We are all searching for ways to be youthful not knowing that the key to it might be in the way we move. It is no secret that exercise slows down aging- some are just unaware of this fact. There’s no need to search for the fountain of youth anymore.
“Fitness is a youth serum,” confessed Maureen Hagan, a physical therapist and fitness expert. “Fitness affects how youthful you look, the way you move, and your ability to do whatever you want, whenever.”
Recent researches show that regular physical activity can decrease inflammation of the body, a side effect that comes with aging. Exercising can also help reduce the risk of heart disease and depression. It also improves overall ability to do everyday activities. If you have strong muscles, you’re likely to stay free of any injury.
“People have been looking for the secret to a long and healthy life for millennia,” Neil Resnick, MD, chief of the division of geriatrics and associate director of the University of Pittsburgh Institute on Aging. “It turns out the most powerful intervention is exercise.”
And this idea had been proved scientifically several times.
In 2013, a study conducted at Harvard shows that exercise is as effective as prescription drugs when it comes to preventing common conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas, claimed that exercise is “giving your body a bigger boost without needing any drugs in your system”. Consistent strength training can also increase bone density thus preventing osteoporosis. At the same time, it also burns calorie, improves flexibility, and promotes stronger heart and lungs.
“We’re probably sort of genetically wired for physical activity,” admitted William Hall, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine. “People who exercise tend to have better immune systems, and the body doesn’t suffer from inflammation as much.”
But it seems like it’s not that easy for some of us to exercise.
“A lot of people are dealing with the consequences of not being active when they were younger. Exercise is one of the easiest prescriptions I give, but it’s the hardest for people to actually implement,” Ronan Factora, MD, a geriatrician at the Cleveland Clinic.
No matter how old you are, it is not too late to start exercising. You can spare 20 to 30 minutes every day for running, walking, cycling or even housework but don’t overdo it. Anything over 70% of your maximum effort can do the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve. Start with a short workout and slowly build it up.
“Exercising at very light levels reduced deaths from any cause by 14 percent,” says Xifeng Wu, MD, professor, and chair of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s department of epidemiology.
Everyone can make their own workout plan that fits their lifestyle. But make sure to consult your doctor first if you have any health concerns.