So, does exercise slow the aging process?
A lot has been written about the health benefits of exercise, and we often end up asking ourselves if it can slow down the aging process. Looking at some interesting facts, it appears that not all athletes live longer and avoid health problems, so does this mean that exercise does not really benefit us?
The jury maybe out on extreme exercise such as marathon and long distance running. There are a lot of evidence that seem to point to the fact that extreme sports activities do not help at all.
Good exercise vs Bad Exercise
Exercise does slow down the aging process, but there is a BIG BUT, not all forms of exercise slow down the aging process. Long distance running may sound great, however, it certainly does not slow the aging process. As a matter of fact, it makes us older. That may sound strange, but long distance running causes a lot of wear and tear on the body.
As a former triathlon athlete, I have successfully been able to wear away a lot of the hyaluronic acid which was supposed to protect my joints. Now, I have to go for six monthly hyaluronic acid injections to make sure that I replace some of that hyaluronic acid. if, I did not go for my injections, I would probably end up with arthritis very quickly. The problem is that arthritis is an inflammation in the body, and can cause a whole host of health problems. It can even attack your heart!
My personal experience tells me that there are some forms of bad exercise, and they include things like jogging and step aerobics.
If, we want to keep fit, and exercise for the rest of our lives, we should be looking at sustainable forms of exercise. Sustainable forms of exercise are the types of exercise that you can do for the rest of your life, and they are the ones that slow down aging. But, what forms of exercise does slow down aging and are sustainable at the same time?
Walking is one of the best forms of sustainable exercise. The great thing about walking is that you don’t need any special equipment. You can just put on a pair of trainers, and go for a walk. It is cheap and you can walk almost anywhere. The health benefits of walking are well recognized, and walking at a good speed, allows you to burn up to 10 calories per minute. That is really great as it means a 20 minute week at about 3 mph, will have burned off 200 calories!
Also, there is very little impact on your joints when you walk. As a matter of fact, walking benefits you joints as it help to make them more open, and you therefore increase your natural flexibility. You don’t need to walk for 20 minutes all at once neither. Going for two 10 minute walks per day, does you just as much good as a longer walk.
Walking can also help to lower your cholesterol level, and blood pressure. Did you know that if you walk for ten minutes before every meal, you would have a better cholesterol balance? On top of that walking helps you to build a better muscle tone, and you feel find that your muscles will become longer. Good muscle tone is important factor when it comes to slowing down the aging process.
There are many different forms of Yoga, and my favorite type of Yoga is Bikram yoga. It is carried out in a hot room, and consists of 26 different poses. It may sound strange at first, but practising Yoga in a hot room can seriously slow down the aging process.
The main benefit is of course that you become stronger and more flexible, but Bikram Yoga helps your body by eliminating toxins as well. During an average class of Bikram yoga, you may loose as much as 2 liters of fluid through your skin, and this really speeds up the removal of toxins.
The other plus side is that you use up a lot of calories as well. In a class, I can burn as much as 600 – 800 calories in an hour. That is more than a runner burns off going for an hours run! The heat helps a lot, and it also makes it easier for us to push ourselves that little bit more. Our muscles become stronger, and our joint flexibility increases.
Many of the ladies in my classes are seniors, and the vast majority of them have some sort of health problem. Do they feel better after having tried Bikram yoga? Most of them suffer from less inflammation, and it seems to help with chronic joint pain as well. Maybe you should find a class near you!
The answer to the question “Does exercise slow the aging process?” is yes, but it has to be the right kind of exercise.