While fitness declines gradually as we age, it’s in our mid-40s when the body is going through a series of key changes that the drop is most pronounced. The scientists discovered that although men reaching 45 are more prone to the fitness slump, it’s also a landmark for women.
People who do nothing to halt the body’s natural decline in middle age are at much greater risk of a whole range of conditions, including obesity, diabetes, raised blood pressure, heart problems, stroke and some forms of cancer.
“It confirms that the mid-40s really are a critical point in life,” says Ken Fox, Professor of Exercise and Health Science at Bristol University and an advisor for the Government health campaign Change4Life.
“It’s the time when muscle mass begins to decrease and fat deposits begin to build up. For men fat gathers around the abdomen, for women it’s spread more evenly around the body.
“A decline in fitness is not inevitable when you reach 45 but if you neglect exercise it’s the time in life when the ageing process causes it to speed up.”
Unless we take plenty of exercise, sort out our diets and ditch bad habits such as smoking, 45 years old is a critical time in life.