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March 17, 2015, last updated May 15, 2016
By Nicholas Alan Taylor, Contributing Columnist
Whether we like it or not, aging is a part of life that we will all have to
learn manage. No one is spared --no the athletically gifted or we mere
mortals. Throughout human history people have been engaged in a
relentless pursuit to attempt to offset the inevitable process of aging
with a myriad of techniques ranging from ancient forms of magic and
remedies, to laser surgery and large scale manufactured medicines
which all promise to defy the laws of nature and provide us with
However with the great emphasis for so long that has focused on
material products as a means of staving off the effects of aging,
perhaps we have accidentally ran past the benefits that basic physical
and mental exercise can provide for the elderly.
More recently there have indeed been an increasing number of health
and well-being specialists that have been advocating for the use of
more traditional exercise methods to combat the symptoms and
diseases related with the aging process of the elderly. The symptoms of
aging are varied and tend to be attributed to a wide range of factors
that occur towards the later years of our lives. But the main point to
stress is the actual lifestyle changes that we either voluntarily or
involuntary adopt throughout the aging process.
As we move towards retirement, we all tend to become less active than
we were. In fact, some studies have reported that as few as 20% of
people over the age of sixty-five are involved in a sufficient level of
Furthermore, as we become less active our metabolism slows down as
well, decreasing our appetite and preventing the adequate dietary and
metabolic patterns recommended for people of that age. The
combination of less and less physical activity and poor metabolism can
accelerate weight gain, cause depression and, decrease your sexual
appetite -- all of which leads to a poorer quality of life.
Before you get started, it is important to identify and select the correct
balance of exercises for your current health. Many people may wrongly
place a large emphasis on strength training and neglect other forms
such as aerobics and flexibility and, by doing so, they increase their
chances of injury.
We also need to be smart and selective in the types of exercises we
engage in. For example, if you have joint problems, choose swimming
instead of jogging for increased back strength and less stress on your
knees and ankles.
Top 7 Ways Exercise Reverses Aging
1. Exercise Keeps You Sexually Actively
A good sex life is one of the best ways to keep you young and healthy
mentally and physically as the act itself also provides further
opportunities for exercise in our senior years. Exercise will not only
make you feel younger, confident and sexy but will as well significantly
increase your level of sexual performance such as increased endurance
and endorphin release and reduced incidence of erectile dysfunction.
A study in 2014 revealed that sixty year olds who engaged in frequent
exercise had the same amount of sex and sexual satisfaction as
someone nearly twenty years younger than them.
2. Exercise Reverses Aging Skin
Forget the creams and lotions, new research that from McMaster
University in Canada in has discovered that people who exercise or
began exercising in their elder years are capable of having the skin of
someone twenty to thirty years younger than them.
The study, conducted in 2011, took a sample of people between the
ages of twenty and eight four years old, around half of which were
engaged in three hours of exercise per week. The sample also included
a number of sixty-five plus year olds who were not active previously
but began exercising at the beginning of the test and a group who
barely did thirty minutes over the same period.
A biopsy was conducted on each of the participants and the results
proved that those who exercised had a much higher quality of skin
including, interestingly, the group of previously inactive older
3. Exercise Encourages Muscle Growth
As we grow more and more inactive in our later years, our metabolism
slows down as well. When the metabolism slows, it decreases our
appetite, making it more difficult to get adequate nutrition. AS a result,
our muscles start to atrophy, a condition known as "sarcopenia".
The combined effects of physical inactivity and poor metabolism can be
devastating. Dr. William J. Evans from the American College of
Nutrition in December 2004 released a report that examined how
exercise fights sarcopenia.
Evans explains that exercise is vital for the break-down of body fats
and the stimulation of appetite in order that the elderly can meet their
recommended levels of protein nutrition.
Strength and endurance training for muscle growth in the elderly also
helps to prevent falls and broken bones and provides a greater degree
of independence and mobility.
4. Exercise Fights Arthritis
Arthritis affects an enormous number of people. The Centers for
Disease Control estimates that in 2013 as many as one in five people
living in the United States had some form of doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
That would mean that over 60 million people suffer from this
Light endurance exercises such as swimming and walking aids joint
movement and helps give the muscles around the joints strong support.
Other exercises that encourage a wide range movement such as Tai Chi
can prevent stiffness and aching.
Mindfulness can also help a great deal. Studies that were led by Dr.
Heidi A. Zangi at the Diakonhjemmet Hospital in Norway in December
2011 revealed the importance of ‘mindfulness exercises’ in combating
the stresses related from arthritic pain.
The Swedish study highlighted the benefits in which positive thinking
and relaxation couples with creative tasks helped reduce the level of
stress suffered by arthritis patients.
5. Exercises Slows Down Dementia
In 2012 the World Health Organization estimated that nearly 36 million
people worldwide were living with dementia.
Those figures are projected to double by 2030 and triple by 2050,
making dementia one of the most pressing health issues in modern
Not only is exercise essential for adequate blood flow to the brain
which provides the stimulation needed for new brain cell growth, it also
helps reduce the levels of stress, anxiety and depression all of which
are common amongst dementia sufferers.
Studies conducted by Cambridge University in 2011 found that people
who engaged in just one hour of exercise per day were able to reduce
the risk of Alzheimer’s by nearly 50%.
These studies also noted that having midlife obesity is one of the
greatest factors contributing towards Alzheimer’s and other dementia-
Men are at a higher risk for developing a form of mild cognitive
impairment sometimes called "pre-Alzheimer's", studies have found. For
this reason, you should make sure that you start a regular program of
exercise and keep it up for each decade of your life.
6. Exercise Helps Prevent Chronic Disease
One of the most important ways to reverse aging is to reduce your
chances of an early death from chronic disease.
A report released by Booth et al in 2012 showed that people severely
increase their rate of chronic diseases such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes,
heart attack and stroke by remaining inactive and living long term
Exercise has proven to be vital for the proper functioning of the body
such as maintaining good heart health and blood flow to the body, both
of which are necessary for an optimal quality and length of life.
7. Exercise Fights Osteoporosis
The bone-thinning disease of osteoporosis is not just a woman's
problem. Men, too, suffer from osteoporosis. Weight-beariung
exercises such as strength training helps to increase bone density and
decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
(Read more about how eating yogurt increases testicular health and
skin tone in older men.)
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