This past Friday was my 27th Birthday! And I had the best time this weekend celebrating it with friends and family. I love my Birthday to be honest, it’s second only to Christmas as my favorite time of year. A lot of people once they past 25 stop loving their birthdays and start to get scared of their birthdays. This is mostly because they’re scared of aging. I think we’ve all been told at some point that turning 30 is so scary! And as I creep closer and closer to the dirty thirty, I am less and less afraid of it. I’m not afraid of getting older, because to be honest I don’t feel very old at all! I feel amazing! I mean every year I get more and more athletic, and I’ve become stronger as well. I strive to improve every year, and because of this my confidence grows. I feel way better about who I am now than I did when I was 19. And fitness had a lot to do with it! So many of my clients, especially my female clients are afraid of getting older. Mostly because they are afraid of loosing their looks, their youth, and their vitality. They always ask me, “how do you look so good?” As if somehow my answer would change, and there is some sort of magical pill that will keep them young and beautiful forever. However, I always tell them that the fountain of youth lies within a balanced diet and regular exercise! This article is basically going to talk about how regular exercise can slow down the hands of time, and will help you age much more gracefully than if you didn’t exercise at all.
First of all, your age is just a number. It really doesn’t mean that much, and you should never let your age define who you are. You are capable of being whoever you want, you don’t have to be a feeble, sick, weak, or fat person if you don’t want to be. And you sure as hell don’t have to feel old either! In my mind, you are only as old as you feel, and for the most part this works out pretty well for me, except for the fact that there are social expectations for you as you age… Other than that, I am convinced that I’m not a day over 21 😛 But let’s get down to brass tacks, how exactly can exercises slow down the aging process?
How aging effects your health vs. Exercise:
|Heart and Circulation||Effect of Aging||Effect of Exercise|
|Resting heart rate||Increase||Decrease|
|Maximum heart rate||Decrease||Slows Decrease|
|Maximum pumping capacity||Decrease||Increase|
|Heart muscle stiffness||Increase||Decrease|
|Blood vessel stiffness||Increase||Decrease|
|Number of red blood cells||Decrease||No change|
|Blood viscosity (blood thickness)||Increase||Decrease|
|Maximum oxygen uptake||Decrease||No change|
|Speed of emptying||Decrease||Increase|
|Calcium content and strength||Decrease||Increase|
|Muscle mass and strength||Decrease||Increase|
|LDL (“bad”) cholesterol||Increase||Decrease|
|HDL (“good”) cholesterol||Decrease||Increase|
|Sex hormone levels||Decrease||Slight Decrease|
|Nerve conduction and reflexes||Slower||Decrease|
|Quality of sleep||Decrease||Increase|
|Risk of depression||Increase||Decrease|
As you can see, exercise has a positive effect on your major organs and regulatory systems. Obviously the process of aging is inevitable, but exercise can either decrease or slow down a lot of the effects that aging has on our vital organs, and regulatory systems. Not only does exercise effect our physical health in a positive way, but our mental and emotional health as well. Aging can have a very negative effect on a person’s self-esteem. However, regular exercise can have a very positive effect on a person’s self-esteem. Exercise along with a balanced diet can improve your overall body composition, making you leaner, and stronger. The strength and empowerment you gain in the gym will also give you an increased sense of self-worth and confidence. Aging however, weakens your body. If you don’t exercise, as you age you will loose muscle mass and bone density. This will make you weaker, frail, and more prone to injury. You will loose your independence much more quickly as you age if you don’t exercise, than if you did. As the saying goes, “if you don’t use it, you loose it.” This is very true, as you can see in the chart above, if you don’t keep your body active, your body’s ability to perform will decrease much more quickly than it would with regular exercise.
Exercise is great for the body, mind, and spirit. Regular exercise and activity helps to keep all of these areas youthful. However, if you do decide to improve your physical fitness, and engage in an exercise program, please do so with caution! Especially if you are a beginner! There is no use in injuring yourself and setting yourself further back than when you started. Start off small, choose activities you enjoy, and ask for help! Always consult a professional when it comes to your health! Speak to a doctor, a nutritionist, and a well known coach/personal trainer to get you to a healthier, and longer lasting life! What is the point of living to 100 if you aren’t able to do anything when you get there? Eat well, workout, and you will have a more youthful and fulfilling life as you age.