Botox. Creams. Anti-aging serums. Plastic surgery. Lotions and creams that promise to restore youth or keep you young looking are all over the market and you don’t have to look further than magazines or the tv to find numerous products being offered to help you look younger.
The question that begs to be asked is this…. “is there such a thing as the fountain of youth?”
Is there some secret, magical potion that will keep us looking young and vibrant ? Is it to be found in bottles or jars? Is that secret lurking in our medicine cabinet for us to discover?
The skin care industry is a booming business and lots of it comes from products promising a youthful appearance.
But… what if it isn’t found in a jar? What if it’s something that’s free and you always have it available to you? Would you want to use it?
My childhood friend accuses me of voodoo or some kind of witchcraft telling me I’m not aging and in fact appear to have gotten younger. She proclaims to not love me for that but I think she’s lying 😉
Where that is a flattering compliment, the reality is, of course I’m aging like anyone else. However, it’s what I do and how I live that might be actually slowing that progression down.
So what is this secret formula? How do you get your hands on it ?
It’s already in you waiting to be used, every single day, and it’s exercise.
Now wait! Don’t check out on me here. Not yet since I’m fixing to share some scientific(y) stuff with you about exercise, our bodies, and the whole aging process. I’ll try to keep it basic and to the point but of course I’d encourage you to do your own research if you want to learn more.
Exercise cannot change our chronological age as that is set in stone. We were born on a certain day and year, our “age” hinges on that. It’s immovable.
Our biological age boys and girls, is a whole new game, and exercise fights against aging by protecting cells from the ticking clock.
Our biological age, can be changed.
Say what ?
Exercise can fight against a cellular level and staying healthy means you can keep your cells young.
Keeping cells young allows tissues to function properly.
Exercise boosts muscle levels of a compound called NRF1 which impacts telomeres at the ends of each of our chromosomes.
Yikes! What is NRF1 and how does that work for me?
As simple as possible, it stimulates the production of proteins that are needed for cellular energy production and proteins involved in the making of new healthy mitochondria. If you don’t remember from biology class ( cause I didn’t ) mitochondria are the powerhouse of our cells and are responsible for creating more that 90% of energy needed by the body to sustain life and support organ function. Their function typically declines with age but with vigorous exercise mitochondria function improves ( and you can grow a lot more)
Exercise boosts muscle levels of the compound called NRF1 which impacts our telomeres at the ends of each of our chromosomes.
Hang on with me here ok?
Maybe you forgot what telomeres are. They are basically like little biological clocks on the ends of our DNA. When in good shape, our DNA (cells) stay young. When they get damaged the cells get old. Telomeres are protective caps at the end of our chromosomes that keep them stable- think like plastic at the end of shoe laces. Every time a cell divides telomeres get shorter. Eventually they become to small to protect chromosomes and cells get old and die resulting in aging .
Unfortunately, telomeres get eroded with time.
Pay attention now boys and girls…….
the speed of erosion is not fully fixed which explains why you can impact biological age! This is where producing NRF1 is helpful. when activated by exercise it can produce protective molecules for telomeres, like varnish on nails. This all works on an anti-aging level, biologically.
Not all exercise is created equal for these benefits…
where as all types of exercise is good for our bodies, relieves stress, keeps our health balanced and leads to overall fitness, the type of exercise to reap the biggest anti-aging results is HIIT or cardio exercises done for at least 30 minutes or more 5 times a week.
Strength training is good for building muscle and overall body strength but it won’t have the same benefits for cell renewal as cardio or high intensity exercises.
In a study done by Newsweek in May 2017, it found of 5,000 adults in a research study that those who exercise regularly are younger on a cellular level than their sedentary or moderately active counterparts. The study also compared telomere length with levels of physical activity. The study showed significant differences between those who did vigorous exercise and those who did not. The adults who did strong, vigorous exercise were biologically 9-10 years younger. ( for the study a high physical level was considered to be 30-40 minutes of running at least 5 days a week)
Why exercise appears to preserve telomere length is not known but it could be linked with inflammation and oxidative stress over time.
To see a real difference in slowing your biological age it appears a little exercise won’t do the trick, you have to work out regularly and at high levels.
Of course other benefits that come with strong level of exercise is reduced inflammation in the body that comes with aging, which can also help decrease your risk of developing related diseases and conditions like heart disease, depression, muscle loss and decreased memory.
Why do some of the fittest 60-plus women look younger than their age? The answer lies in the question. A recent study from McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, found that women over 65 who worked out for a minimum of two hours a week for three months had the skin composition of women 20 to 30 years younger. It seems that sweating it out at the gym leads to pumping myokines, a group of proteins secreted by muscle cells and diffused throughout the body. (Best Health Magazine)
and it’s true…some of the fitness women I know don’t look their age. ( I’m not leaving the guys out… vigorous exercise can yield similar health benefits).
The Game Plan….
Don’t worry about fancy creams, instead, get on a consistent, regimented exercise plan and stick to it.
Don’t look for instant results but keep in mind all of the great health benefits your body will reap by being active and sweating a lot.
Don’t forget other factors that can help keep your age a secret too. Make sure you’re nutrition is focused on whole, healthy foods, skip the smoking and drinking, watch your sugar/processed food intake, hydrate well with plenty of water, get adequate rest, protect your skin, laugh a lot and get your exercise in at least 5-6 days a week.
And then… hey…go ahead and share your age… no one will believe you 😉
Has exercise helped you maintain more than just being fit? Have you noticed results in your health and appearance from consistent exercise?