Exercise is Medicine
We all know that exercise is beneficial to our bodies and mental health. But did you know that it can actually act as a medicine? If something as simple as exercise could keep you from going on prescription medication, wouldn’t you jump at the chance? The conclusions of this study found that exercise may indeed hold the same benefits as certain drugs when it comes to rehabilitation after stroke, treatment of heart failure, and prevention of diabetes. When you measure the side effects of drugs beside the side effects of exercise, it’s pretty obvious which one is the better medicine.
As we age, strength is one of the first things to go. Our muscles start to shrink and before we know it, we can’t perform even daily tasks like we used to. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of not being able to do things on my own, and my goal is to keep this body of mine as strong and able as long as possible.
Resistance training is the best way to maintain and even build muscle mass. Whether you’re in your 60’s, 70’s, or even 80’s, resistance training is still highly effective for gaining strength.
Losing muscle mass means a loss of skeletal muscle and also causes stress and damage to our joints and bones. Loss of bone mass (or bone density) leads to osteoporosis which means a higher probability of falls and broken bones. Resistance training can help alleviate all of that, keeping you younger longer.
Balance and Flexibility
One way to get old fast is to not stretch your body. Loss of flexibility and movement is a key factor to aging and one that can be reversed by exercising and stretching. Take time each day to stretch out your muscles and loosen things up. Start slow and work up to longer stretches. Not only will stretching help you age slower, it will also improve your performance, decrease your risk of injury, and increase the blood flow to your muscles.
Stress is no joke when it comes to its impact on aging. It is true that we cannot avoid all of life’s stressors, but learning how to manage stress and reduce it as much as possible can help slow down the aging process.
When our bodies are under physical or emotional stress, it releases extra stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These stress hormones are helpful in small bursts and for short periods of time but when your body is constantly in a state of stress it leads to an overload of stress hormones and over time your brain cannot regulate them anymore. This can lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices, which leads to inflammation, and then the cycle continues.
Exercise is a massive stress reliever so even if we can’t remove all stress from our lives, we can at least learn how to manage and relieve it. Going to the gym, going for a run, or going for a hike helps release endorphins which decreases your stress hormones. It can also help you sleep better as well as help with depression and anxiety, all of which are a factor of stress.
I think one of the greatest benefits to exercise is its impact on the cell. Regular exercise increases your blood flow, therefore increasing the “food” to your cells.
Increased oxygen to your brain cells helps improve cognitive function by fostering an oxygen rich environment for the neurons to thrive in. This extra oxygen can also create new neural pathways in your brain which supports your memory and ability to learn new skills.
Your white blood cells also benefit from the extra blood flow by increasing their flow in the bloodstream. More white blood cells in your body means that your system is primed and ready to take on any germs that dare make an appearance.
Improving cognitive function, boosting immunity, and creating new neural pathways are all very significant in the anti aging process.
Finding the fountain of youth and slowing down the aging process will always include regular exercise. You cannot separate the two. A good way to ensure that you take part in regular exercise is to find something that you enjoy and one that keeps you coming back for more, day after day. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Make it fun and mix it up to keep it new and exciting. After all, a healthy body and a healthy mind is the best insurance policy you can have.