We live in an aging society where about 83 percent of the population will reach the age of 65. This not only means that we’re living longer, but that we’re all frantically searching for the Fountain of Youth.
We all want to know what will make us look younger for the longest amount of time possible.
According to science, exercise can be the answer to the question we seek. Regular physical activity is essential to your overall well-being, especially as you age. Making that all-important choice to improve your physical activity will be the best thing you can do for yourself at this stage in your life.
It will help you age younger and happier.
Here are six top reasons why you should get and stay in shape as you age.
Benefits of Staying Active As You Age
Studies have shown that at least three hours of exercise a week can drastically decrease the aging process and lead to the following benefits:
- Younger looking skin and reversal of the skin aging process
- Stronger bones and joints
- Strengthens the immune system to fight against illnesses and chronic diseases
- Improves balance and flexibility
- Provides a good night’s sleep which ultimately leads to less wrinkles
All these benefits help us to look and feel younger. Keep reading below to learn more!
Physical Health Benefits
It is common to accept physical decline as a normal part of aging. The fact is that if you are not involved in some form of physical activity on a daily basis, you will gradually lose your natural abilities, your health, and you will soon begin to look and feel old.
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to slow down physical aging.
It will help you maintain your independence as you age and increase your ability to live a life free of chronic disease, pain, and disability.
A well-rounded exercise regime will include strength training, cardiovascular exercise, balance exercises, and flexibility training.
The Canadian and American Physical Activity Guidelines state that we should accumulate 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every week. This amounts to about 21 minutes a day.
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Brain Boosting Capabilities
Exercise leads to the release of endorphins in the brain that give you that natural high. It makes you feel good and promotes a healthy mental state. You can’t help but feel great and be energized when you exercise.
The endorphins also help keep your mind sharp. This is especially important because as we age, our mental capabilities may have a tendency to decline.
Exercise helps you feel accomplished and gives you a higher sense of self-worth. And of course, with added physical activity, you will not only feel better, but look better too. That goes a long way towards promoting a positive mindset.
As we get older, we seem to take on more responsibilities and have longer to-do lists. All of this increases our stress levels.
Regular physical activity is a healthy way to relieve tension and help you manage stress. Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, which has a positive effect on your emotional state.
Walking, running, gardening, dancing – even just 20 minutes of continuous exercise can have great benefits for your body and mind.
Something as simple as a daily walk can be a powerful stress-reduction technique. It is easy to do and available to all. Take your worries outdoors, find a pretty place and walk a while.
It is a constructive method of releasing physical energy and emotional stress. Exercise will also help get your mind off your concerns and daily pressures.
Look for simple ways to increase your daily physical activity and watch your stress levels drop.
See Also: Natural Remedies for Stress
Many women say that as they get older, they have more trouble achieving quality sleep. You may be thinking, how would exercise help me sleep better?
There are two reasons why exercise helps improve rejuvenating sleep.
As you exercise, your body temperature is raised. Then the body temperature naturally drops after a few hours. This drop in temperature helps promote sleep.
For this reason, it is better to exercise earlier in the day.
Exercising too close to bedtime will not give your body sufficient time to cool and unwind and be ready for sleep. Closer to bedtime, the best type of exercise is something relaxing like yoga or stretching.
The next reason is that exercise is a stressor of sorts – a beneficial stressor. The body has a way of compensating for this physical stress with deeper and longer sleep.
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More Independent Feeling
Having strong bones and muscles will help you maintain your independence as you age. Imagine not being able to do the simplest tasks like opening a jar, bending down to pick something up, or even just getting out of bed on your own.
Doing weight-bearing exercises will help keep you strong and maintain your bone density. Weight training, walking, hiking, dancing are all great forms of weight- bearing exercise.
As you exercise, you will also remain more flexible and maintain a better sense of balance – two very important aspects of physical independence.
Love the Scale
Being physically active will help keep your weight in check. Through exercise, you will be expending calories that will not get stored as dreaded body fat.
In addition, exercise has a way of increasing your metabolism, which tends to slow down as you age.
Heart disease, diabetes, most cancers and obesity can be attributed to carrying excess weight. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight in your 40’s and beyond will help keep disease at bay.
The Best Type of Exercise for Aging Bodies – High Intensity Interval Training
So now that you’re convinced that you should continue exercising as you age., what’s the best type of exercise to achieve these goals?
High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT is the best exercise for anti-aging. The training involves high intensity training followed by an interval of low output training, such as in the Tabata training method.
This alternation allows our bodies to reach an anaerobic state which increases the capacity of mitochondria and ribosomes.
These organelles deteriorate as we get older, but through HIIT, they work harder and stay healthier to work against signs of aging.
