We all want to live a long life, but don’t like to grow old. For many centuries, scientists have been searching for the fountain of youth in order to discover ways or invent some means to defer old age. Not only this would be personally priceless but would also be commercially valuable product. Unfortunately, the so-called fountain of youth does not exist!
Can Exercise Increase Your Lifespan?
To look at it realistically, it is more appropriate to put it this way: “We can possibly defer the chronic diseases that old age often leads to, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer and other undesirable illnesses.”
Whereas all of us want to age well and have an active, healthy aging process, but unfortunately there is no magic pill to ensure this.
It’s priceless to be lucky in life and not disabled by an unfortunate afflictions or accident. There is enough research that shows that parentage can affect longevity genes that help in achieving healthy aging process. Also there are lots of studies indicating that diet, family life, stress and environment do have significant impact on the quality of life.
For centuries it’s a known fact that healthy aging advice includes exercise. Health experts always claim that eating alone will not keep you fit and healthy, you need to exercise as well.
Does Aerobic Exercise Help You Live Longer?
In this article I am going to discuss about cardio (aerobic) — the type of exercise that will provides you the most longevity benefits.
During the late 1960s, Ken Cooper of the Air Force Aerospace Medical Lab researched and popularized aerobic exercise. A book “Aerobics” written by him led to the jogging craze of the time.
Aerobic exercise involves continuous physical movements fuelled by burning oxygen. Moderate aerobic exercise is deemed to be sustained physical activities that raise your heart rate to between 50 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. If you are able to perform a brief conversation while exercising, it’s considered as doing aerobic exercise at a moderate level. Some examples of typical moderate aerobic exercises are: brisk walking, biking, swimming, dancing or similar sustained physical activities.
On the other hand vigorous aerobic exercises are those that can maintain a heart rate from seventy percent to eighty five percent of your max heart rate. Speaking in full sentences would be somewhat difficult at the vigorous pace.
Why You Should Do Aerobic Exercise?
Various research studies since the late ’60s confirm the many benefits of aerobic exercise. The most talked about benefit is cardiovascular, which explains why it is called “cardio.” Cardio exercise produces an oxygen deficit in your muscles. To this the heart responds by beating stronger and faster to supply the required oxygen.
Aerobic exercise helps strengthen your heart and make it more efficient – while boosting its cardiac output. Moreover, aerobic exercise improves viscosity of your blood and elasticity of your arteries and veins. In addition sustained cardiac output kindles the growth and upkeep of every system in your body such as the lungs, liver, kidney and many other important organs.
Sustained moderate exercise increases good cholesterol levels (HDL) and reduces bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and triglycerides and reduces blood pressure. Aerobic exercise burns fat — thus helps control body weight — decreases inflammation and promotes bone density because it is weight-bearing exercise.
One of the most important benefits of regular aerobic exercise for seniors is its positive impact on brain health. It helps retain their mental faculties. The brain needs 20% of the oxygen in your body whereas it is only 2% to 3% of your body’s weight. Cardio stimulates the flow of oxygen to your brain to keep it healthy.
How Much Aerobic Exercise Do You Need?
Now that you understand why sustained aerobic exercise is important for you, the logical question that might comes to your mind – “How much exercise do you need to keep your body in good shape & health?”
The most recent update of the of the Department of Health and Human services (HHS) has confirmed that some physical activity is better than being sedentary and that more physical activity no doubt provides additional health benefits.
For considerable health benefits adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity in a week or 75 minutes of intense activity per week.
Sedentary people who do little to no exercise have the most to gain from starting an exercise program. And the 150-minute weekly exercise regime considerably boosts their longevity chances and is of course doable for the able bodied.
The health benefits of an extreme exercise routine do not seem to be much greater than the moderate exercise routines. However, in case you like doing exercise and love to have a good physique – it’s really good for you to do extensive exercises. Though it’s just not that much more beneficial to your health than the HHS recommendations for moderate and intense exercise, but it will definitely make you look and feel good.
Is Physical Decline As You Age inevitable?
There are several studies to show that the physical decline as we age is not inevitable. Imagine an old building that has always been carefully maintained and is still very functional. If it had not been maintained properly the wear and tear because of the use, time and weather would certainly have led to deterioration. With proper, routine maintenance and the good fortune of not experiencing unfortunate incidents such as earthquake or fire, etc. the building can still be standing strong and performing well in spite of its aging.
The same corollary holds true for human body. To stay healthy and perform well your body requires proper care and maintenance of which cardio or aerobic exercise is an important part.
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About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me age is just a number!”