We are excited to be partnering with TheOptimal.me to provide this important preventative health tip.
What’s the secret to smart aging?
We’ve all had that moment where our age dawns on us. Whether you’re conscious of losing muscle and tone, or wondering if forgetfulness is maybe a bigger issue, or if you slowly start resenting gravity, as we age there are signs of time marching on.
None of us aspires to age in poor health, or live up to the demeaning stereotypes around seniors. And the great news is that we don’t have to. Yes, we’ll get older, but how we do so is almost entirely up to us! And the secret is no secret at all.
Movement and exercise aren’t just good for you physically, they significantly increase your longevity and ward off disorders associated with aging.
A decades-old preventative tactic
Your body is your best tool when it comes to slowing down the negative impacts of aging. When you think about it, it makes so much sense you might wonder why you hadn’t thought of it sooner. “There’s a reason why for centuries exercise has been the go-to prescription for vitality,” writes Dr. David Sinclair, Ph.D., in his New York Times best-selling book, Lifespan: Why We Age & Why We Don’t Have To. “Exercise, by definition, is the application of stress to our bodies,” he says. This isn’t the bad stress we immediately want to avoid. This kind of stress activates your survival network, increasing your energy production and forcing your muscles to grow extra oxygen-carrying capillaries. Big win for your body.
Most of us live lives based around sitting and we don’t move enough. This increases cancer and depression risk, lower cognitive ability, increased blood sugar levels and can actually trigger sleep disruption and insomnia, disk degeneration resulting in back pain, and more according to Dr. Frank Lipman, a leader in functional and integrative medicine. “We can’t change our genes. But in the vast majority of cases, we can change how our genes express themselves.”
Exercise has also been linked to keeping your mind young. “Exercise is like a super-charged 401K for your brain,” says NYU neuroscientist, Dr. Wendy Suzuki. The impacts of exercise are immediate, long-lasting and protective of the brain and its functions. “The research shows that as we age, it is imperative to stay in motion and exercise to maintain cognitive function.”
At TheOptimal.me, we like to say “the less you do, the less you can do.” Fundamentally, what keeps us young – both at heart and in body – is our ability to move.
And, as if that’s not enough, there are more healthy-aging benefits associated with exercise and movement:
- Lowers inflammation
- Decreases risk of diabetes, colon cancer, and osteoporosis
- Lower chances of heart disease
- Alleviates high blood pressure
- Boosts mood and helps manage stress better
- Improves sleep and immune system
- Promotes digestive function
- Helps with balance so you are less likely to fall and injure yourself
All of which will contribute to making you look and feel your best!
What counts as exercise? Is it ever too late to start? And what to do if you hate exercise.
Some people are born exercise fanatics… some are just disciplined and others retreat at the thought. If you only think of exercise as hitting the gym, running miles every week – think again… You don’t have to run marathons to benefit from its age-defying properties.
As you hit midlife, you actually need to ease up. Instead, you should look at integrating physical activity into your everyday routine. It’s all about frequency of movement and not exertion. What’s more is that it’s never too late. Even if you only started exercising in your 50s, 60s or even older, the improvements to your muscles, bones, cardiovascular, respiratory and cognitive health will kick in nearly immediately. There are studies to prove it.
In just a few weeks, you’ll feel stronger, more energetic and happier.
But it’s also important to avoid injury
Injury triggers your body’s natural inflammatory response, which can further age you. “We’ve all been told at one point or another to push through the pain – this is terrible advice when it comes to aging well,” explains Jannie Classen of TheOptimal.me. We want to protect and preserve our muscles, not pummel them. So, look after yourself and move well!