Elusive Fountain of Youth Found!
Young is the new black.
With technology and implants and Botox and more, who needs to grow old? We’ve got a multi-billion dollar anti-aging industry that is trying to convince us “aging with grace” is a thing of the past. And they’re doing a pretty great job of it.
But what if I were to tell you that you could stop time and rejuvenate your muscles and immune system by consistently doing one simple thing? Sounds pretty snake-oil salesman, doesn’t it?
The New York Times just published an article How Exercise Can Keep Aging Muscles and Immune Systems Young.
I’ve discussed, at length, the four pillars of a healthy senior exercise program, the result of which can keep you stronger, healthier, and independent. But new studies about exercise and its fountain-of-youth-like effects on muscles and the immune system are exciting!
With time, people tend to slow down, in particular middle-aged and older adults in the Western world. Because of this, all of the “aging” studies, and the body of evidence we’ve been working with, has come from sedentary people.
We were doomed!
A group of British scientists, and recreational cyclists, decided to study male and female cyclists from 55 – 79 years old, who had been cycling for the majority of their lives and continued cycling approximately 400 miles each month. They had two other groups to test as well – sedentary adults and young people. After several studies, researchers found that the active seniors’ muscle tissue were more closely related to 30-year-olds than their contemporary, sedentary counterparts.
In other words, consistent cycling over decades “had altered and slowed the normal arc of muscle decline.”
It’s a new study, and it was only conducted on British cyclists. But it’s exciting because it suggests that we do have a way to slow down muscle deterioration, improve our immune systems, and can, essentially, turn back the clocks!
Here are six tips to get moving … today!
- 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity is recommended each week. That may seem like a big number, but all you need is 22 minutes each day of walking, cycling, jump roping, walking up and down stairs, playing tag, riding a bike, pushing a stroller, dancing, gardening and weeding … every day.
- Start today. Really. Whether you decide to take the first step by walking to the corner store instead of driving or join a local dance class with your children, that’s a healthy start to make moving a priority.
- Join a local hiking club like NYC Ramblers or Hiking Meetup. It’s a great way to get active, meet interesting people, and discover the beauty of your city and surroundings. Most hiking clubs have several different groups from beginners to advanced!
- Make TV time exercise time. Jump rope, do lunges, chair dips, planks and other exercises to make TV time movement time.
- Make a playlist and walk your way through it every day. I had a friend who’d made an hour-long playlist with the goal of running to the end of it after five weeks. He’d log to the last song he listened to each day. Add a new song each week. Keep the pace up, so keep the music tempo up!
- Volunteer! Many organizations need volunteers for kids’ camps, shelving books at the library, pairing up with a senior to help with gardening, grocery shopping and more. Movement can come in all packages!
New studies like the one reported about in the NYT bring the inevitability out of aging. Perhaps we don’t have to “age with grace”, instead fight it one bike ride at a time!