Strength training for longevity

Anti ageing exercise


You want to stay young? You need to stay active and do some anti ageing exercise. Studies show that active older people resemble much younger people in their health and physiology. So if you want to hold back the years for your brain and your body you need to stay active, regular exercise is important no matter what your age, as it plays a crucial role in keeping you healthy. Failing to stay active will only cause some of the negative symptoms that are typically associated with ageing, such as weakness and loss of balance. Maintaining a good exercise regime as you age will help you stay strong and agile, keeping you feeling younger!

It’s also never too late to start, as scientists at the University of Texas proved that when they put five unfit, overweight 50 year olds on a six-month regime of walking, jogging and cycling and the training reversed 100% of their age-related decline in aerobic fitness and took the men back to their baseline fitness at age 20.

Regular squats and lunges will strengthen your leg muscles and could also help to keep your brain young. Scientists discovered by tracking a group of identical twins over a period of 10 years that
their leg strength was a better predictor of cognitive change than any other lifestyle factor. If done correctly, squats are good for strengthening ageing knees. Your exercise regime is not the only time you need to squat, for example when you’re picking up your grocery bags, and it’s important to learn to do it correctly so you’ll help your joints rather than harming them. Women should squat with their toes turned slightly outwards, as this allows your femur to line up properly in the hip joint. Men have a different hip structure and should squat with their toes forward. Anti ageing exercise is essential

Strength training becomes more important as you age. From your mid 30s muscle mass starts to decline and post menopause that accelerates, affecting your metabolism, strength, balance, bone health and even your diabetes risk. So just a few minutes of high intensity interval training can build strength and fitness in one go improving insulin sensitivity, aerobic fitness and muscle strength after just a few weeks. Aerobic activity improves mitochondrial function (the work of energy-producing organelles in cells) which typically decreases with age. To minimise this decline try to get at least the recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week. This can include running, fast walking, cycling, swimming, dancing and various sports. Speak to your personal trainer who will tailor a programme to suit your needs.

To keep your flexibility throughout your life, you need to stay active and stretch out. Flexibility is needed to perform everyday activities with relative ease. Simple things like getting out of bed, lifting children, or sweeping the floor, but again our flexibility tends to deteriorate with age, often due to a sedentary lifestyle. Over time, we create body movements and posture habits that can lead to reduced mobility of joints and compromised body positions. But by staying active and stretching regularly we can help prevent this loss of mobility, ensuring independence as we age. Being flexible significantly reduces the chance of experiencing occasional and chronic back pain. Again speak with your personal trainer.

What about balance, this again declines as we get older, balance is a complex operation involving your muscles, eyes, inner ear and receptors in the nerves of your joints. It is vital to keep your balance as you get older, if you don’t use it you lose it! Try some simple exercises – heel rises – rise up onto your toes as far as you can then drop down and repeat 10-20 times – or sit to stand, without using your hands get up from a chair and sit down 10-20 times, even balancing on one leg while cleaning your teeth would help.

Exercise can help to prevent negative effects of ageing on the brain as well as the body – especially if you choose activities which engage both! Sports such as tennis and racquetball can help to keep your reaction times quick, while activities such as learning choreography can help with memory. The connection between the right and left hemispheres of your brain deteriorates as you age, which causes them to have trouble communicating with one another. But you can combat this decline with physical activity and simply include some movements where you cross your legs and arms over the midline of your body – this forces the two sides of your brain to communicate, strengthening the connection between them.

So as you can see exercise can helps not only your body but also your brain to stay young, start getting more active today.

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