Exercise: A Good Long Drink of Vitality


Older Man Walking

According to an article by the Harvard Medical School, "Exercise is not the fountain of youth, but it is a good long drink of vitality, especially as part of a comprehensive program." Fact is, you can't stop Father Time. However, there is a substantial difference in healthy aging and letting yourself go. Most American men began to gain weight more easily in their 40s. Unfortunately, that is about the same time that their muscle mass starts to decline. That means the added weight is fat which has a negative impact on good cholesterol as well as a rise in LDL (bad) cholesterol.

It is easy to feel the onset of aging in the musculature as muscles loose strength and ligaments begin to harden, however without exercise, a sedentary lifestyle takes a similar toll on the heart. Blood vessels start to stiffen and blood itself becomes thicker, which can lead to an increase in blood pressure. That can make it much more difficult for the heart to pump oxygen-rich red blood cells throughout the body's 60,000 miles of arteries, veins and capillaries. For example, a healthy 25-year old heart can supply about 2.5 times that of an 80-year old, even if the older person's heart is disease free.

The only way to effectively slow this aging process is to use your body as it was intended. Regular exercise can help protect the body's metabolism and reduce body fat. It sensitizes the body's tissues to insulin to lowers blood sugar levels as well as reverses the issues of HDL and LDL cholesterol. The impact of endurance training can boost mood, improve sleep, counter anxiety and help to stave off memory problems. However, if you're not in shape, it is best to consult with a specialist as you will need a program that allows you to gradually build up to where you need to be. A good lifestyle change for anyone who is already affected by aging would be a 30-minute walk each day.

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