keeping fitness resolutions and making them a permanent lifestyle choice become increasingly important. Why? Because true to the “use it or lose it” mantra, it is more difficult to recover fitness after 40 because of physiological changes in the body.

Back in the Saddle to Fit: 10 Steps to Reclaiming Athletic Fitness for the Busy Professional uses Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion to emphasize the point. The First Law of Motion states that an object at rest will remain at rest until a force acts upon it to make it move. For sedentary adults, the “force” required will be much greater if we haven’t worked out in years.

Most people reach a physical performance spike around age 25, with a performance plateau between age 35-40, research shows. But the rate of change is not the same for everyone. Sedentary individuals experience the greatest declines in fitness, such a loss of peak force, which can drop about 25 percent by the time a person reaches retirement, research shows. There also are declines in cardio-respiratory fitness and flexibility.

Average life expectancy is increasing as health care improves, with the average life expectancy in the U.S. at 78. If we want to live out those extra years in retirement with excellent mobility and agility, we have to get the boulder moving now in middle age and earlier.

Those tempted to quit early on fitness resolutions by proclaiming “Well, maybe next year,” should remember to balance that decision with the First Law of Motion. The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be to get the sedentary boulder moving forward again.



  • Randy Travis
    Randy Travis returns with 'Influence Vol. 2: The Man I Am' in August
    Today's Buzz
  • Alternative medicine
    Alternative medicine: Remedies to make the bugs in your body go away for good
    7 Photos
  • Beach body
    Fitness: Earn your beach body badge with bootcamp classes
    10 Photos
  • Back to school
    These 10 items are sure winners on your back-to-school shopping trip
    12 Photos
  • Izabel Goulart
    Izabel Goulart walks the runway with Studio F at Colombia Moda
    19 Photos
  • Ombre' technique
    Go for the gusto: What ombre' technique are you?
    5 Photos