It’s no secret that health starts to decline as we age, but you can slow the process with exercise
All too often, we focus on the appearance-based aspects of physical fitness – things like weight management, toned muscles, and the ever-elusive six-pack abs. While these things can all be a part of the pursuit of physical fitness, you should also give attention to your overall quality of life.
Fitness can give you so much more than an attractive physique. Staying in shape can improve your mood, boost your confidence, and help you stay active and healthy as you age.
Unfortunately, we can’t offer you the fountain of youth. But, if you’re looking for an easy way to preserve your good health long into life, exercise is a great place to start.
1. Human growth hormone
Human growth hormone (GH), is a hormone regulated by the amygdala in the brain. This amazing little protein chain flows throughout the body and stimulates bone and tissue growth promotes fat absorption and helps regulate metabolism.
It’s a powerful hormone, and its role in the body is to grow you from a tiny baby to a full-blown adult. As we age, GH naturally dwindles as its role in developing growth slows once we reach adulthood. As we age, its presence in the body becomes less and less.
Fortunately, high-intensity exercise is the secret to unlocking the benefits of this hormone as an adult. In particular, high-intensity exercise stimulates the production and release of human growth hormone so you can help your body produce GH at any age.
This is as close as we can get to the mythic “fountain of youth,” long looked for by early humans. And the best part? It’s free, it’s completely natural, and all you have to do is get in a good workout.
So, what workouts should you incorporate into your routine to stimulate GH production? Both cardiovascular workouts and resistance training can result in a GH boost – provided the workouts are performed at a high intensity.
Just remember, intense workouts can make it easy to slip up on the form or develop an overuse injury, so don’t try to make every workout a blasting GH routine. Incorporate this type of training into your overall fitness plan, gradually.
2. Bone strength
Another age-defying benefit of exercise is bone density and strength. Bone health is an important consideration for the aging, and the International Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that “osteoporosis and low bone mass … threaten almost 44 million U.S. women and men aged 50 and older.”
Believe it or not, bone is a living tissue that ages and changes with us, just like muscles and tendons. By the time we reach middle to old age, our bones can become weak and brittle. This leads to an increased chance of falling, joint problems, and breaks.
You can combat the weakening of your bone structure by practicing weight-bearing exercise. And, it doesn’t have to be pumping iron in the gym – although you can certainly do that if you want to!
In fact, weight-bearing exercise can take many forms, such as running, hiking, strength training, or even walking. So, whatever your fitness level, there is a bone-supporting exercise for you.
3. Cardiovascular health
The final component of the age-defying power of exercise is cardio. Yes, we know – everyone’s favorite … or not. Whether you’re a cardio junkie or you’d much rather be doing a low heart-rate resistance session, you need to make time in your training plan for building up your cardiovascular system.
As we age, it’s not unusual for the heart and veins to stiffen and enlarge. Arteries can’t move blood as efficiently as they did when we were young, and if you have a plaque on your artery walls, your risk of heart disease is even higher.
You can combat this decline in heart health by exercising. You can improve heart function and prevent or slow the decline in heart health with cardiovascular-focused exercise.
So, get that heart rate up! Run, jump rope, dance in your bathroom – whatever you need to do to get your cardiovascular system built up and strong. This will help keep your heart in the best shape possible as you face the aging process.
Healthy aging requires a total-body approach
If you’re ready to get serious about treating your body well and healing the symptoms of age, consider lifestyle choices in addition to exercise. To get the most out of your exercise regimen, you also need to make sure you’re supporting your body with proper nutrition.
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