How Exercise Reverses Aging

How Exercise Reverses Aging

The best anti-aging solution isn’t for sale, in fact it’s free. It can also help you lose weight, think better, sleep sounder and give you a stronger heart. Solid scientific research proves this one thing can help you live longer, stronger and happier. It’s called exercise.

The key to a successful fitness plan is persistence, so if just squeezing back in your pants and looking better isn’t quite enough motivation for you, here are some powerful reasons to lace up those sneakers and break a sweat.

Turning Back the Clock on Aging

Back in 1966, a group of 5 young men took part in a study on the effects of bed rest and training. These men, all aged 20, were confined to bed rest for three weeks. Less than a month of physical inactivity caused these healthy subjects to suffer elevated resting heart rates, soaring blood pressures, lost muscle mass and more body fat.  Then they took part in 8 weeks of regular exercise. In just two months, they were healthier than they were at the beginning. Good news, but not as exciting as what these men taught us 30 years later.

As a follow up to the study these men were contacted and all five agreed to take part in a new research project.  Three decades later these men were overweight and their cardiac functions were less than optimal – still they were in much better shape compared to when they had just finished 3 weeks of inactivity at age twenty. Scientists were curious to know what would happen if these men started a physical fitness program now. How close could they come to their original health levels back of 1966?

The men, now in their 50’s were given a 6 month exercise program which gradually took them from sedentary and fat to active and fit. At the end of the exercise phase they were measured and the results were amazing. By gradually going from walking to jogging and biking over six months they managed to restore their cardiovascular systems to the levels they had at age 20 before they started the original study. In other words, 6 months of sensible exercise erased 30 years of aging.

A good fitness program will include a healthier diet, aerobic and muscle toning exercises, but aerobic exercise alone can make significant contributions to your well being, no matter what your age. Aerobic exercise improves the heart and circulation and can counter the effects of aging. The typical older adult’s heart has a higher resting rate and muscles of the organ are stiffer. They typically have higher blood pressure, lower maximum pumping capacity and blood vessel stiffness too. Exercise can reverse or slow these conditions.

With just 15 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 to 5 times a week you’ll experience lower blood viscosity which lets your blood flow more freely. You’ll enjoy better digestion. Your metabolic rate will increase while your body fat decreases along with your blood sugar and insulin levels. As your body enjoys more endurance and sounder sleep you’ll also decrease your chances of depression.

Neurological research shows that the same levels of exercise will greatly reduce your chances of brain diseases like many forms of dementia. You’ll not only live longer, you will enjoy your life more when you put an exercise plan in place. Even just 30 minutes of brisk walking every week can bring you a new lease on life.

If you’re out of shape and you’re ready to start your new, healthy lifestyle be sure to check with your doctor. Take it easy at first and gradually work your way up to higher impact exercises.

This article was written by guest contributor Brian McGovern, who is a senior health and senior care advocate. Brian believes that the key to a happy and long life is starting a healthier lifestyle right now. Brian writes about senior health and safety at

Vancouver Health Coach