As Americans, we live in a vain society. People care about how they look and are more than willing to pay for expensive promises of beauty and youth. Because of such narcissism, the health and beauty industry is slated to be the next trillion dollar industry.
Beauty experts tell us to start using anti-aging creams as young as 25-years-old now. Is this merely another tactic of the beauty industry to sell more products? Maybe so! In addition to using these creams, what else can we do? Exercise! Recent studies have shown that exercise has a direct link to anti-aging benefits.
Reduces Inflammation In the Body
Suzi Hong, Ph.D., led researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, (Department of Psychiatry and Family Medicine Public Health) in a study that found that 20 minutes of moderate physical activity a per day can reduce the inflammation that comes with aging. Reducing inflammation in the body could also help decrease the risk of developing related diseases and conditions such as heart disease, depression, decreased mental function, and loss of muscle mass.
In order to study long-term effects of exercise on inflammation, researchers studied people for 10 years. They found that, in general, people who were more active at the start of the study, or exercised more by the end, had lower levels of inflammation, which is one way to help your body stay young. Lower inflammation decreases arthritis and allows the body to feel better. By being healthier on the “inside”, you can continue to be active and lead a healthier lifestyle on the “outside”.
Dr. Suzi Hong explained, “Our study shows a workout session does not actually have to be intense to have anti-inflammatory effects. Twenty minutes to half an hour of moderate exercise, including fast walking, appears to be sufficient. Feeling like a workout needs to be at a peak exertion level for a long duration can intimidate those who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases and could greatly benefit from physical activity.”
Builds Muscle Mass
The fact that exercise can build muscle mass is no surprise. However, some of the benefits may surprise you.
Aging is directly associated with muscular strength deficiency. Muscle mass can be built or obtained through strength training exercises. Strength training can slow muscle loss that comes with age, build strength, increase bone density, decrease risk of injury, ease arthritis pain, and prevent diseases such as Osteoporosis.
Building your muscle mass benefits anti-aging, by making you strong enough to avoid injuries and lead an active lifestyle, along with making you look and feel younger.
Tightens Loose Skin
As we become older, our muscles and skin will lose elasticity if we’re not active. This will cause loose and flabby skin in problem areas such as arms, thighs and stomach. Such flabbiness is due to the presence of fat. Strength training exercises will help build muscles, as we discussed above, thereby causing muscle to replace fat. As muscle replaces fat this will cause the skin to tighten.
Are you worried about fine lines or wrinkles? There are facial exercises you can do to target and tighten facial muscles and skin! While these facial exercises look more like silly faces than actual physical exercise, they can still help reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing elasticity.
Builds Bone Mass
Sabrina Strickland, MD, an Orthopedic Surgeon says, “Before your bones get weaker, they get stronger”: Up to 90 percent of peak bone mass is acquired by age 18 in females and age 20 in males. Bone mass keeps growing until around age 30. Women commonly start to lose bone mass once they hit menopause. If you begin to build your bones during peak growing season (i.e. your 20s) this fortifies them against fractures, breaks and a stooped posture. Even if you’re over 30, you can still protect your already fully-grown bones against thinning.
16% of women over 50 are diagnosed with Osteoporosis. However, 1 in 2 women will break a bone due to a weak bone mass. While 20 minutes of moderate exercise can decrease inflammation, if you’re looking to increase bone mass then you should try high intensity workouts such as HIIT, hiking or kickboxing.
Vanity or not, while we cannot completely halt the aging process, we can at least slow it down with regular exercise. By partaking in three workouts a week you will look and feel much younger. Reducing inflammation, building muscle/bone mass and tightening loose skin will allow the results to speak for themselves.