Forever young is certainly a dream that has captured our imagination. If you are a fan of exercise, you may be well on your way! So what is this magic link between exercise and anti-ageing?
Here are a few ways that exercise can slow down the ageing process.
- Keeps skin healthy-looking
As asserted by Sara Gottfried M.D in her book Younger: A Breakthrough Program to Reset Your Genes, Revere Aging and Turn Back 10 Years, the protein myokines released while working your muscles keep your skin looking young, tight and wrinkle-free. Exercise is a great way to “maintain your lean body mass, keep your metabolism high and your weight on target” so that you can look young and spritely.
- Decreases joint pain, bone loss and wrinkles
According to Michael F Roizen, M.D, author of AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip, as exercise stimulates your muscles to work hard, protein is released onto the blood-brain barrier, which triggers growth in the hippocampus. Not only does this mean less joint pain, bone loss, wrinkles, and more moveability, it also keeps your memory in check (we all have our senior moments). Aerobic exercise, in particular, is a great way to get the hippocampus to do its thing.
- Reduces the risk of age-related diseases
Exercise is the medicine which curbs the risk of age-related diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes (to name a few). There is no better way to keep your bones nice and strong, heart pumping efficiently and your circulation moving. To ensure this is achieved, Dr Gottfried suggests that one should “aim for a resting heart rate of 60 or lower”.
- Promotes healthy sleeping
Sleep depravity tends to make us look haggard (and let’s face it, emphasises the telltale signs of age: wrinkles). Rest assured, exercise is all you need to have a good night’s sleep. Sleep works wonders in keeping the multitude of genes in your body functioning and happy. A good night’s rest also helps diminishes nasty white fat, which is often associated with the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- Increases the length of telomeres
Exercise is like an off-switch to your telomere, the cap at the end of your chromosome, which controls your ageing process. The longer the telomeres the more longevity your body has (unfortunately for us, they shorten as we age). Luck is however in our favour! Recent studies have shown that there is a connection between exercise and longer telomeres. Exercise certainly improves the odds of turning back the clock, even if it may not necessarily safeguard living for eternity.
Anti-ageing exercise tips
For those that have not that are keen to start exercising seriously, give these workouts a go to reduce the effects of ageing:
- Moderate exercise is your first anti-ageing strategy. Think low-intensity workouts, which will strengthen your muscles. One hour of barre exercises four times a week is great for strength building. A session of Yoga is also super effective, as it slows down bone reabsorption and has other health benefits, such as lower cortisol. Simply keeping active in the day, (even if it is just walking) will also help do the trick. You can even start off with a goal of 10 000 steps per day!
- Try set aside at least 30 minutes per day to do some form of cardio, strength, balance and flexibility exercises (it is important to cover all aspects of physical fitness). Take it step by step and build up your strength slowly but surely.
- Jumping jacks are a great cardio exercise and are a super fun way to keep your bod looking young and spry!
- Building a regular exercise plan is the next step moving forward. The more active you are, the better the benefits (inactivity does nothing for muscle loss, associated with ageing).
The best advice I can give is to stay pumped while you exercise (music helps a lot) and make exercise a fun activity you actually want to do.