How Exercise Fights Aging

How Exercise Fights Aging

In trying to look younger, you can slather on the most expensive night creams and try out vitamin C serums; you can try this lotion and that potion. But when all is said and done, it is about how you keep your body feeling and looking young that counts – and what counts is your lifestyle. It is really all about eating the right foods, it is getting in enough sleep and it is exercising the right way that is crucial when it comes to aging gracefully.

Youth = exercise, real food, and good vibes

Exercise does fight aging because it fights disease, an enemy of aging and good health. If you are generally a healthy person, you probably know just how important exercise is to keep fit, strong, and healthy into your older years. But how does all this exercise help the body to age gracefully and what are the best anti-aging exercises and workouts that one needs to do?

There are plenty of outward factors which are associated with aging – look at the things that make you look much older. They are weight gain and thin, wrinkly skin. Myokines; proteins that are released by your working muscles have a lot to do with young looking skin. The body uses the myokines to stay young. That is according to Sara Gottfried. She even wrote a book called “Younger: A Breakthrough Program to Reset your Genes, Reverse Aging, and Turn back the Clock 10 Years”.Myokines, to put it simply might have very positive effects on metabolic disorders too, such as obesity and diabetes.

The bones and the brain are boosted

Did you know that aging already begins in your muscle when you are around 35? This is when you start losing muscle mass, around 5 pounds for each decade. And you gain fat, 1% every year. You need exercise to maintain lean body mass and to keep your metabolism high and your weight on target. Exercise will stress your muscles, which in turn will produce a protein which moves across the brain-blood barrier, stimulating the brain and causing the hippocampus to grow. It is the hippocampus which plays such a critical role in your memory, like when you smell something in the present that brings back such nostalgic memories of the past. That is how the hippocampus plays such an important role – it’s the center of your emotions, your memory, and your autonomic nervous system. All of this works together with the exercising, allowing you to experience less joint pain, less bone loss, and fewer wrinkles, but more ability.

Exercise is massive when it comes to preventing disease because it strengthens the bones in order to prevent osteoporosis and lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease. In fact, it’s hard to find any disease that exercise can’t help with. Exercise helps you to sleep better, regulating all your thousands of genes, shrinking the fat that increases the risk of you getting heart disease and diabetes. Exercise is excellent for working on your circulation. And as we saw above, exercise has the ability to stimulate the hippocampus. What does that mean? Better memory and that you certainly want to hold onto into old age.

If you want to reduce the effects of aging, try out these anti-aging workouts

  • It is recommended that you try out low-intensity workouts because these will strengthen your muscles – things like barre exercises four times a week for an hour or so.
  • Hiking in nature is also recommended because nature is known to lower your stress levels.
  • Yoga is also excellent and counts as strength building because it slows down bone reabsorption.
  • Just any kind of movement is highly recommended. Once you have the basics behind you, you can start with more advanced exercises. If you are not exercising at all, it is better to do something than nothing at all. Even walking. Make your goal of doing 10,000 steps a day.
  • Resistance training or moving the body against gravity that takes up about 30 minutes of your time will give you maximum anti-aging benefits. Then there is cardio – 20 minutes three times a week will do wonders for your heart. Another is jumping. Isn’t it comforting to know that walking has the ability to help to reduce the effects of aging and even jumping jacks will keep the body spry and young?

What about giving your DNA a workout for eternal youth?!

What is coming in the next 20 years are some blood tests that you pay for that will reveal how long you will live. The tests to accomplish this are tests that check the length of your telomeres – a new buzzword in medicine today. Just like the plastic ends of shoelaces, telomeres work in the same way, protecting your DNA against wear and tear. If your telomeres are long, the better for you and the better you will age.

Boost your telomeres

As we get older and move towards middle age and beyond, the telomeres in the cells gradually start getting shorter and shorter. When this starts happening, they are not able to protect the DNA any longer. Problems start happening when the cells divide – it is the DNA that sits right in the middle of each cell of your body and they are constantly getting divided. Every time this occurs, the telomeres get shorter and fragments of DNA get lost. Without the buffer of the telomeres, new cells become problematic and faulty. This is natural, and a natural process of life that starts happening the moment we are born – telomeres getting shorter, continuing to get shorter throughout our life.  It means that when the cells don’t work so well and stop dividing, you are aging. Your skin sags and your immune systems become less effective – it’s when diseases like diabetes and heart disease start occurring. It is the telomeres which prevent this. There are experts who say you can actually build up your telomeres and even improve them.

