Juan Ponce de Leon is often associated with the popular legend of being the explorer who searched for the fountain of youth to reverse aging. Time is aging is probably one of the biggest influences in our lives. However, what few realize is that age is diverse. There are two ways people grow old. Chronological age and biological (or fitness age). Fighting aging with pills, potions, and surgeries isn’t the best option, however, new research show that exercise could help you find your real life fountain of youth.
A recent study done by The University of California- San Diego examined how limiting exercise may in fact accelerate the aging process. This study was published in the January 18, 2017 edition of The American Journal of Epidemiology.
Let’s look at what the study found and how you can realistically reverse aging through exercise.
Does Age Really Slow Us Down?
Before we get to what the University of California- San Diego discovered, let’s look at some stats from Harvard Medical School about aging.
- After the age 25, the average man’s maximum attainable heart rate declines by about one beat per minute, per year.
- The same man’s heart’s peak capacity to pump blood diminishes 5-10% per decade
- An average, a 25 year old heart can pump 2.5 quarts of oxygen per minute
- At age 65 the heart can’t get above 1.5 quarts per minute
- At age 80 that number drops to about one quart (in a non-diseased heart)
The UC San Diego study summarized that elderly women who are sedentary more than ten hours a day have cells that are biologically aged eight years more than their chronological age. Furthermore, lifestyle habits like obesity and smoking can accelerate the process even more.
The average age range in the study was 64-95.
Beyond the Age
While aging your body as much as eight years forward is bad, the effects actually get worse. The UC San Diego fitness aging study looked at Telomeres which are tiny receptors at the end of DNA. The telomeres naturally shorten with age; however, a sedentary lifestyle can increase the rate in which they shrink. Shortened telomeres have been shown to contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Factors that can accelerate the shortening of telomeres include smoking, poor diet, stress, and pollution.
Fight Aging: Eat Up
Diet and lifestyle are huge influences on not only achieving longer age but longer telomeres. How and what we eat has a great influence in how we age and reversing age. Telomere length showed positive response to intake of fiber and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Furthermore intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids showed positive influence on the reduction of telomere shortening.
To get the most age reducing benefits from your diet you need to eat nutrient dense foods that include anti-oxidants and healthy fats.
- Greens – Spinach, kale, sprouts, broccoli, asparagus
- Healthy fats: almonds, olive oil, natural peanut butter
- Lean proteins: Chicken/turkey beast, sirloin, pork loin, fish
- Take a multivitamin/mineral supplement daily
No Rest: Age Reduction
The UC San Diego study author, Aladdin Shadyab, PhD, stated
We found that women who sat longer did not have shorter telomere length if they exercised for at least 30 minutes a day, the national recommended guideline,” said Shadyab. “Discussions about the benefits of exercise should start when we are young, and physical activity should continue to be part of our daily lives as we get older, even at 80 years old.
Exercise has long been proven to fight aging. The idea that you slow down as you age is nothing more than a skewed idea that was wrong from the onset and disproven years ago. The good news is whether you are twenty or sixty, it is not too late to start, continue, or resume exercise. University of Maryland School of Medicine compiled an age reducing exercise guide broken down by decade. While it is highly recommended to do as the guide suggests “build your fitness base” in your twenties, there is no reason you can’t benefit even if you’re starting in your sixties or beyond. Exercise isn’t just for your physical health. A 2016 article in Time Magazine discussed how exercise can fight aging of the brain by ten years!
Even if you are in your forties or fifties there is no reason to forgo intense exercise. Jack LaLane who is known as the Father of Modern Fitness proved that age was irrelevant time after time with his stunning feats of strength and endurance. These feats continued into his seventies. You can read some of his feats here including swimming the length of the Golden Gate bridge while handcuffed and tied to a 1,000 pound boat…at age 61.
The Conclusion: Turning Back Time – Fight Aging With Exercise
Reversing age isn’t just a folk tale or pipe dream chased by overzealous 16th century explorers. It’s a real thing that requires no drugs, no medical procedure, and no mystical spring.
The UC San Diego study shows us that slowing down is in fact the wrong thing to do. It just doesn’t let age catch up to you, it lets it pass you.