Ageing sucks. We grow up, reach our peak and then endure a gradual decline as our looks and powers slowly diminish. And the worst part? We’re powerless to stop it.
Actually, that’s not quite true. Numerically, we’re all ageing at the same rate, yet some people appear to defy the eight digits on their birth certificate. Why do some 40-year-olds look like 25-year-olds? It’s not down to surgery. Nor is it due to expensive creams, exotic juicing diets or faddy “superfoods”. Research is increasingly pointing towards one lifestyle factor which can play a pivotal role in dictating the rate we age at – exercise.
It’s no secret that regular exercise delivers a raft of benefits, from increasing strength to warding off disease and illness. But it also yields another major benefit that’s often overlooked: a regular fitness regime can shave years off your age. Here are five ways in which exercise has been proven to make you look and feel younger:
Exercise improves your skin
That glow you get after completing a workout? Turns out it has lasting benefits. Research has found that regular exercisers over the age of 40 are more likely to have supple skin of people ten or even 20 years younger.
Exercise makes your cells age slower
Scientists have long known that telomeres affect the ageing process. These caps, found at the end of chromosomes, get shorter as we get older. New research has indicated that regular exercise can help to lengthen our telomeres, effectively slowing the ageing process.
Exercise wards off bad habits that accelerate the ageing process
Cigarettes? Excess junk food and alcohol? All three are slow killers that wreak havoc on the body. If you’re following a regular exercise regime, you’ll be far less inclined to overindulge in the sort of vices that can ruin your gains and exacerbate the ageing process. Think of exercise as a deterrent against bad behaviour.
Exercise improves your memory
It’s long been known that people who remain mentally alert are less susceptible to the effects of ageing. Well, it turns out that the key to keeping a healthy mind is keeping a healthy body. Regular aerobic exercise has been shown to increase the size of the hippocampus, boosting memory and sharpening your cognitive skills.
Exercise boosts your metabolism
The male metabolism slows around the age of 35, making it easier for weight to accumulate. Women aren’t exempt either from the inexorable slow down. Try the Adrian James High Intensity Interval Training app three times a week to fight the flab and boost your metabolism.
We can’t choose our chronological age but we can do something about our biological age. Improved mental and physical health; enhanced wellbeing and happiness; better posture and memory: the benefits of exercise are too great to ignore. Make fitness your focus now and you’ll reap dividends every single day of your life.