Exercise and aging are intricately connected. For better or worse.
Let me start with the good news right away.
No matter your age – 60s, 70s, 80s – it is never too late to start exercising.
Secondly, the many benefits of slowing down the aging process due to exercise are obvious and encouraging.
In some cases, age-related decline in health can even be prevented.
I personally know the astonishing health rewards the older adult gets from staying physically active to be rejuvenating, inspirational and motivational.
As you and I age, there may be some physical changes in body and brain. We can acknowledge and deal with them. They're a part of life.
It is a myth that mental decline is inevitable in old age. But you do need to keep your brain functioning optimally by supplying it well with oxygen and nutrients via your blood vessels.
You may want to review the page on Alzheimer's disease in connection with today's topic.
Your body has pretty much the same needs as your brain.
Exercise gets your heart pumping an increased supply of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to all other regions below your brain.
This physical activity can offset the loss of muscle mass. Did you know that, according to research, maintaining muscle mass can regulate hormones, moderates chronic inflammation, and keeps us looking younger? The mirror has a way of reflecting this.
It can offset the loss of lung capacity. It keeps immune function intact. It also keeps large arteries such as the aorta and the carotid arteries (which feed the brain) supple and open (to prevent hypertension, heart disease and stroke).
Please bear in mind that these are only a few examples of the multitude of exercise benefits to both brain and body.
Until now I have been talking about moderate exercise.
The subject of exercise and aging takes on a somewhat different perspective when we get into long-term excessive exercise.
This can possibly hasten aging, because putting your body under prolonged extreme stress, the hormone cortisol is released.
It not only breaks down collagen and elastin (making your skin look older than your true age), it causes problems with your thyroid, neurotransmitters and free radical cell damage.
That said, regular and moderate physical exertion most assuredly will give you a well-balanced approach to exercise and aging.
At the risk of repeating myself, there is so much clinical research evidence demonstrating beyond any doubt:
You can turn the clock back on the aging process. You can – on your own, or with caring professional help – regain many capacities and functionality that you were used to when you were in your 30s and 40s.
I said in the beginning of this page that exercise and aging are intricately connected. They are also polar opposites.
I firmly believe that exercising on a regular basis is the best means – together with a truly healthful anti-aging diet - of keeping the aging process at bay.
Start now with an exercise regimen – and push physical and mental decline as far away as possible.
Push-ups are a good start.
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