The process of ageing is one that we cannot escape, yet its often viewed with fear and anxiety. However, this perception is largely undeserved. While we cannot completely halt the passage of time, we can certainly take measures to slow its march and enjoy life to the fullest as we age.
As Jonathan Swift once said, ‘Everyone desires to live long, but no one would be old.’
By embracing healthy habits such as regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, seeking good medical care, and having some luck with our genetics, we can increase our chances of ageing with grace and vitality. Let’s take a look at how.
What is ageing?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ageing occurs due to the accumulation of various types of molecular and cellular damage over time, which leads to a gradual decline in physical and mental abilities, an increased risk of illness, and eventual death.
These changes are not uniform or linear and are only loosely correlated with a person’s age. The diversity seen in older people is not random, and significant life changes, such as retirement, relocation to appropriate housing, and the loss of loved ones, often accompany ageing.
Common health conditions of ageing
As individuals advance in age, they may undergo several common conditions that can affect their overall health and well-being.
Among these conditions are:
Cataracts and refractive errors
Back and Neck pain
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Depression and dementia are also prevalent among older individuals and can have long-term effects on their physical and mental health
Moreover, as people age, they may experience several complex health states known as geriatric syndromes. These are often the result of multiple underlying factors, including frailty, urinary incontinence, falls, delirium, and pressure ulcers.
Therefore, it is essential to be aware of these common conditions and take appropriate measures to prevent and manage them. Regular check-ups and healthy lifestyle choices can help older individuals maintain their physical and mental health, thus enabling them to live a fulfilling and independent life.
Eight age-reversing activities
Regular exercise is the key to optimising your appearance, mobility, endurance, and energy levels. Strength and aerobic exercises not only keep you fit but also help you stay young. Let’s look at the eight best activities to help slow the ageing process.
If you are looking for a way to maintain your youthfulness, incorporating squats into your fitness routine is a great idea. This exercise targets multiple muscle groups, including the hamstrings, hips, glutes, and quads, making it a full-body workout. Additionally, squats strengthen your core, which is essential for maintaining good posture and preventing back pain.
Aside from these physical benefits, squats also improve your balance and coordination, which is especially important as you age. As you get older, your risk of falling increases, but by practising squats regularly, you can help reduce that risk.
Perhaps one of the most impressive benefits of squats is their ability to reverse the effects of ageing on your bones. As you age, your bone density decreases, making you more susceptible to fractures and injuries. However, by incorporating squats into your fitness routine, you can help build up your bone density and keep your bones strong and healthy.
Overall, squats are an excellent way to stay fit, healthy, and youthful as you age.
Walking is an incredibly simple yet effective way to improve your overall health. By engaging in this low-impact exercise, you can achieve various benefits, including weight management, lower cholesterol levels, stronger bones, normalised blood pressure, a better mood, and a reduced risk of disease.
Research has shown that those who meet the minimum exercise requirements of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week have a 31% lower risk of premature death than those who do not exercise. Even those who exercise half as much at 75 minutes per week still enjoy a 23% lower risk of death. This is largely due to the decreased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
All you need to get started is a good pair of sneakers. Begin by walking for 15-20 minutes at a time and gradually increase your distance and speed until you’re walking for 45-60 minutes most days of the week. With the numerous benefits of walking, there’s no reason not to make it a regular part of your routine.
If you’re looking for a great way to give your lower body a workout, few activities are as effective as climbing stairs. This simple exercise engages all the major muscle groups in your legs, including the calves, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings.
As you continue to climb stairs, your bones and joints will also become stronger and more resilient. This is especially important as you age, as it can help you maintain your endurance and mobility for longer periods of time.
So if you’re looking for a low-impact, high-reward exercise that can help you stay fit and healthy, climbing stairs is definitely worth considering.
4Arm and leg crossovers
These exercises may seem easy, but they have a remarkable impact on maintaining youthfulness.
The key lies in utilising one limb to cross over the middle of your body to the opposite side. This motion not only helps to stretch and build muscle but also promotes communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which ultimately strengthens the brain as a whole. This exercise is particularly beneficial for maintaining cognitive function and overall brain health.
By engaging in this routine regularly, you can improve your ability to process information, enhance your memory, and ultimately feel more youthful and energetic.
In order to truly reverse your age at the genetic level, strength training is a must! Strength or “resistance training” exercise is guaranteed to enhance both your muscle strength and endurance. Be sure to incorporate essential items like Therabands, weights, barbells, dumbbells, and medicine balls into your regular workout routine to effectively achieve your desired results.
According to one study, 60 minutes per week of strength training can considerably lower the risk of death from all causes, including cancer and heart disease. Those who did not engage in any strength training were found to have a significantly higher risk of mortality during the study period.
Cycling is a form of exercise that has numerous health benefits. It has been found to improve cardiovascular fitness, increase muscle strength, enhance coordination and mobility, and reduce body fat. In addition to these physical benefits, cycling can positively impact mental health by reducing stress.
Research has shown that cycling can even help reduce the risk of mortality in people with diabetes. In an observational study that followed 7,459 adults with diabetes, those who cycled had a 35% lower risk of death from any cause than those who did not cycle.
Furthermore, the mortality risk was lower for cyclists than those who rode motorcycles, with cyclists having a 24% lower risk of death. These findings suggest that cycling can be an effective way to improve health outcomes and increase longevity.
Incorporating reaction training into your anti-ageing exercise routine is highly recommended. This can be achieved through various means, such as playing tennis and squash or attending aerobic classes, to name just a few.
One study showed that reaction training significantly improves the quality of life for older adults by reducing the risk of disabilities, frailty, sarcopenia, falls, ruptures, cognitive deterioration, hospitalisation, nursing home placement, and death.
By engaging in such activities, you not only improve your overall physical health but also enhance your reaction time and cognitive abilities to retain information and balance while performing dynamic movements. These benefits are essential for maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, particularly as you age.
Swimming has been widely regarded as one of the best workouts one can engage in. The properties of water, such as buoyancy, support the body and alleviate the stress on painful joints, allowing for more fluid movement and less discomfort.
In addition to the physical benefits, swimming has been shown to improve mental health and boost mood. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), swimming can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression and can even help reduce stress levels.
Water aerobics classes provide an excellent alternative for those looking for a more structured workout. These classes offer a full-body workout that helps burn calories and tone muscles while taking advantage of water’s properties to minimise the impact on joints.
Sum it up
As we progress through life, we commonly witness a decline in our physical abilities. This decline can manifest in many ways, such as reduced strength, speed, and endurance.
Additionally, our body movements may become less coordinated, making everyday activities like walking, gardening, carrying groceries, and playing sports with our grandchildren more challenging. However, it is crucial to recognise that this decline is not a foregone conclusion, and there are ways to mitigate its effects.
By exploring the underlying causes of these changes in our bodies and discovering strategies to improve our quality of life and increase our longevity, we can maintain our independence and continue to enjoy the activities we love for many years to come.
Want to learn more?
Check out this informative clip from the Joe Rogan Podcast, where Dr. Peter Attia, a renowned longevity expert, discusses the important role that exercise plays in reversing or slowing down the ageing process. In fact, Dr. Attia claims that exercise is the most crucial factor in achieving longevity.
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