While anti-aging creams and cosmetic procedures are common these days, nature’s best defense against aging doesn’t come in a bottle or a syringe. Your best bet for staying young may be to sweat it out. Not only will you feel more energetic, but researches have found that regular exercise can have an anti-aging effect on your cells, too.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that less than one-third of American adults get regular physical activity. This sedentary lifestyle takes a toll. It’s a major risk factor for developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity. The good news? Exercise has been shown to reduce your risk for all of thse conditions and even some cancers. By staying active, you will improve your physical health and reduce some effects of aging, too. Here’s what you gain:
A HEALTHY WEIGHT
Obesity has a negative effect on both health and longevity. In my article “Unhealthy America Part III: Obesity and Type II Diabetes” I discussed problems linked with obesity such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis, and certain forms of cancer. A regular exercise program is an important component of any plan to shed pounds or maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise is important for building strong bones and treating and preventing osteoporosis–a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. Weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, tennis, and weight lifting are great for preventing bone loss.
Exercise increases and maintains muscle strength, coordination, and balance. This is important in preventing falls and related fractures. Exercise also keeps joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible, which makes it easier to get around and remain active.
A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
Sleep is critical for daily function. Lack of sleep can lead to a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Exercise helps promote sleep as long as you don’t work out too close to bedtime.
MOOD AND MENTAL HEALTH
An active lifestyle can reduce depression symptoms in adults with depressive disorders. It has also been linked to keeping the mind sharp, promoting a positive attitude, relieving stress and anxiety, and increasing energy levels and endurance.
READY, SET, GET MOVING!
Everyone can benefit from increased physical activity. Most people can begin gradual, moderate-intensity exercise on their own. If you are worried about exercising safely, talk with your doctor before you start, especially if you have heart problems, high blood pressure, or arthritis.