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Exercise and longevity

 


Different studies show that exercising's powerful impact on our physical and mental state actually slows aging.

  • Increased energy efficiency. A University of Colorado study found that older adults who regularly participate in highly aerobic activities (running, swimming, biking, hikes, etc.) have a lower metabolic cost of walking comparing to sedentary adults. This means as we age, if we are active, we maintain our ‘horsepower,’ or fuel economy. So those who exercise are able to maintain a better quality of life because of their ability to move around easily.

  • Makes your skin younger. Via increased blood flow, sending more oxygen and eliminating waste, exercise keeps skin cells healthy and vital. In addition when we sweat, our pores open and release the build up inside of them. Sweat purges the body of toxins that would otherwise clog up pores and cause blemishes. In a study, researchers asked sedentary volunteers to work out for 30-45 minutes, twice a week, at 65 percent of their maximum heart rate. After just 12 weeks, tests on their non-exposed skin, which had shown normal signs of aging before the study started, resembled those of a 30- to 40- year old.  
  • Improved posture. Due to muscle and bone mass loss as you age, your ability to keep a healthy posture starts to decline. Strength training whether it’s a resistance bands, weights, calisthenics or even an aerobic exercise, such as swimming, rebuilds muscle and prevents bone loss. Plus strengthened as a result core and spine have the added benefit of keeping your body and joints strong, and your taller posture will shave years off of your appearance.
  • Improved flexibility. Any type of exercise makes us more flexible(yoga and pilates are especially effective) and an increased flexibility reduces the risk of injury(such as hip injury) as we age improving our chances to live a longer, healthier lives. 
  • Mental capacity boost. Studies show that regular exercise boosts the size of our hippocampus, the area of the brain that’s responsible for learning and memory. People who exercise may literally have the brain of a younger person, making it easy for them to continue learning and maintain sharp mental health for years longer than those who are sedentary and do not get regular, aerobic movement on a daily basis. Also all types of exercise promote health and survival of brain cells as well as the growth of new blood vessels in the brain.

  • Keeps the metabolism high. Our metabolism naturally slows down with age and if we just let ourselves go with added extra pounds we put ourselves at much higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and other serious health issues. The more muscle mass we have, the quicker our bodies burn calories. So by exercising and keeping your body strong, we are better able to maintain a healthy weight and reduce our chances of sickness and disease.

  • Slowed cells aging. Telomeres, the caps at the end of our chromosomes that are responsible for aging, get shorter as we get older. Recent studies have shown a link between regular exercise and lengthening of the telemores, which suggests that exercise may literally be able to slow our clocks down and help us live longer.
  • Stress reliever. Experts say that one of the keys to living a long, happy, healthy life is the ability to reduce stress and anxiety and move forward after stressful life events. A trait geriatricians call “adaptive competence” describes our ability to bounce back after something stressful happens. Without it, research shows that a high stress level can have an enormous impact on our longevity, shedding up to 33 years off of our lives. Exercising reduces stress, making it more likely that we will live longer and happier.
  • Lowered cancer risk. Different studies suggest that regular exercising can lower the risk of different types of cancer. One study showed that physical activity reduces the risk of colon cancer in men by about 24 percent. Other studies show that risk of lung cancer can be reduced by up to 20 percent with regular physical training, plus, once diagnosed, exercising keeps any type of cancer from spreading.  
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