It’s pretty much a given that exercise is good for you. It’s one of those ubiquitous pieces of common knowledge that’s been proven so thoroughly it’s rightfully accepted as fact. But did you know that not only is regular exercise beneficial to general health and well-being, but it can also help you to ensure that you age well and live a long, healthy, happy life.
Exercise Fights Disease
Well, not directly, but it can reduce your chances of contracting them. Regular cardiovascular activity strengthens your heart, so it doesn’t have to work as hard keeping your body running smoothly, so to speak, reducing the risk of heart-related diseases. It also, of course, burns calories which can help keep you at a healthy weight, which helps to prevent conditions like diabetes, back pain, high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis, and much more. Exercising regularly also boosts your mood, so you’re less likely to get depressed or be overly anxious. All of these things, of course, can potentially increase both quality and length of life.
Exercise is the Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory
One of the worst aspects of aging is inflammation. Inflammation becomes more and more of a problem with age and contributes to a lot of the symptoms of old age. Exercise, in the right amount at the right frequency, can actually reduce inflammation and therefore help to forestall many effect of aging.
For the best effect, you need to try for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity. That may sound like a big number, but think about it, it’s only 2 and a half hours…in a whole week! You can accomplish this with 30 minute sessions, once a day, for five days, and then two days off, or with 20 minutes every day, with no days off (unlike strength training, which you should absolutely not do every day or you’ll tear up your muscles, cardiovascular exercise is fine to do every single day).
The other thing to remember is never to overdo it. Studies suggest that regular exercise for more than 30 minutes in a session or expending more than 70% of your maximum effort will actually increase inflammation, the opposite of what you need to age well.
And finally, just remember that if it’s difficult at first, you can and should build up to things gradually. If 20-30 minutes is too much at first, start with 10 a day, and add 5 minutes every week until you get to your goal. You’ll find that what once seemed impossible will be easily doable if you commit to it long term and build up gradually.
Remember that Exercise is Only Half the Equation
Exercise is incredibly important, but you also have to remember to eat right and take care of your body in other ways. So after that workout, don’t forget to shower and re-do your skincare routine! And eat a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, with very little meat and a lot of leafy greens. And don’t forget to pamper yourself every once in awhile! Feeling good about yourself is just as important to a long, happy life as the physical aspects are.