Aging brings complications such as weakened muscles and thinning bones, but fitness can help!
You may or may not already use anti-aging creams, serums, lotions and the like. Did you know, though, that incorporating an exercise regimen into your life may be the number one anti-aging mechanism of all? Here’s how!
Slow the Aging Process via Bone Health
Light, low impact exercise supports bone health by strengthening your bones. As you age, a minor fall carries more and more of a risk of injuring you, especially if your bones have weakened.
Luckily, functional fitness exercises can help you to build strength back into your bones. Lunges and squats, for example, are perfect for supporting bone health as you age. Try the exercise below:
Stationary squats: Plant your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, with your toes pointing straight forward. Then, squat down as if you are sitting back in a chair, with your back straight. If you can, squat until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Make sure your toes don’t go past your knees. Stand up and repeat for three sets of 10 reps.
Maintain Your Cardiovascular Health
Exercise supports the cardiovascular system by elevating your heart rate. By increasing circulation, you’re promoting a healthier heart and allowing oxygen to more efficiently flow to your lungs and brain. The best part is that the effects of cardiovascular exercise last even when you’re at rest!
A poor or weakened cardiovascular system can cause complications such as strokes or blood clots. Luckily, cardiovascular exercise is easy to incorporate into your daily routine. A great example of cardiovascular exercise is:
Walking: Try walking around your neighborhood for at least 20minutes every day. For an added social benefit, bring a friend. The time will fly right by.
Reduce Diabetes Risk and Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
Did you know that you can slow the aging process and stabilize your blood sugar levels by maintaining a daily fitness routine? It’s true—light exercise, such as walking daily, helps the body to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
This helps to fight the onset of diabetes. In addition, for those already living with diabetes, daily exercise helps to decrease symptoms. Try the exercise below to help you stabilize your blood sugar levels:
Biking or stationary biking: You can use a bicycle or your gym/at-home stationary bike. Pedal at a moderate pace for at least 20minutes per day for cardiovascular benefits in order to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Fitness Helps to Keep Your Cells Healthy
Inside of every cell of our body, we have chromosomes of DNA. The end of each chromosome is called a “telomere,” and science has shown that telomeres tend to shorten the older we get.
What does this mean? Well, science tells us that shortened telomeres can actually lead to shrunken veins. This is a problem because shrunken veins can cause complications such as stroke and heart disease. So how do we keep those telomeres long as we age? Exercise, of course!
If it is available for you, you may incorporate HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts into your fitness regimen. These workouts, which mix intense cardiovascular exercise with bodyweight training, are shown to increase telomere length. Try this exercise:
Dancing: Who said HIIT had to be boring? Dancing to your favorite songs can provide benefits too! Try dancing to four fast-paced songs with a minute of rest in between each.
Increased Muscle Mass Helps With Complications of Aging
As you age, your muscle mass naturally decreases—that’s just how the human body is built. That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do about it, though. Exercise can help to keep your muscle mass healthy and can help you to slow the aging process.
Light weight lifting or bodyweight training are good options to help you to build and maintain muscle mass. Increased muscle mass can help prevent falls, which—as mentioned earlier—can pose a threat for injuries if your bones have weakened. Try the exercise below to increase muscle mass:
Wall Push-Ups: Stand about one foot back from a wall, and plant your hands on the wall, slightly wider than your shoulders. Bend your elbows until they reach 90degrees, and then straighten. Repeat for three sets of 10 reps.