Getting enough exercise is one of the best ways to ensure that you stay fit and healthy well into older age. Exercising frequently has been associated with lower incidence of a whole range of age-related diseases, from cancer to diabetes to high blood pressure, but it can also help prevent some of the less-health-endangering but still unsavory effects of aging like wrinkles. Here are some of the best exercises for keeping up a youthful body and demeanor.
If you tend to stick to a jog on the treadmill or a steady pace on the stationary bike, you may want to throw in some faster sprints every now and then. Studies have shown that 30-second, high energy sprints cause the body to release a burst of human growth hormone (HGH), which may help to boost muscle production, slow the formation of wrinkles, and shed excess body fat. And of course, any high-intensity workout will boost your heart rate, helping to keep your heart muscle strong and healthy.
One of the best ways to prevent sagging skin is to build muscle mass. The increase in muscle volume helps to support your skin even as it loses elasticity, aiding in the creation of a firm, toned look. Whether you opt to use weight machines, learn how to use free weights, or simply do bodyweight exercises like pushups and crunches at home, performing exercises with some resistance can help you stay fit and look vigorous and youthful.
In addition to help toning your muscles, yoga can drastically increase flexibility and joint strength, preventing many of the wear-and-tear injuries that come with age. Even better, some yoga enthusiasts contend that certain yoga poses that increase blood flow to your face, like downward-facing dog, can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. And for those worried about the increased risk of falling as they get older, yoga is a perfect way to build balance and coordination. Finally, yoga is a fantastic stress-buster, and can therefore improve your focus, memory, and mood.
Although swimming, rowing, and biking might be easier on the joints, high-impact, weight-bearing exercises like running on a track, jumping rope, or playing a sport are a necessary part of maintaining good bone strength. Osteoporosis and other forms of bone weakness can lead to fractures that can spell disaster for older adults, so strengthening bones now is a key part of maintaining your independence in old age.