Generally anti-aging describes cosmetic techniques and procedures which are only skin deep and usually only benefit the appearance of the skin. But is this enough? If your face looks like you are 35, but you are hunched over, or you walk slowly because you have no energy, do you still look young? Does looking young matter if you are in poor health?
What is aging?
There are two types of aging we will look at in this article – chronological aging and biological aging. Chronological refers to your actual age. This can’t be changed (unless you lie about your age). Biological age refers to how fast or slow your body is actually aging. Your biological age is improved by good nutrition, exercise, good sleep habits, your lifestyle habits and your genetics. This article will focus on how exercise can improve your biological age.
How does exercise help with anti-aging?
Exercise has been shown to make your skin more elastic and seems to slow aging of the skin. If you are exercising outside using a safe sunscreen is probably a good idea to keep the skin looking young.
Strength training, stretching and core training help to improve your posture which helps to keep you looking younger. It helps to keep bones stronger which keeps you from having a hunched over posture. Strength training also helps to offset the age related declines in muscle size and strength.
Cardiovascular exercise keeps your heart strong. As we age our cardiovascular system ages too. By doing cardiovascular exercise that works your heart and lungs, you keep the system strong and able to perform what you need to do and have the energy to keep doing it. It also helps to protect you from heart disease and diabetes.
One study showed that athletes’ VO2 max (which is a measure of cardiovascular fitness) declines twice as slowly as sedentary people of the same age. You may not be thinking about this yet, but older people with a strong cardiovascular system remain independent longer.
Exercise affects aging at the cellular level. Your chromosomes contain a piece at the end called a telomere which shortens as you age. Longer telomeres are associated with living longer and exercise helps to slow the shortening of these telomeres.
Exercise helps you sleep and improves your energy levels
Exercise improves your energy levels so you feel younger and probably look younger as well. The key is to get the right amount of exercise so you are getting the benefits of exercise without feeling the fatigue from doing too much.
Exercise helps you to sleep better. Many women start to have trouble sleeping as they get older. This can lead to a general lack of energy, poor cognitive function and decreased immunity. Just make sure you don’t exercise too close to bedtime. This can be too stimulating and keep you from sleeping.
Exercise improves your brain function. A recent study shows that aerobic exercise boosts the size of the brain area associated with memory and learning. Because exercise also improves sleep, reduces stress and improves mood. If you are having trouble in any of these areas it can affect your brain function.
What types of exercise are best?
Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise seems to have many benefits for slowing aging. But don’t discount the effects of strength training and flexibility training. Cardiovascular exercise slows the aging process, reduces the risk of chronic disease and improves your energy levels. Strength and flexibility training improve posture and slow the effects of age related muscle loss.
Exercise is one of the most effective methods of slowing down the aging process. It helps you to look and to feel younger. Click here to get a free exercise plan for menopausal women. If you are looking for advice on antiaging skincare, check out this guest post.