If you’re looking for the fountain of youth, the answer may lie in the great outdoors. By putting on a pair of running shoes and heading out for a walk or jog, you can improve your health to fight the visible effects of age.
You may be shocked to find that only 40% of the adult population in the US exercises regularly. And only 25% of Americans have exercised regularly for five or more years.
While a large percentage of young adults engage in physical activity, numbers begin to drop considerably with age. Unfortunately, this sedentary practice is counter intuitive at best. Aging adults who want to remain youthful need exercise most of all to keep that pep in their step and reduce the risk of disease!
Exercise Provides Anti-Aging Benefits
If you need a good reason to get active, think about your health and quality of life. Exercise can provide anti-aging benefits to keep your body in optimal condition so that you look as young as you feel:
1. Improve bone health. Roughly 25 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis, a disease that results in severe bone loss. Regular physical activity with age can strengthen bone density to reduce the risk of fractures and breaks caused by day-to-day movement. Even if you have already lost bone density due to osteoporosis, you can build some of it back through strength training and high-intensity aerobic exercises like walking and jogging.
2. Strengthen cardiovascular health. The leading health-related cause of mortality for both men and women in the US is heart disease. Supporting cardiovascular health can be achieved with regular exercise, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 50% in men. When exercise is used in combination with a heart-healthy diet, a low-stress lifestyle, and not smoking, it can significantly increase longevity.
3. Boost memory. To fight the effects of dementia associated with age, exercise can help to trigger new brain cell formation. As areas of the brain are stimulated through regular exercise, it can help to support both memory and learning. Older adults who exercise regularly have performed better in tests related to problem solving, memory, and decision-making.
4. Fight depression. Regular exercise can help to improve mental health and will reduce symptoms of depression. In fact, the antidepressant effects of consistent physical activity can be compared to prescription antidepressants like Zoloft. For the best results, exercise for a half hour 3 to 5 days per week to improve mental health and ease depression.
5. Sleep better at night. With age, many people struggle with restless nights of sleep. Fortunately, staying active each day can make a world of difference. After exercising, body temperatures will naturally dip 5 to 6 hours later, which can help to aid in a sound night of rest.
When you make exercise a priority, you can stay youthful, regardless of your age. Adults who are looking for a new, interesting way to get fit can join a local soccer team to burn calories, build muscle, improve flexibility, and boost cardiovascular health.