We love to read about pills, treatments, injections and other ways of slamming the brakes on the aging process. Nonetheless, regular exercise may just turn out to be the most effective anti-aging remedy of all.
One of the people who genuinely believes in the value of physical activity is Professor Wayne Derman, an exercise expert from The International Institute for Anti-Aging. He says that studies show how different types of exercise in the right amounts (in terms of duration, frequency, and intensity) may slow down, and in some cases even reverse, the aging of the body. It seems to be particularly relevant for chronic diseases that are typically seen in older people.
Professor Derman mentions type-2 diabetes as an example and says that weight training is able to improve insulin sensitivity in patients, thereby contributing to keeping the disease under control.
Similarly, exercise increases the blood flow to the brain and improves cognition, memory, and the ability to think logically, just like it stimulates creativity and most certainly has an anti-depressive effect.
What makes exercise so effective in terms of anti-aging is the way in which it affects different levels of the biological system. Even simple things like being able to walk can significantly improve quality of life, especially as one grows older. It is known that regular walking strengthens the pelvic floor muscles and they are important for maintaining urine continence. As little as 30 minutes of walking every day can lower a woman's risk of urine incontinence by up to 25%.
How much does it take?
The big question is: How much must we exercise in order to obtain the desired benefits and what type of exercise should we choose? There are actual guidelines that that specifically recommend: "moderate heart-lung-activity (i.e. stimulation of the heart and respiratory system) such as brisk walking half an hour daily, five times a week. Moderate in this case includes sweating and raising your pulse. Energetic heart-lung-activity such as running or jogging for 20 minutes, three days a week and 8-10 strength training exercises (8-12 repetitions of each exercise) twice a week. Those are Professor Derman's guidelines. Many people exercise more often and this may be a good idea. On the other hand, many people are not physically active at all. The guidelines merely serve to indicate what it takes, as a minimum, in order to obtain a good effect.