To Evolution

Exercise may be the best protection against aging we have, according to new research

    Abdulaziz Sobh
    By Abdulaziz Sobh

    Categories: Beauty & Fitness, Health


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    "Let's do physical exercise" is not just a catchy line from an Olivia Newton-John song: it's a health intervention.

    Exercise is increasingly recognized as the closest thing to a miracle drug we have. Not only does regular movement seem to benefit our mind and body, but it also seems to protect us from many aspects of the slow wear of aging.

    For a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that older people who spent less time sitting and more time moving had fewer signs of invasive heart disease.

    The scientists had 1,600 British volunteers aged 60 to 64 years who use heart rate sensors for five days. They analyzed the activity levels of the participants and compared them with indicators of heart disease, such as cholesterol precursors and a substance called interleukin-6. In general, participants with more activity had lower levels of all negative biomarkers.

    The effects were even noticeable when the researchers observed the participants' activity in 10-minute chunks. Every 10 minutes dedicated to doing some kind of movement, whether walking, playing tennis or working in the garden, was related to quantifiable improvements in at least one type of biomarker related to heart health.

    On the contrary, every 10 minutes spent sitting was linked to worse results of biomarkers.

    These results add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease.

    "It is important to replace the time we spend sedentary with any level of intensity of activity," said Ahmed Elhakeem, author of the study and professor of epidemiology at the University of Bristol, in a statement.

    2 forms of exercise can be the key to keeping the heart and brain young

    This is not the first time that two forms of cardiovascular exercise and strength training have been linked to the anti-aging benefits. Aerobic exercise, or cardio, is the type of training that causes your heart to pump and sweat to flow, while strength training helps prevent aging muscles from weakening over time.
    Both types of exercise are important for the heart, parts of which can become rigid with age. The left chamber of the heart, which plays a key role in the supply of freshly oxygenated blood to the body, is especially susceptible to age-related damage.

    A recent study published in January in the journal Circulation found that adults who exercised supervised exercise four to five days a week experienced significant improvements in their heart's performance for two years compared to a control group that only did stretches and basic balances. These results suggest that certain rigidity in the heart can be prevented or even reversed with regular aerobic exercise.

    "Based on a series of studies conducted by our team over the past five years, this 'dose' of exercise has become my recipe for life," said Benjamin Levine, author of the study and professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern.

    The regular movement also seems to have benefits for the aging brain.

    In May, a major review of almost 100 studies published in the journal Neurology: Clinical Practice found that older people who performed approximately 40 minutes of exercise three times a week showed significant cognitive advantages compared to people who exercised less or none at all.

    These benefits include better processing speed and superior performance in tests that measure skills such as time management and the ability to pay attention.

    "This is evidence that you can actually turn back the aging clock in your brain by adopting a regular exercise regimen," said study author Joyce Gomes-Osman, a rehabilitation scientist at the University's Miller School of Medicine. Miami

    The intensity of a workout matters less than moving regularly
    A growing body of evidence suggests that the time you spend in a single workout matters less than the total time you spend in the gym for long periods. That means that if your last workout was five or 50 minutes it is less important than if you hit the track or pool regularly at least several times a week.

    When it comes to the heart benefits seen in their latest study, the American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercises, such as walking or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity exercises, such as kickboxing, along with muscle strengthening. exercises two or more days a week.

    If you are curious about how to start, we recently spoke with a physical trainer and an exercise scientist who designed a simple weekly plan. Try it yourself!