Exercise and Aging
expression "Use it or lose it" succinctly sums up the message
that we would like to convey regarding the relationship between
exercise and aging. Virtually every scientific study shows that
functional capacity is maintained at a higher level in every realm
of human physiology from aerobic capacity to memory to flexibility
to strength to verbal capacity and mental calculation when that
function is performed on a regular basis. If aging is in part
measured by one's ability to perform tasks at youthful levels,
then continuing to exercise one's capabilities keeps one young.
with our modern lifestyles, we are much less active in our daily
lives than we were even a few decades ago. Yes, it is true that
more people are exercising on a daily basis now, but when they
are not specifically exercising, they are less active than non-exercisers
of the past. When one considers that activity levels of humans
as they were evolving through the Paleolithic era (1.6 million
years ago to 10,000 years ago) were 100 to 150% higher, one starts
to see that we were not meant to be as inactive as we are now.
Hence, many of the diseases we are facing now (diabetes, heart
disease, cancer, obesity) are diseases of civilization.
the next few months, we will evaluate the evidence for the assertions
made above. For now, here are a few tips that can decrease your
rate of aging, maintain your abilities in many areas of life,
keep your weight down, and decrease your risk of getting a disease
Take a walk after each meal, especially dinner. This
helps to decrease the likelihood that you will continue to nibble
and snack after your meal. It also helps digestion and burns
Take the stairs whenever possible. This will raise your
heart rate transiently which will improve your cardiovascular
fitness and give you a spurt of growth hormone to boot. You
will also avoid being exposed to cold viruses in a closed space.
Get off the bus, taxi, or subway one or two stops before
your destination. You will give yourself a little sunshine
and stress reduction by getting your blood running and also
add to your daily calorie expenditure.
Whenever possible, try to do simple arithmetic calculations
in your head, or try to remember the telephone number without
writing it down. Using your short term memory and calculating
ability will help keep both sharp.
that no anti-aging program is complete without an aerobic, strength,
and flexibility enhancing component, but incorporating these tips
into your daily life takes no extra time and will pay large health
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