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Can Exercise Stop The Aging Clock?
Everyone has two ages: chronological and biological. Your chronological age is the actual numerical age of your body. Biological age is determined by your functional capacities such as physical fitness and overall health of your organs, tissues and cells.
The chronological and biological ages for Americans tend to be about the same. The Japanese, on the other hand, tend to have biological ages much less than their chronological age. This is attributed to a good mixture of fitness, diet and genetics.
How much can exercise slow down your biological clock? The precise answer isn't known yet. The good news is that slowing of the aging process is greater in people who have been exercising regularly for a long time. The bad news is you can't stop it entirely with exercise alone.
For those who have gotten a late start at exercise there's still good news. Starting an exercise program later in life will still allow you to benefit from anti-aging improvements in your physical capacity. For example, a very active 60 year old might attain the physical functioning of a 45-50 year old. They won't, however, reach the level of a 20 or 30 year old.
One of the reasons our bodies decline as we age is we lose the capability to repair and renew cells and waste products build up. Probably the best way to push these cellular renewal and repair processes forward is to exercise.
Following are ways physical activity can keep your body running at a younger pace:
* Increases muscle mass which raises metabolic rate; increases strength and aids with fat loss.
* Increases bone density to prevent osteoporosis
* Enhances mental function and cognition; alleviates depression, stress and anxiety.
* Slows the loss of brain tissue
* Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes.
* Improves reaction time and decision making capabilities.
* Boosts the immune system
Seniors or beginners who haven't exercised for awhile needn't worry about training for a marathon to gain youthful benefits. Just start a walking or bike riding program for 30 minutes with varying intensities. This will allow you to gain ample age-related improvements.
If you're younger or more fit, any type of exercise that works a variety of intensity levels will give great results. For example, you could lift weights three times a week and interval train the other two or three days. Always take at least one day off.
Scientists don't have clear answers regarding how much exercise can extend life. They do feel that those who started exercising earlier in life will reap the most life preserving benefits. Don't let that discourage those of you who jumped on the exercise bandwagon later in life. Studies have shown that even late starters can benefit greatly in reducing their biological age and creating more youthful bodies.
About the Author: Dr. Lanny Schaffer is an Exercise Physiologist and the President of The International Fitness Academy. For more fresh fitness ideas go to http://www.aerobic-exercise-coach.com