More than just able to keep your heart healthy, lungs efficient, muscles toned and waistline in check, turns out regular exercise is essential for a radiant and younger look that won’t give away your age easily.
According to a recently published study of a group of folks in their 70s, the men and women subjects who have maintained decades of active lifestyle via exercise possess attributes similar in many ways to healthy 25 year-old counterparts. So, what makes exercise such a powerful anti-aging activity?
Is Age Really Just A Number?
One thing no one, not even Olympic gold medal runners, can run away from is aging. As you age, your muscles deteriorate and gradually lose their strength, joints get worn and creak at the slightest movement, and you also lose bone densities till a wheat cracker can withstand more weight than your hip.
However, the study’s findings, if anything, re-confirms the well-known fact that while you are not immortal, you need not suffer from the many ill effects of aging. Beyond this study, many other researches into the effects of exercise have hinted that it may alter the way your body reacts to the onset of age.
Exercise Promotes Blood Flow
Remember how you thank the heavens when your food delivery service gets to you on time? Now picture how your skin feels when they get their nutrients on time. The increased blood flow from exercise brings the much needed oxygen, protein and other nutrients delivered to your skin in abundance, ensuring skin maintenance and nourishment are not impaired. In addition, good blood flow help remove waste products from cellular activity promptly, including free radicals and toxins.
Muscles Are Like Elastic Bands, Only That They Repair
Muscles are living tissues that repair when damaged and reproduce as cells are up for renewal. However, as you age, this ability can wane away if you do not upkeep and train them — cells reproduce slower and damaged tissues get replaced slower. An active lifestyle through exercise keeps our bodies in constant need and drive to repair the damage to muscles and reproduce new cells to keep up with the activity level. The healthy ‘supply chain’ of oxygen, nutrients and cellular waste removal achieved via healthy blood flow results in optimal environments for your cells. These, in turn, result in tissues that stay brand new all the way through life.
Vampires Hate The Sun, But Skeletons Love Them
Exercises done outdoors can help you get the needed exposure to the sun for the much-needed vitamin D. We want to debunk the myth that the Sun ‘gives’ you vitamin D, but UV from sunlight is essential in its production. UVB rays from sunshine penetrates our skin to react with compounds under the skin and synthesise vitamin D (which is actually a hormone and not a vitamin). It performs an extremely important role in maintaining calcium levels in your bones by promoting the absorption of calcium, initiating bone repair, renewal and formation. However, you should take care to not stay in the sun for longer than you need as UV rays damage the skin and prolonged exposure can cause early onset of skin aging, although there are treatments available for that.
School of Hard Knocks
As a result of a combination of age factors, such as reduced appetite (and thus reduced calcium intake), activity levels, body’s repair abilities, your bones can become weaker. Healthy and manageable impacts and stresses to your skeletal structure from exercise help to build stronger bones and reduce bone loss. Frequent exercise, coupled with adequate intake of calcium, spurs your body to prioritise increasing of bone density and over-repair micro-damages in bones and keep your skeletal integrity sound. Over time, your bones become stronger and less susceptible to age-related bone issues.
Fight Stress With Stress
Cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’, is commonly but mistakenly regarded as the greatest villain our anti-aging crusade seeks to battle. Perhaps one of the most misunderstood hormone, right levels of it at the right times can actually save our lives (and jobs). Cortisol is instrumental in our fight-or-flight reflex, redirecting resources from less-critical functions like reproduction and immunity to areas like the brain and muscles to better respond to immediate threats like a prowling lion or a sudden 10am work submission. In periods of calm and peace, cortisol levels decline so other functions kick in to help you enjoy a good meal, relax over some jazz and fall asleep.
While exercising is a stress activity and thus induces cortisol production, frequent workouts actually train our bodies to better deal with stressful situations that, over time, help us release less cortisol for similar episodes of pressure or react more moderately to its effects. Also, we release endorphins and dopamine after exercise that elevates our mood and helps us destress.