Exercise and weight-maintenance tools like the HCG Diet Seattle have a number of health benefits. They help you stay slim and can prevent conditions like heart disease and diabetes. But did you know that exercise also keeps you looking and feeling younger? It’s true. Regular exercise keeps you mentally sharp and fights the age-related inflammation that often contributes to disease. It improves your balance and strengthens your bones; regular aerobic exercise also counteracts the atrophy that can affect your heart muscle as you age.
Exercise even promotes collagen production that keeps your skin smooth and firm. Recent research has even found regular activity slows the effects of aging on a cellular level. Let’s take a look at some of the anti-aging benefits of exercise and how you can reap them for yourself.
Slow Down Your DNA Clock
German researchers at the Saarland University Clinic in Homburg have found that regular exercise actually slows the aging process of your body’s cells. Each of your cells contains your DNA. The ends of your DNA strands are capped with sequences called telomeres. As your body ages and your cells experience more divisions, your telomeres get shorter; when they get too short, the cell dies. Scientists can determine a person’s age by examining the length of their telomeres. Young people have long telomeres, but older people have shorter ones.
Researchers have found that older people who exercise regularly experience as much as a 75-percent reduction in telomere shrinkage compared with those who don’t exercise. You can slow your body’s aging process by performing vigorous exercise regularly over the long term.
Keep Yourself Sharp
Tests on mice performed at the University of Cambridge have found that physical activity encourages the growth of new memory cells in the brain. Mice that got more exercise showed enhanced performance over their non-exercising peers. Scientists believe it’s because those mice benefited from increased blood flow to the brain as a result of activity.
Tests in humans have found that 30 to 50 minutes of an activity, like walking or yoga, three or four days a week boosts blood flow in the brain by 15 percent. This increased blood flow improves memory and eliminates the amyloid-beta protein in the brain. When this protein accumulates, it may cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Cut Your Risk of Falling
As you age, the prospect of taking a fall becomes more menacing — older people with brittle bones risk serious injury or even death from falls a younger person may easily brush off. The good news is that exercise decreases the risk of falls by 13 percent, according to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force.
You’re most likely to fall when you’re moving, so to improve your balance and lower your chances of a fall, choose an exercise routine that allows you to practice balancing while you’re in motion. Tai chi is an excellent choice. You could also practice hopping on one foot — catch your balance after the hop, then switch to the other foot and hop again. Below is an exercise you can do at home to improve your balance
Strengthen Your Bones
Strengthening your bones and improving your balance go hand in hand, because if you do happen to fall, your stronger bones will be less likely to break. Weightlifting and strength-training exercises are the best option to strengthen your bones and improve your overall bone density.
These methods work because, when you use your muscles, they put pressure on your bones. Both your bones and your muscles develop small stress fractures and tears that your body repairs in the hours following your workout, leaving your bones and muscles stronger in the end. Try yoga, calisthenics, weightlifting, running or jumping to reap this benefit. Below is a great exercise program that combines elements of calisthenics and plyometrics, designed to strengthen your bone. This routine can be done whether you are detoxing or not.
It may seem unbelievable, but regular aerobic exercise can actually keep your skin looking younger. That’s because it increases blood flow to your skin, to boost cell regeneration. Aerobic exercise also promotes sweating, which flushes toxins out of your skin to keep it healthy.
Protect Your Heart
As you age, your heart begins to weaken and degenerate. As it shrinks, it becomes less efficient at pumping your blood, and you could become vulnerable to fainting spells and reduced endurance. A 2011 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people over age 60 with a lifelong history of regular exercise and who continued to exercise daily, had hearts as strong as those of people in their 30s.
Exercise has a range of health benefits. Recent research suggests that it helps slow the aging process, and keeps your body looking and feeling young in multiple ways. The more you exercise, the more health and anti-aging benefits you’ll enjoy, but even a small investment in physical activity can offer substantial returns.
About the Author: Contributing blogger Helen Radcliffe is a physical therapist living in the San Francisco Bay area. She took part in the HCG Diet and had fantastic results. She enjoys swimming, yoga and jogging with her dog.