Youth boost­ing work­outs

Whether you’re in your 50, 60s or older, it’s never too late to get fit – and en­joy the many ben­e­fits of ex­er­cise

Good Health (Australia) - - Contents -

It’s never too late to im­prove your fit­ness! Here’s how.

Now is the time to take con­trol of your fit­ness. Whether you are jug­gling your ca­reer and fam­ily, or en­joy­ing hav­ing more time on your hands, you’ll reap huge ben­e­fits from fo­cus­ing on your own well­be­ing.

Af­ter all, by in­cor­po­rat­ing var­i­ous types of ex­er­cise into your life, you can lose weight, build mus­cle, im­prove bone den­sity and skin tone, and re­bal­ance your hor­mones and en­ergy, all of which will help slow down the age­ing process and cre­ate a fit­ter, more en­er­getic you.

“By ex­er­cis­ing, you can trick your body into be­hav­ing younger,” says Tracey Mcalpine from Fight­ing Fifty. “There’s an ex­cit­ing cor­re­la­tion be­tween ex­er­cis­ing and slow­ing the age­ing process at a cel­lu­lar level. When we ex­er­cise, our brains nat­u­rally re­lease hu­man growth hor­mone (HGH) which nor­mally de­creases with age. But by ex­er­cis­ing we can stim­u­late its pro­duc­tion, help­ing us to look and feel younger.

“Aer­o­bic ex­er­cise has also been shown to lengthen the life of telom­eres, the end ‘caps’ to your DNA,” says Mcalpine. “When they shorten, your cells age faster. By length­en­ing them and keep­ing cells healthy, they per­form bet­ter.”

Post-menopausal women, with an av­er­age age of 55 and who have a sta­ble weight, are ca­pa­ble of per­form­ing many of the same en­durance train­ing ex­er­cises as younger women, shows a US study. The phys­i­cal and hor­monal changes that come with age don’t slow the abil­ity of these women to get fit.

MAKE IT REG­U­LAR

One hour a day of ex­er­cise for 12 weeks can give you the car­dio­vas­cu­lar and meta­bolic ca­pa­bil­i­ties of women 16 years younger.

And while you can’t stop the clock, other re­search proves you can slow its tick. The key is reg­u­lar ac­tiv­ity – build­ing up to three to four times per week. Mcalpine agrees: “You need to be work­ing out for at least 30 min­utes three to five times a week and the more mus­cles you ac­ti­vate at the same time, the more you’ll fire up your youth-en­hanc­ing hor­mones.”

SKIN BEN­E­FITS

Ex­er­cise can also be the ul­ti­mate skin cleans­ing rou­tine, nour­ish­ing the cells and help­ing to re­move waste prod­ucts. “Ex­er­cise in­creases the blood flow to pe­riph­eral sur­face and col­la­gen lev­els to keep mus­cles and the tex­ture of the skin in­tact,” says Dr Ma­halingam Lak­sh­manan, an in­te­gra­tive medicine prac­ti­tioner.

“Mod­er­ate ex­er­cise on a reg­u­lar ba­sis also has an anti-in­flam­ma­tory ef­fect on the body, which is an­ti­age­ing, whereas chronic in­flam­ma­tion such as joint pain is as­so­ci­ated with age­ing,” says Dr Lak­sh­manan.

STICK WITH IT

Those ex­tra steps you take, the ex­tra five min­utes play­ing ten­nis or the Pi­lates class you al­most didn’t go to, all add up to big changes long term. It’s just a ques­tion of choos­ing the right types of ex­er­cise, stick­ing at them and hav­ing re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions.

Ex­er­cise isn’t only about chang­ing what’s on the out­side, but just as much about cre­at­ing shifts in your in­ner world – im­prov­ing mood and self-es­teem. And if you also make sure your diet is healthy and you’re get­ting enough sleep, you’re even more likely to reap the full health ben­e­fits and fur­ther slow the age­ing process.

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