How to Stop the Clock? Exercise and Aging
You will notice the changes by the time you’re 30 – what happened to the body you had in college? Diminished aerobic capacity and loss of muscle can leave you feeling breathless and exhausted with normal daily activities. Most Americans also put on 3-4 pounds a year! Add to that slower reflexes, memory lapses and a decrease in coordination – that’s right, aging is not for the timid.
No one can stop the clock but you can definitely slow it down! The key is regular activity. You don’t need to be an athlete, just enjoy a variety of things that keep your blood pumping. Dr. Clark tweeted just last week that a recent study showed the more time you spend sitting, the higher your biochemical markers for developing diabetes & metabolic dysfunction. There are so many reasons to get moving but how do you start?
Start slowly – something as simple as walking 30 minutes a day will provide benefits. A balance of different exercises will help you optimize your strengths.
Cardio exercise keeps the heart muscle strong and the arteries flexible and generally results in lower blood pressure. Cardio or endurance exercise does many things for you. It reduces body fat, increases sensitivity to insulin, and lowers blood sugar levels. Exercise can improve sleep and lift your spirits, off-setting anxiety and depression. It can also help improve your reflexes and decrease age-related memory loss so let’s get moving!
Resistance exercise using light weights or machines will increase lean body mass and improve your bone density allowing you to remain stronger and more independent as you celebrate those birthdays.
Flexibility training will keep you limber and allow for greater range of movement making daily activities easier and more fun. Stretching can be done anytime but is ideal as a warm-up or cool-down when paired with a cardio exercise.
Balance exercises will help you avoid injuries and move more gracefully – this does not happen on its own, you must work at it.