HIIT exercises are pretty flexible, but here are some that you can do daily to keep your body young and healthy.
Read More: Best Tabata Workouts
A minute of sprinting, followed by 90 seconds of walking will help you reach your anaerobic threshold. Repeat these reps four to six times during your session and then cool down with a five-minute walk.
You can do this exercise on a treadmill or outside.
See Also: Sprint Workouts for Weight Loss
You can create your own circuit routine but for beginners you may want to try three rounds of bodyweight exercises such as push ups, squats, butt kicks, and lunges.
You can try adding in other exercises as well, such as the Jacob’s Ladder Exercise.
Then end each round with either a minute walk or by stretching your quads.
Cycling and Swimming
Another great and entertaining way to reach your anaerobic state is to alternate between fast paced cycling or swimming with moderate rides and swims.
Do five minutes of intense cycling and then either walk your bike or slow done.
For a swim, do a high-intensity lap followed by a slower, relaxed swim.
These exercises will keep you in shape while also reducing your fight with aging.
Soon, people will be asking you what your secret is!
Additional Information: Stationary Bike Benefits
5 Age-Related Health Problems You Can Overcome Through Exercise
As we age, our body’s defense mechanisms are constantly weakened. Over time, the body becomes exposed and defenseless to all kinds of health risks; most notably age-related ailments.
Some of these ailments are avoidable if you consistently engage in physical exercise on a regular basis. Although we cannot completely protect ourselves from all diseases by exercising, physical training can help to reduce the magnitude of ailments when they attack our body system and manage health for those already infected with issues.
With advancing age, the body progressively loses the ability to digest the food consumed. Not being able to digest food properly results in a person suffering pain, and uncomfortable experiences as food remain in the body longer than necessary.
The best way to avoid these conditions is to eat a healthy balanced diet at all times. If you eat healthily, your body will almost always work how it is supposed to- as it digests the food in an organized and predictive manner.
Along with this, regular abdominal exercises come in handy in making sure that the stomach area remains active and healthy.
Exercises such as planks are tremendous for strengthening your core and enabling your digestive system to work properly.
Mental Health Issues
It is well- known that some people will develop mental problems with age. These problems include loss of memory, inability to hold sensible conversations, and potentially even Alzheimer’s Disease.
The thought that one day you might suffer amnesia or the Alzheimer’s Disease is quite nerve-wracking. Although some preventive methods are complicated to understand without the help of a specialist, there are other methods that one can effectively employ without much difficulty.
For instance, if you constantly take brain exercises such as games and memory tests, you can greatly reduce the risk of suffering such diseases!
Limb Malfunctions and Joint Problems
A frequently asked question is how a person can overcome limb malfunctions and joint problems through exercise. Many people believe that the body automatically fails as a person ages.
However, this is not true at all. For most people, the body fails due to lack of exercise and constant physical training of all body parts.
Take time to walk and perform different exercise routines, and you will have an excellent chance of ensuring your limbs are active and healthy regardless of your age!
Sight and Hearing Problems
The ability to see and hear properly is reduced progressively with time, especially as a person ages. Macular degeneration and cataracts mostly cause sight problems, and the remedy for such ailments has to be professional and advanced.
However, in many cases, you can avoid developing these ailments by protecting your eyes and ears from elements that could damage them.
Also, exercising your eyesight and hearing ability helps in maintaining these body parts to be healthy and in good working condition.
If you eat a proper diet and live a naturally healthy life, there is a good chance that you will sustain your sight and hearing for longer!
Older individuals are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases compared to the younger ones for many reasons.
These cardiovascular diseases are mainly due to the accumulation of excess muscles around important body parts such as the heart. The body parts on older individuals are squeezed and cannot perform their duties properly, and at times they completely collapse.
Fortunately, this is one problem that is easy to contain and avoid.
Just a basic amount of exercise each day can help you avoid cardiovascular diseases! Walking and other cardiovascular exercises ensure that one can eliminate excess muscles and unnecessary body fat, giving the body enough space and flexibility to perform effectively. Fasted state walking is an excellent way to avoid cardiovascular disease with age.
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Concluding Thoughts – Remaining Active While Aging
Once you begin to experience the many health benefits that exercise provides, I know that it will motivate you to continue to challenge yourself in new and wonderful ways. To learn more about physical activity and aging, check out the resources below!
Remember to eat well, stay active, live happy and enjoy a Healthy Body for Life!
Author of Healthy Body for Life – A Guide for Women Over 40
Carla Hampshire on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HealthyBodyforLife
Disclaimer: If you have not exercised for some time or if you have health concerns such as heart trouble, high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity, talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.