Three more ways that exercise is the fountain of youth.
What do Wilford Brimley and Brad Pitt have in common?
When Brimley shot Cocoon in the early 80s, he was 50. When Brad shot World War Z he was 49. That’s right, they were almost the same age when they filmed their respective movies. Who would you rather look like when you’re 50? Brad or Wilfred? The right exercise program can help you maintain your youthful appearance throughout the aging process.
Part I of this series discussed how that the right exercises can boost hormone levels, change the structure of your muscles and increase definition regardless of your age. Part II reveals additional anti-aging benefits from the right exercise program.
- Improve agility and dynamic balance.
Agility is the ability to make rapid movements with coordination and control. Dynamic balance is the ability to maintain control of a moving center of gravity over a changing base of support.
Without an exercise program that features drills to work on agility and dynamic balance these skills can diminish which can greatly increase the risk of falling. There is plenty of evidence that links falls to broken bones which can greatly diminish quality of life.
Agility drills are fun and are also an effective way to do the power training necessary to stimulate type II muscle fiber activation, provoke a response from the anabolic, anti-aging hormones mentioned above and burn calories to help with weight management.
- Improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of onset dementia.
There is plenty of research showing that exercise stimulates a neurotransmitter (chemicals which help the central nervous system do its job) called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which creates new brain cells and improves brain function.
BDNF has been called “the miracle-gro” of the brain (by researcher and MD John Ratey, author of the book: Spark). Exercise can increase BDNF production and improve the ability to process information for hours after exercise. In addition, exercise improves oxygen and nutrient flow throughout the entire body, including to the brain, which can improve cognitive ability and reduce the risk of developing onset dementia or similar diseases.
- Increase energy levels and improve quality of sleep.
The final reason why exercise is the fountain of youth is improved energy levels during the
day and quality of sleep at night.
Strength training with weight, power training and high intensity cardio all increase the
body’s ability to use oxygen and nutrients to produce muscular energy. As the body becomes more efficient at producing energy, energy levels will automatically rise and lead to greater vitality throughout the day and into the evening.
The purpose of sleep is to allow the body to rest to repair tissue (muscles will rebuild themselves from the daily exercise), restore energy levels (replace the energy used for exercise), produce hormones (T and GH are produced during sleep to help with tissue repair and muscle building) and restore cognitive function (allow the brain to rest and BDNF to improve connections between various neurons).
Sleep is a critical, and often overlooked, component of exercise. Your body doesn’t get stronger, leaner or look better during the workout. That happens in the time period after exercise when the body is repairing and refueling itself. If you’re training hard, make sure you’re sleeping just as hard to allow your muscles (and brain) to recover.
If you follow these recommendations along with a healthy diet and overall positive outlook on life you will look more like Brad than Wilfred as you age.