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When I set out on my health and fitness journey more than 15 years ago, my goal was simply to get in the best shape as possible. At that time, it meant losing weight and developing nice lean muscles. Over the years my goal has evolved to living an overall healthy and fit lifestyle which includes eating healthy most of the time and staying as active as possible. What I did not realize was that by living a healthy and fit lifestyle, I would also experience anti-aging benefits as an added bonus!! So, if you are the type of person who would rather enjoy a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits instead of giving your muscles a little more stretch, you better think twice. That lifestyle speeds up aging. How? Well, inactivity accelerates aging in two ways: it decreases our muscle strength and gives us extra pounds.
As we age, the quantity and strength of our muscle fibers diminish. In fact, we lose two to four pounds of muscles every ten years. Decreased number and strength of muscles causes our muscles to lose flexibility, losing our usual range of motion and optimal strength.
Lack of exercise is mostly to blame. It was found out that not exercising for even just a week weakens our muscles significantly. Moreover, if you do not exercise for a month, you will lose almost 50% of your original muscle strength. Some people may not even notice their atrophied muscles because of the fatty buildup in their body.
Gaining extra pounds
The simple logic here is that if you are inactive, you gain extra pounds, and extra pounds can age you. But hey, there ís a missing link. How does an increase in weight speed up aging?
Researchers have recently found out that as people become heavier and became more insulin resistant (a common side effect of being fat and heavy), their telomeres (strands of DNA at the end of a chromosome that protect the tip from destruction and classically shorten with age) shrank more than those of people who didn’t increase their weight and developed more insulin resistance, an apparent sign that the aging process was speeding up among those who are overweight. Researchers indicate that the stress caused by increased weight and insulin resistance spawn inflammation and free radicals that damage cells. Simply put, a heavier body ages its own DNA.
The good news is, you can recover what you have lost and slice off what you have gained. Research clearly shows that a healthy lifestyle and exercise can help keep your DNA younger.
In studies, regular exercise has been proven to reduce the instances of diabetes, muscle atrophy, cancer, stroke, Alzheimerís, and heart diseases. Regular workouts help prevent hypertension, reduce body fat, raise High Density Lipoprotein (good cholesterol), lower Low-Density Lipoprotein (bad cholesterol), improve circulation, keep the bowels healthy, and regulate key hormones.
With all of these benefits, there is no question that a workout consisting of cardio, yoga, and weight training would have a positive impact on your health.
- Jogging, cycling, walking, and swimming for thirty minutes a day for about five times a week. Doing these of higher intensity everyday can be helpful in bringing more blood and oxygen to our brain. These activities also guard your heart by lowering blood pressure, reducing LDL, and keeping arteries flexible to improve circulation.
- Weight training for 20 minutes a day, twice a week can be of great help in having strong bones, and muscles, which of course includes the heart. For beginners, 3-5 pound dumbbells will do.
- Yoga is one of the best activities to fight stress. It relaxes the body, thereby, keeping stress from burning you out. It also protects the body against free radicals that break down the elasticity of the skin.
Exercise does not only keep you young, it also helps you sleep, firms you up, improves your mood, keeps you slim, and take note of this, charges up your sex life 😀
– Wishing you continued success in your fitness journey!
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