Can regular workouts actually help slow down the aging process? According to some experts maintaining muscle mass is critical to keep the symptoms of aging at bay. This article covers why the right type of exercise and a solid nutrition plan become increasingly important as you grow older.
Did you know that from the age of 30, your metabolism slows down by up to 5% per decade? This means that you start losing muscle mass (up to 5% per decade) and gaining weight at an increasing rate as you grow older, even if your calorie intake stays the same.
Research shows that, without regular exercise to maintain muscle mass, you will age an extra 6 months for every year that passes after you pass 40.
Muscle costs your body energy to maintain, causing you to burn more calories and fat. However, most people lose the amount of muscle needed to burn an additional 4 pounds of fat every single year once they pass the age of forty.
This age-related muscle loss (called sarcopenia) also makes us weaker and causes us to lose mobility as we age. Research from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research indicates that this may increase the risk of falls and fractures up to 2.3 times.
Luckily, research also shows that specific exercise routines and nutritional habits can significantly slow down the aging process, right down to a cellular level. It can help you look and feel years younger than your actual chronological age.
Experts agree that a few simple lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in your health, fitness level and appearance. However simple doesn’t mean easy.
You don’t have to depend on expensive supplements or medical treatments if you want to look and feel younger, but it will take some work. It all comes down to providing you body with a sufficient amount of the right type of exercise and the nutrients it needs to keep functioning optimally.
Benefits of anti-aging exercises
Working out regularly has significant internal and external benefits. In other words, it will not just make you look younger and fitter on the outside, it can significantly improve your internal and mental health as well. Some of the most important benefits of regular exercise when it comes to anti-aging are:
- Stronger bones: Strength training and resistance exercises help to maintain and increase bone mass. This reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- Maintain muscle mass: Not only does this keep you body looking ‘toned’, it is also crucial in boosting your metabolism and preventing excess body fat.
- Healthier and younger cells: Research suggests that regular exercise can actually counteract cellular aging. People who work out have longer telomeres (tips at the ends of chromosomes that help protect your DNA and act as a biological marker for aging).
- Looking younger: The combination of maintained muscle tone and healthier cells has the effect of making you look (and feel) younger and fitter.
- Keep your brain healthy: Research shows that regular exercise helps improve blood flow to the brain. This provides your brain with the oxygen it needs and also prevents the buildup of proteins which have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Cardiovascular health: Working out helps keep the heart and blood vessels healthy and elastic. This is crucial in order to maintain proper blood flow throughout your body.
- Better stability and balance: The strong muscles and bones which are the result of regular resistance training will help maintain stability and balance. This decreases the risk of falling as you grow older.
- Lower the risk of diabetes: Research indicates that weight training helps control weight and reduce blood sugar levels. Your muscles rapidly use glucose during a workout. This energy consumption continues for hours after you’ve finished. Working out between 60 and 150 minutes per week could lower your risk of diabetes by 25%.
The right type of exercise for anti-aging
There is a strong relationship between exercise and the effects of aging. Staying active plays a major role in maintaining your health and fitness as you grow older.
However, not all exercises are created equal says IRON MAN editor in chief and co-author of Old School New Body Steve Holman. For instance, as he explains in his article ‘5 Steps To Looking 10 Years Younger‘, doing long hours of cardio training every week can actually decrease your results and even accelerate the aging process if you don’t balance it with a sufficient amount of resistance training.
This is actually good news. It means that you don’t have to spend countless hours in the gym to actually see results from your workout. The trick is to do the right amount of the right type of exercises. By implementing a proven workout routine, you can experience great anti-aging benefits with as little as 90 minutes of exercise per week, spread out over 3 short thirty minute workouts.
For the best results you should make sure your workout includes resistance training. Whether you are a man or a woman, strength training is crucial in maintaining muscle mass, bone strength, stability, a healthy metabolism and successful body transformation.
Sometimes less is more
When it comes to exercise, you need to know how much is enough. You can have ‘too much of a good thing’. This is especially true for resistance training.
So, what’s the best way to do resistance training? According to Steve Holman – who is in his fifties and still looks fitter than most 30 year olds (see Over 50 and still looking amazing ) – the best way to go about resistance training once you pass 40 is using moderate weights and high fatigue sets.
Steve uses a method called the F4X (Focus Four) protocol. You can read more about how it works in this article.
The benefits of resistance training actually occur after the workout. This is when your body starts repairing, healing and strengthening muscle tissue. This means you have to provide your body with sufficient recovery time between workouts. Three 30 minute workouts a week, when done correctly, can actually bring you better, safer and faster results than hours upon hours of cardio.
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