We all know people who seem much younger than their peers and we may wonder how they do it. While genetic factors such as hereditary traits and low-risk factors for chronic disease play a big part in how we age, the way we live our lives can dramatically alter how we enter our golden years.
New research exploring how exercise affects our bodies and aging indicates that those who exercise show decreased signs of aging at the cellular level. More active adults were shown to have longer telomeres (the protein caps on the ends of human chromosomes) and some scientists take this as a measure of overall health. Regardless of chromosomal factors, exercise has many noted anti-aging benefits.
Here are some of the most beneficial exercises you can do to help keep you looking and feeling young! And remember to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
Flexibility & Stretching
The more flexible our bodies remain the more range of movement we have, not to mention that our posture and balance benefit greatly from flexibility exercises. In particular, spinal flexibility is reduced over the years as we sit in chairs all day.
1) Floor Rolls
Lie on your back on the floor and bring your knees to your chest. Spread your arms out on the floor parallel you your body. Now move your knees to your right side and hold for a few deep breaths. Return to starting position and then repeat the movement leaning toward your left side.
2) Stability Ball
If you have an inflatable stability exercise ball then sit on it with feet on the floor. Make your hands into fists and swing them as if you are punching, keeping your core engaged the whole time by tucking your abdominal muscles in tight. Do 8-10 repetitions for each side.
3) Rubber Band Resistance
For many people the hands can be a particularly painful area of arthritis, especially in the morning. Using a rubber band can help you to stretch those fingers out! Take a rubber band and place it around all 5 fingers and then gently stretch your fingers apart. Hold this for 5 seconds before bringing your fingers back to their starting positions. Repeat 10 times for each hand.