Woman walking cross country and trail in autumn forestWe all know that exercise keeps us healthy and fit. However, exercise does more than just keep your body in good physical condition. It acts in many ways to delay or slow some of the physical, mental and emotional effects of aging. Along the way, it also helps you look and feel younger!

Applying creams, lotions, moisturizers and other products to your skin may feel good, but they only work (or at least we hope they do) on the ‘outside’. Exercise helps defy the signs of aging from the inside out.

Fact 1: Smarter Brain

There is scientific evidence which shows that aerobic exercise improves memory retention and learning abilities. Walking for at least thirty minutes a day, at least four times a week, can greatly improve blood flow to the brain. And that is really not a lot of time to put aside to ensure a ‘smarter brain’.

The improved blood flow that results from the exercise provides more oxygen to the brain, which in turn prevents beta-amyloid plaques from building up.  This helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

So playing crossword puzzles, Sudoku and other mentally-stimulating games is definitely not the only way to keep your brain sharp. Exercise will too!

Fact 2: Younger Looking Skin

Exercising for at least three times a week has been shown to reverse the visible signs of aging, so our body looks younger. It is not only those in middle-age who will benefit from exercise. The same is true for people in their older years who regularly stick to their exercise regimen.

The portion of the skin referred to as stratum corneum is one of those areas that benefit the most from regular exercise. Experts say that exercise preserves the health of the skin’s stratum corneum and even reverse its signs of aging.

The stratum corneum is the part of the skin which readily displays aging effects as it sags, wrinkles, droops and thickens due to diminished elasticity and dying cells that naturally occur with aging.

Fact 3: Improved Balance

With aging you become more prone to falls and increasingly susceptible to fractures. However, studies have shown (Source 1, 2) showed that regular exercise can help reduce your risk of falling by as much as 13 per cent. This percentage may seem small but the fact is that one in every three adults aged 65 and older fall every year, according to research.  Don’t let that be you!

Falls can result in fractures, tissue and organ injuries and even death. One of the best exercises for improving balance is Tai Chi. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that Tai-Chi was effective in helping people prevent falls while their mental health was also improved.

 

Fact 4: Stronger Bones

Undertaking weight bearing exercises will cause new bone tissues to form.  This makes your bones as well as your muscles stronger.

The good news is that you do not have to be an athlete in order to achieve these benefits. Weight bearing exercises are easy to do and can be performed almost anywhere.

Examples of these exercises include climbing stairs, jogging, running, walking, tennis, dancing, basketball and many more. If you have a child or a teenager in your family, encourage them to do these exercises with you.

As well as encouraging you to exercise, this will help to “future-proof” the child from weak bones. This is because the greatest gains in bone mass can be achieved during or before and during puberty. They need to have as much bone mass as they can while they are still young to ensure greater bone mass as they age.

Don’t let that dishearten you, as bone density and strength can be improved at any age.

Conclusion

At any stage of our lives exercise is important for health and well being.  But it is even more critical as we grow older.  As the four facts above indicate, the benefits of exercise far outweigh the time and effort required to do it.

It really is a case of ‘move it or lose it’, so get exercising today.