Doctors tell us to slow down as we age, but they don’t want their patients to stop moving altogether. They still promote the many benefits of exercise to their aging populations. There are numerous ways in which fitness directly affects how gracefully or gracelessly we get older. Stay fit for all the reasons below but exercise caution: your body is legitimately more fragile after the age of 40.
Benefits to Heart Health
Heart disease is among the leading causes of death in North America and your risks rise significantly by middle age. At this time, your metabolism has slowed down, so you don’t burn fat as efficiently as before. That means more fat is gathering around your body and putting your heart under pressure unless you are eating less or better food or participating in extra exercise classes.
Walking, running, swimming, and squash are just some of the activities that will keep your blood circulating effectively. Your heart will like that. Like any muscle, it needs the oxygen in red blood cells and their healing properties to rejuvenate and repair cells.
Benefits to Mood
A sedentary person frequently looks old because he is not releasing positive hormones into his body: he isn’t smiling. Exercise releases these hormones, especially serotonin, into the bloodstream. That buzz you feel when you have finished a workout video is caused by naturally-occurring substances. When you play tennis with friends, this not only leads to the release of “happy” chemicals but also involves socialization. Being with people is good for your attitude and how you feel is more important than a number on your birth certificate. A youthful, positive outlook shows on the outside too. Certain exercises (yoga, for instance) create a peaceful feeling that helps you sleep at night. Sleeplessness makes for rapid aging, but getting a good night sleep fights the telltale signs of passing time.
Benefits to Bones
Light to moderate impact is considered good for your bones because it fosters the breakdown/restoration cycle of bone health. You don’t want to train for your first marathon at the age of 60, but you can still run safely or take up a less strenuous sport. Even if you reduce impact, weight-bearing moves promote strong bones too. As a result of strong bones you are less likely to suffer fractures, your balance is good, and you might demonstrate better recall than your lazy friends.
Benefits to the Brain
Good circulation and learning a new type of exercise are just two elements of exercise which help you maintain mental agility and prevent Dementia past the age of 40. Doctors recommend that everyone try to pick up a new skill as they get older. Why not combine mental and physical fitness for an efficient workout every day? Choose a dance-style of exercise (belly-dancing, ballroom, or Zumba) which is fun and challenges you to remember choreography.
Benefits to Flexibility
Incorporate stretching into your daily routine, no matter what sort of workout you perform. Continue with yoga or other stretches so you never lose range of motion and won’t pull a muscle filling the kettle.