The simplest way to stay #ForeverYoung – keep moving!
Who doesn’t want to look young! People are willing to go to great lengths, and spend a fortune on this quest. There are clinics, spas and treatments centers sprawling around the globe that promise to help people look young. What we really need to do is, before we start on the ‘youthful’ journey, is to pause and introspect to reflect on what really makes us youthful? What really drives us to be younger and let age just be a number?
Those who have truly achieved this are the ones who have focused on inside out solutions – that keeps their body youthful, organs rejuvenated, and mind positive. Amongst various holistic solutions, one that does not get enough attention is daily movement. Mobility isn’t just about weight loss, and today we shall see some important benefits on how it can make us look younger.
Exercise has long been correlated with a longer life, but it only recently started to become clear why this might be. Studies, like the one published in the journal of Preventive Medicine, conducted by Larry A Tucker, says that exercise is linked to longer caps at the ends of chromosomes, and this has helped in understanding how movement is linked to longevity. These caps, called telomeres, naturally shorten as we age, with each cell division. People who live a long time have telomeres that are in better shape than those who don’t—and there’s a lot we can do to affect the rate at which they shorten over the years. The team behind the study looked at the data and found that people who exercised regularly had telomeres that were 140 base pairs longer on average than people with a sedentary lifestyle. To put it simply, people who indulge in some form of physical activity, live longer.
Moving your body is known to combat anxiety and depression. Data shows that exercise provides these benefits both in healthy individuals as well as those with diagnosed emotional disorders, regardless of sex and age.
Exercise may also help individuals cope with stress. In the study titled Effects of Acute Physical Exercise Characteristics on Cognitive Performance, participants were asked to complete both a non-stressful control task and a stressful task. Those participants who exercised at least once a week had better mood following the stressful task than the non-exercisers, who reported a significant decline in positive affect (mood) and felt generally ‘unfriendly’ post the stressful task. These results suggest that routine exercise, while not necessarily preventing you from feeling acute stress, is helpful in maintaining a positive mood and preventing stress from accumulating in your body.
Triggers the growth of new brain cells
This is a particularly cool on! Neuroscientists used to believe the brain was the only organ incapable of growing new cells—which partly makes sense, since we need our brains to be relatively stable over time, to keep our memories intact and to keep us the person we are. But in recent years, it’s become clear that the brain, too, can grow new neurons, in a process called neurogenesis. And what seems to spur the growth of new neurons, perhaps above other activities, is mobility (other things, like meditation and antidepressant medication, have also shown to trigger brain new cell growth.) The area of the brain that seems most capable of growing new cells is the hippocampus, the seat of learning and memory. It’s also the area that’s known to ‘shrink’ in depression, and particularly in dementia—so the fact that we may have some control over its health is exciting.
The lymphatic system is part of our body’s immune system. The lymph system is a series of channels and nodes dispersed throughout the body that move the lymph fluid. Lymph fluid contains infection-fighting white blood cells throughout the body. It is an important part of the immune system because it is responsible for removing potentially harmful toxins and bacteria from body.
Unlike the circulatory or respiratory systems, the lymphatic system does not have a ‘pump’. Instead, it relies on your motion to circulate lymph fluid around the body. Each time you move large muscles of the body, you help pump lymphatic fluid through your body, keeping it circulating.
Improved Sex Life
Exercise improves sex life (arousal and satisfaction) for both men and women. For men, not only does increased blood flow improve sexual function, but regular exercise also helps with psychosocial factors such as mood, stress, and confidence, which may contribute to feeling ‘in the mood’.
For women, regularly moving the body may help to increase sexual function and arousal. The mechanism requires further study, though may be related to increased hormone production as well as endorphins.
The above reasons (there are several more!) when seen together are holistic ways to help us feel youthful. There are various ways to move your body – from dancing to playing with your kids, running chores, doing a class with a friend or listening to some cool podcasts while strolling in a garden.
Move your body to put your age in reverse mode.