And don’t think they are not important! Telomeres were originally ‘discovered’ by a US physiologist called Elizabeth Blackburn, and it proved so ground-breaking that she was even awarded the Nobel Prize back in 2009. Some professors of clinical medicine took it even one step further to describe aging simply as a disease that as yet, cannot be cured, but that we today are able to slow down so much. They are busy working hard to produce a drug that targets directly the telomeres so that we can be kept youthful – this they plan on accomplishing in 20 years. In the meantime, they say that it is exercise, a low BMI, a diet rich in veggies and fruits on a daily basis and no smoking they are linked to the longer telomeres, and therefore added years. Try and hold back the stress as well, they say.

Exciting news. So let’s get down to immediately listing way that experts say we can boost the telomeres:

  • Approximately 20 minutes of high high-intensity aerobic exercise a day is required – swimming is excellent. Exercises reduce harmful inflammation, bringing it down, say US scientists. Running and cycling are also good. It is recommended that you basically do 90 seconds of the aerobic exercise, full out, followed by another 90 seconds of recovery. This way is said to have a far greater effect at telomere boosting than the gentler aerobic exercises do.
  • Combine the above with some weight lifting exercises that will build up the muscle – this will reinforce the above aerobic exercises.
  • Next, eat at least 10 portions of fruit and veggies and lots of animal proteins like poultry, beef and fish – all linked to longer telomeres.
  • If you are really interested in fighting aging with exercise and good eating, it is recommended that you follow the Stone Age Diet (Paleo); eating in the same way our ancestors did before the invention of agriculture came about.
  • Cut out grains and dairy as well, leaving the refined sugars and fats well behind, as well as coffee and tea. Replace with the foods mentioned in point 3. 

The above lifestyle of eating offers you plenty of fiber which has long been linked with longer telomeres because there is a high consumption of fruit and vegetables, the basics of the above lifestyle. This will keep your weight down as well as lower chronic inflammation which is good news for being telomere friendly. Don’t let your meat intake be too high though because some researchers have found that this can reduce the telomere length. As mentioned above, research is still going on.

Stop your fussing

Start to learn to handle all that stress so you don’t get all taut and tightly knotted up which can make you ill – being under serious chronic stress can directly impact on telomere length.

Pop the vitamins

Start with at least 10 supplements listed below, but top priority is omega-3 fish oils. Even though some UK nutritionists and doctors are a bit skeptical about all the benefits of supplements, they do conclude however that even when you do eat well today, it can sometimes be pretty hard to get in the level of nutrients needed to help maximize on the slowing of the telomere shortening. Most of the supplements below are recommended to target low-grade inflammation and free radicals which can be so damaging.

  • Right, top of the list is omega-3 fish oils. Studies have shown that those who consumed omega-3 did have the longest telomeres; and those who did not had the shortest. Apart from that, Omega-3 is tops when it comes to anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Next up is acetyl-L-carnitine. Basically, it’s a supplement with certain advantages. It burns the fat for energy and ferries the fatty acids into the walls of the mitochondria. They are then oxidized, being converted into energy.
  • Next, find a real ‘super’ multivitamin which contains high doses of minerals and vitamins, particularly magnesium, potassium, vitamins E, D and C and look out also for green tea and broccoli extracts.

One UK doctor, a leader in anti-aging medicines says that even though he has plenty of patients taking the above supplements, the evidence that they work is not all that strong yet, but that at the moment, the above are the best options to follow whilst research goes on.

It all adds up

** To spur you on though, one supermodel sensation is none other than a grand-mom of age 55, Clair Chrysler. She was chosen to be the “stand-in” for actress Jamie Lee Curtis because of her great body, described as being lissome, lithe and youthful. Clair claims to have been surprised to get the part, because they are of such different ages, and also the fact that Jamie Lee Curtis is noted for flaunting the most gorgeous bod in Hollywood **

There are some of us whose bodily parts are drooping rapidly as age creeps on. When we read the above, we jump for joy that there is hope for those who are on the wrong side of 35 – that we can still be considered attractive. On the other side, it brings us a bit of gloom that the above 2 people, Clair and Jamie must surely devote agonizing hours sweating it out in the gym to achieve such perfection, right? Is that all worth it? Because the fact that a 55-year-old is receiving so much attention on her body-look indicates how superb it really must be, that she has achieved something that really is beyond our reach? How can any of us achieve that? Especially for those whose only exercise is getting up in the morning and doing the necessary steps.

