Google search the phrase “how to slow aging” and you will get over two hundred million results — some recommending treatments as outlandish as cactus massages, beer baths, and nibbling fish exfoliators. As you probably already knew, however, exercise is one of the most effective and scientifically-proven ways of slowing the aging process. Here’s why:
1. Heart Health
Even in your 20s, heart health begins to decline. Harvard Health magazine reports that your maximum heart rate begins declining about one bmp per year before you turn 30 — and the heart’s ability to pump blood also starts decreasing around this age.
Fortunately, such trends are reversible. Exercise has been demonstrated to increase maximum heart rate dramatically, while also enabling more efficient circulation of blood and better cardiovascular health in general.
2. Muscular Strength
Unlike heart health, muscle strength tends to continue increasing well into the 30s, with most adults “maxing out” around age 40. However, beginning in your 40s, it is not uncommon to lose nearly 10% of your muscle mass each decade. This process, known as Sarcopenia, can lead to frailty, low energy, and even dangerous falls.
The National Institute of Aging recommends at least two 30 minute strength-building exercises for all adults — if you are interested in starting a weight-lifting routine, then you should check out this recent Top Fitness Mag article on bodybuilding.
3. Mental Decline
Structural deterioration of the brain begins in the 30s, and can lead to decreased attention span, poor memory, faulty reasoning, and depression. In dramatic cases, the brain can shrink nearly 25% by age 80!
The good news? Moderate physical exercise (such as biking, swimming, or even walking) has been shown to slow brain shrinkage and cognitive decline significantly in a study of adults over 70 years of age.
4. Mobility and Flexibility
The decline of these abilities is associated with a number of age-related ailments, such as pain, inactivity, and even depression. These physical changes can be caused by natural tissue changes and the aforementioned loss of muscle mass — but the lack of exercise that often accompanies older age also plays an important role in this phenomenon.
As you can imagine, prioritizing physical activity as you age is one of the best ways to maintain your flexibility and mobility. In addition, flexibility-oriented activities such as yoga, tai chi, or stretches are especially effective.
An unfortunate aspect of aging for many people is loneliness. As older friends and relatives pass away and younger ones get busy with life, many elderly people feel left behind. Decreased mobility and physical health only contribute to this negative trend of isolation
Exercise combats this phenomenon in two important ways. First of all, it provides an important opportunity to meet other people. And secondly, it helps promote good health, which enables older people to stay socially active.
Check out the Top Fitness Mag Lifestyle archives for more info on living your best life!