Did you know that exercise keeps you young longer? Yes, that's right! Exercise is one of the easiest hacks you can do at home to keep you looking not only hot on the outside, but also trigger cellular regeneration from the inside to keep your body healthier and younger for longer.
There have been multiple studies published on the importance of exercise not only for your health but also on its anti-ageing benefits.
Physical inactivity is the fourth biggest cause of deaths in Australia. The risk of death for physically active people is 20 to 35% less than inactive people.
Another study that tracked over 10 thousand adults over several decades found certain types and amounts of exercise reduced their risk of prematurely dying by up to 70%!
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association morbidly obese patients had a 60% higher mortality rate than patients of normal weight.
National guidelines and research shows that if you complete 150 minutes of physical activity in a week then you are well on your way to creating a younger you.
What does this look like in real terms? It could be 2.5 hours of exercise a week, or five lots of 30 minutes of exercise. It’s completely up to you how to break it up, the important point is to get moving!
So what type of exercise are we talking about here?
Target aerobic activity that will increase your heart rate:
- a brisk walk
- a run
- a HIIT class.
Exercising does more for your body than just help you lose weight.
It helps increase your muscle mass which increases your metabolism. You are ensuring your body is supported as you get older with healthy muscle that can support your core, legs, and spine to maintain mobility. The more muscle you have increases how fast your body burns calories. Which is why I like to do at least two resistance training sessions a week.
Physical activity also helps to prevent and manage ageing diseases like:
- type 2 diabetes
- metabolic syndrome
- high blood pressure
- most cancers
Why? Well let’s have a look at what physical activity does at the cellular level.
When our muscle health is improved by exercise it also helps to renew our cellular powerhouse the mitochondria.
Mitochondria are compartments in our cells known as organelles that help break down food molecules, proteins, fats and sugars to create the fuel our body needs. They have their own DNA and respond to the body’s energy demands. Mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to the development of secondary diseases like:
- neurodegenerative disorders
- heart disease
Exercise helps to clean up any damaged mitochondria in our muscles, the more you exercise the more the damaged cells are removed, leaving healthy functioning cells critical for longevity.
How cool is that! Our bodies really are the most amazing healing machines given the right conditions.
Can exercise extend our lives?
Ageing is caused by a progressive loss of homeostasis (imbalance) which causes cell and tissue decline. The factors that contribute to ageing include:
- our environment
- social activity
- what we eat
- our genetic and biological risk.
When these factors aren’t humming along optimally it can contribute to developing chronic disease.
Studies have found that doing particular exercises for a certain amount of time reduces your risk of dying prematurely by up to 70%!
Combining regular exercise with other life factors like not smoking, eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting alcohol consumption can extend a 50-year-old woman’s life by 14 years.
It also has anti-ageing effects by decreasing the hallmarks of ageing and inflamaging.
It’s clear that historically exercise has been under-rated as a contributing factor to longevity, largely because the connection between how exercise helps prevent and manage chronic conditions was not known.
Doing regular exercise might seem overwhelming to you at first, especially if you haven’t done any for awhile. You might not like going to the gym or running, but there are many different types of exercise you can try that can help kick start your longevity program. Try:
- team sports
- or even household chores.
Centenarians in the blue zones like Sardinia and Osaka are well known for their longevity due to their active lifestyles which include doing things like gardening, chopping wood, walking to the markets, and walking to visit friends or to tend to their herds.
If you’re lacking motivation to exercise I’d suggest exploring that feeling through meditation to tap into what is causing the resistance. Or your could try journaling. Either way, ask yourself some of these questions:
- How would I feel if I started exercising?
- What’s holding me back from starting?
- What story am I telling myself?
- What would my life be like if I was healthier?
- How would I feel if I was fitter and stronger?
- What are the things that a healthy me could do that I can’t do now?
- What are the things I could look forward to if I knew I could live well longer?
Often the barriers we have to getting healthy are linked to a deeper emotion that we’ve been bottling up.
None of us want to age badly. We need to love ourselves enough, to make health our number one priority.