Can Exercise Slow The Aging Process?

The natural aging process can't be stopped, but it can be slowed.

If you want to defy aging--exercise is one of the best ways. The natural aging process, which begins as early as age 30 can be slowed, and slowed significantly, with regular exercise.

Age related muscle loss, known as Sarcopenia is one of the main contributors to musculoskeletal impairments as we age. 

We lose approximately 5% of muscle mass each decade after age 30. The good news is, it's never too late to begin training your muscles and improving muscle strength and mass..never.

Exercise Physiologist, Sean Gill writes:

"The ability to get on and off the ground, in my opinion, should be viewed as a skill. A skill we can take for granted and one we should never want to lose. By exercising, specifically those exercises requiring spending time on the ground, we can regularly train this skill. Whether you're kneeling to maintain the garden, or lunging to reach an awkward power socket. Regular exercise can help to restore and maintain these movements."

You know you're getting old when

6 months ago, I was on the floor holding my then 25 lb. granddaughter. As I tried to stand up, I realized getting both of us off the ground to a standing position with no support (only leg muscles) was no easy task at 64. It was an eye opener as to the importance of muscular strength. 

Regular resistance training type exercise has the ability to significantly reverse reductions in muscle mass as we age. Any age is a good age to begin.

What is Resistance Training?

Resistance training is a form of physical activity that is designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a muscle or a muscle group against external resistance. 

Different types of resistance training include:

  • Free weights – classic strength training tools such as dumbbells or barbells
  • Weight machines – devices that have adjustable seats with handles attached either to weights or hydraulics
  • Medicine balls – weighted balls
  • Resistance bands – like giant rubber bands – these provide resistance when stretched. They are portable and can be adapted to most workouts. The bands provide continuous resistance throughout a movement
  • Your own body weight – can be used for squats, push-ups and chin-ups. Using your own body weight is convenient, especially when traveling or at work.

More Tips To Slow Aging 

  1. Train all major muscle groups at least twice a week with resistance training.
  2. Perform vigorous cardiovascular exercise that gets you to 85% (unless advised not to by your doctor) of your maximum heart rate at least once a week.
  3. Perform core-specific exercises at least three times per week.
  4. Move every day even if it is just walking to encourage your blood vessels to dilate, reducing your blood pressure.
  5. Stand more often; always be looking for ways to reduce the time you spend sitting.

I purchased a standing desk and love it. It's made a big difference in how much time I spend sitting. Here's the one I have.

Varidesk, standing desk, healthy living after 50,  

Don't Forget the Mental Benefits of Exercise

Exercising for the mental benefits is just as important as the physical. The mental benefits of exercise have been long-studied. We know it can help with the symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression. Exercise can and does benefit all of these conditions, both in the short and long term. 

The Cognitive Component of Exercising

We’re told to do crosswords and puzzles to help stave off age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's. Exercise offers a cognitive challenge in the form of remembering what an exercise is and how exactly to perform it. 

In much the same way as remembering a dance move/pattern such as Salsa (another great way to defy aging), remembering exercise patterns challenges our brain.

What's your favorite type of exercise? Mine is dance. I also enjoy watching exercise videos on YouTube. I've been watching and exercising along with Tonya of Senior Fitness by Tonja Barnes. and the team at TheBodyProject.comI highly recommend these videos for those of us over 50 who want to slow the aging process and are looking for low impact routines.

Do you exercise regularly? What is your favorite form of exercise?