A Lack of Fitness is Aging You Faster than Your Age

It may not be your “age” that is aging you the most. It’s your lack of exercise. A lack of exercise can age people beyond their years. Especially if you factor in poor dietary habits and a lack of proper sleep, the effect compounds.

But here’s the good news… You can reverse and slow the aging process. All it takes is engaging in a better diet, getting enough sleep, and participating in regular physical activity.

Body age higher than birth age

In one clinical study by the Institute of Ageing at Newcastle University, participants engaged in various tests to determine their “body age.” Researchers found these people had a body age of 15-20 years more than their actual birth age.

Next, the researchers had the participants engage in changes to their lifestyle habits over a 12-week period. The result? Some of the participants reduced their “body age” by a decade.

The most important change you need to make

Get regular exercise

The Centers for Disease Control, according to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, says that you need to do aerobic and muscle-strengthening as part of your weekly physical activity in order to improve your health.

Seniors need to engage in twice the amount of aerobic exercise per week as is required by younger adults.

Minimum exercise requirements for adults (non-seniors)

The following requirements can be broken down into sessions as short as 10 minutes at a time, as long as they achieve the weekly recommended total.

Cardio activity

Adults need to perform 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking, jogging, running, biking, etc.) every week.

Strength training

Adults need to perform exercises to strengthen their muscles at least 2 or more days a week. The exercise regimens should work all the major muscle groups (i.e., legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Recommendations for seniors

Cardiovascular activity

Seniors need to perform 5 hours (300 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., walking, brisk walking, biking, etc.) every week. An added bonus is doing it outside and soaking up Vitamin D.

Muscle strengthening

Seniors should perform exercises for strengthening their muscles at least 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscle groups (i.e., legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms). Try some chair yoga or water aerobics to keep your joints happy and healthy.