It does not have to be so grueling; it just requires plenty of movement

Clair does admit to spending her life doing exercises. She claims to have worked hard to get where she is. She says she also gets plenty of sleep and she says she sticks to the fruit and vegetable regime. But one health and beauty guru, Liz Earle, says it does not have to be all so grueling, that it is not so hard to have a good body when you are older. She says the big thing is what you eat and that it is never too late to start, that between 9 and 90 years, you will be able to see a difference just by what is at the end of your fork; that good food is a preventative medicine because it gives you a radiant complexion and shiny, healthy hair. She also suggests you take vitamins, particularly vitamin E and the antioxidants which keep the body looking young.

However, if you want to go a bit further, she adds – if you want to streamline your body if you are over the 35 age group, then you cannot escape exercise. And most people think that the longer you wait and put off exercising, the more you will have to catch up on in the future to prevent seeing it sag another 2 inches every year. The fitness gurus say that is the result of muscle wastage. And we know that muscle wastage can improve at any stage of anyone’s life. What really makes a body look superb is excellent muscle to fat ratios. The way to achieve this is by increasing your muscle strength through exercise. Then it is possible to see women of 40 with bodies of 25-year olds.

Another nutritionist, Anita Bean says that anyone can keep their body looking younger and that there is no physiological reason why anyone should end up being flabby. It’s that people, as they get older, stop doing, or do less of the strength- related activities and then gradually lose their muscle. That can be around 4lbs on average.

But there is good news – healthy activity doesn’t have to dominate our lives at all. Look at Marie Helvin. She is 43. She says she does 3 hours of exercises in a week. That’s not a huge sacrifice. Sometimes, she says, she’ll run or use ab machines. But she also is committed to detoxing, claiming it’s really what all works for her. She says she detoxes every Sunday by drinking hot water and honey, giving her body a “holiday” for 24 hours. Her secret? She’s not an exercise addict, although it is important, she is committed to a very healthy lifestyle too, of vegetables, fish and brown rice.


There are just heaps of reasons why we do slow down and become sedentary as we age. It could well be due to health problems, it could be because we are so overweight, or because we are in pain – maybe we are worrying about falling; our memory is failing. Maybe you haven’t realized the benefits of exercise in aging and have always just tried to eat OK but leave out the exercising.

In actual fact, as you grow older, being involved in an active lifestyle is more important than ever before; more important than your health, which health problems might not even be there had you started with exercises years before.  Get moving today, it is NEVER too late; it boosts your energy, you maintain your independence, you can manage the symptoms of illness that come your way, you protect your heart, not needing to rely on anybody else to keep tabs on you. And studies are conclusive; that physical activity is the number one thing to do if you want to have a long life – it adds LIFE to your years. You will look good, you will feel sharp, you will have more energy and you will be filled with a sense of wonderful well-being. The benefits are just all there: maintaining your weight, reducing the impact of chronic disease and illness, enhancing mobility, balance, and flexibility, improving sleeping, improving your self-confidence and mood and keeping your brain alert!

Ultimately, by achieving and maintaining a youthful body does take time and effort, and those that are truly dedicated will claim that is also about your personal well-being and your appearance. The exercises are excellent for keeping your body from aging faster and then the outside results are just a wonderful bonus. The extra cherry on the top would be if we exercised like some people do – day and night. But that is certainly something most of us will not be able to achieve. Which is simply why it is so important to settle for what is realistic when you embark on your exercise regime. Obviously, we all have our genetic body shapes and if you are pear shaped, that is how you will always be, exercise won’t fix that.

No, you won’t look like Jamie Lee Curtis or her stand in body type, Clair, but hey, if it adds years on to your life and you can run upstairs and go into  your golden years with health, body and mind intact, you would surely have found that pot at the end of the rainbow!

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