It is common knowledge that as the body ages, it becomes weaker and the mind less sharp. The skin loses its elasticity, the bones lose their density, muscle mass decreases and body fat increases – this is a fact of life and there is nothing anyone can do to prevent this from happening. But, what if I told you that there are a few things you can try in order to slow down the effects of ageing and keep your mind and body youthful for longer?
There are a few exercises which you can practice every day, and a few that you should avoid, that will guarantee to delay the effects of ageing. The earlier you begin these exercises, the more your body will benefit in the long term. You are never too young, or too old, to start improving your life to ensure that you get the most out of your stay on this earth.
I’ll begin with what you should be doing. Now, these exercises are not extreme and they’re all suitable for the complete beginner.
The reason these specific exercises have been chosen is due to the fact that they mimic everyday movements. The idea is that you will maintain your strength in these everyday movements, and you won’t have to rely on anyone else in your elderly years.
If you are accustomed to exercise, you are more than welcome to step these exercises up a notch or two by adding weights and increasing the intensity. No matter who you are (young, old, weak, strong) these exercises are a must to delay the onset of ageing.
Exercises that Cross the Middle Line of the Body
The two sides of the brain are forced to communicate when we cross the centre line of the body. The right brain controls the left side of the body and the left brain controls the right side and, when we cross these over, both sides of the brain fire up and begin to work together.
It is so important to get the brain working in this way because it will keep the mind active and working at the best of its ability.
Great sports for this include: soccer, hockey, softball, baseball, cricket, kickboxing, boxing, golf, dance, and pilates. If you are not interested in any of these sports, you can also opt for stretching and yoga classes for a lower impact workout that will have you crossing the middle line of the body.
These sports and exercises keep the body strong and the two hemispheres of the brain communicating which strengthen nerve cell pathways and results in a strong mind too.
Short spurts of high impact activities are great for improving bone density without causing harm to the joints and muscles.
For a long time, older people have been told to shy away from high-impact activities because of the negative effects they have on the joints and muscles, however, recent studies have proven that exercises like jumping increase bone density and improve overall health – I mean, a jump isn’t too uncommon in everyday life anyway.
If you’re still hesitant to start jumping around, then rest assured that even a heavier stomp can be just as effective in increasing bone density as a jump. This can be practiced when moving from one movement to another or when you are walking around on a daily basis.
The intensity of the high-impact activities will definitely depend on your age and fitness level, but the key is to remember to only do it for a short period of time in order to increase bone density and avoid damaging the joints.
Increase Your Daily Steps
This is all the rage at the moment. Now, I’m not saying that you have to go out and buy the most recent activity tracker and walk yourself to death. Simply becoming more mindful of your daily activity will do.
You can park a little further away from your destination and force yourself to walk a little bit further, walk to your nearest convenience store instead of drive, or start going on short walks around your block in order to increase your steps without having to think about it too much.
Increasing your daily steps ensures that you’re getting your blood pumping and your heart working on a regular basis. It is all fine and well to go to the gym for an hour a day, but if the rest of the day is spent sitting around then you aren’t using your time effectively.
Stand up and move around when you get bored and you will definitely improve your heart health.
A lot of people say they cannot complete a squat because they have bad knees. But, anytime you have ever bent down to pick up a packet, or to pick something up off a low shelf, or gone down onto your haunches, you’ve engaged in a squat.
Actively practicing a squat will ensure that those muscles remain strong well into your elderly years which means you will be able to pick yourself up again even if you happen to fall over.
To complete a squat, stand with your feet hip distance apart and slightly turned out. Bend at your knees AND your hips in order to keep your heels on the floor. Keep your weight in your heels and keep going down until your thighs are parallel to the floor and then push back up.
Push and Pull Exercises
Here are another two exercises you definitely do each and every day. The pull exercises can be performed with resistance bands or cable machines at the gym where you repeatedly pull the band or cable towards your body. Other exercises include the lateral pull-down machine and weighted rows, which sound a little more complicated but can be completed by anyone by simply lowering the weight.
There is no shame in using lighter weights and there are many exercises completed by fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders which can be adapted to anyone of any age or fitness level.
Push exercises include push-ups, chest press, military press, and shoulder press. All of these involve pushing weights away from the body. Again, these exercises sound intense, but they are fairly simple to complete if you work within your weight range.
Keeping your legs strong will ensure that they remain strong enough for walking and running (and other every day activities).
When we get old, we tend to need the assistance of walkers and wheelchairs because our muscles simply cannot support us anymore. This is why it’s important to build strong legs.
Leg exercises include leg curls, leg extensions, lunges, and squats to name a few. This will ensure you have the strength to get out of your chair and walk around, no matter how old you might be.
Swimming is a fantastic low impact cardio workout which does wonder for the body. Swimming does not put any strain on any of your bones and joints which means that you can really work on improving your cardiovascular health without the worry of damaging your body.
Strengthen Your Glutes
Glute bridges, hip thrusts, resistance band clams, fire hydrants, and squats are excellent exercises for building the glute muscles.
The glutes have been side lined for too long and deserve their spot in the limelight. There are many women looking to grow their glutes for aesthetic purposes, but it has been proven that strong glutes are required for a strong back. This will reduce the aches and pains of lower back ailments as you age, keeping you feeling younger for longer.
Balance Your Hormones
This isn’t an exercise, but it’s important to remember that hormones play an important role in muscle mass and bone density.
Testosterone is the key hormone for maintaining good muscle mass and bone density. If you suffer from any of the symptoms of low testosterone then it is important to boost your testosterone levels through natural methods or with the help of testosterone boosters.
There are a couple of things you should avoid when you want to keep yourself young. These include:
- Excessive Cardio: Cardio is public enemy number one when it comes to breaking down our muscles for energy. This weakens the muscles and will put all of the hard work and progress from the aforementioned anti-ageing muscles down the drain. Excess cardio (which isn’t swimming) will also put a strain on the muscles and joints which will result in you being weaker than when you started.
- A Low-Fat Diet: Healthy fats are an excellent source of good cholesterol, which is essential for good health. It is important that people move away from the idea that fat is the enemy and embrace the amazing health benefits it has to offer. Overdoing any of the above exercises will have adverse effects and all of the aforementioned should be practiced in moderation with adequate rest in order to ensure the great anti-ageing qualities they are guaranteed to provide.
Catherine Grant is an Editor-in-Chief of America’s best bodybuilding supplements website – TopTestosteroneBoosters.org . She is a health and fitness enthusiast. She wrote health and fitness related articles for numerous reputable sites like Huffpost, EvanCarmichael, MasterHerald, Get-a-Wingman, Lifehack etc… She is passionate about helping others reach their health goals through sharing her own personal experiences.