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Scientists Reveal #1 Exercise to Slow Aging

Written By Mazy Holiday 01 Dec 2018
Scientists Reveal #1 Exercise to Slow Aging

Ever wonder what's considered a normal part of the aging process? The truth is not many people actually enjoy exercise. Mostly because it’s kind of hard, it’s time consuming, and you usually have to shower after which limits the time frame in which you can exercise and takes up even more time, a highly prized commodity in today's world. But as an older adult or perennial (the new term replacing senior), not only is your exercise routine different than when you were 30, it is now a time when you can get together with friends or just get out of the house and leave Netflix binging to the kids. 

Alzheimer's and other dementia-related diseases are taking a backseat on a regular basis what with the improved health food choices we are making thanks to education and the organic movement, and we already kind of knew that exercise keeps you younger longer. But, what kind of exercise specifically are we talking about? Not running, I hope. Jazzercise, unlikely. Wait for it . . . 

Dancing. “In their study, they prove that 2 different types of physical activity – dancing and endurance training – both increase the brain’s area that declines over time as we age. But, only dancing has proved to be effective when it comes to changes in behavior due to the noticeable improvements in balance.” ~CuriosMindMagazine

So, even though the maker of iStand Walking Canes has a great falls prevention exercise program online you can do anywhere you have Youtube, you still need to “cut a rug” (sorry about that one) to ensure longevity of the beautiful life it took a lifetime to build. I'll wager a bet that your favorite community center or YMCA will have some activities that resemble dancing even ballroom dancing, and if they don't you should let them know about it. And if they tell you to buzz off, start your own dance crew. Once a week you and your friends can meet to "get Jiggy with it" (sorry again) all on your own, you only need music and some comfortable dancing shoes. Remember when we were young and we had a school dance? Bring that theme back to life, who knows, it might just save yours. 

What is endurance training? It's kind of what it sounds like, activities that build endurance which is the ability to do an activity for an extended amount of time. Some animals are built for speed and some for endurance, so the ones who prefer a 50 meter dash will struggle a little more than those already primed for long distances. But that is okay, because we all start out slow with something that is new and build up our strength a little at a time. A short list of endurance exercises that you can start today are, you guessed it, walking. The best walking is going to be on surfaces that vary in terrain and altitude, but let's not start off hiking mountains right away. For perennials or seniors, doing interval training like that is safer on a treadmill. So, begin you walks outside, do a little stretching first and start slowly to warm up first.  See how far you can go and go a little farther every day.  Swimming is another excellent endurance-building exercise and you don't have to be Michael Phelps to do it. Any water activity is going to build muscle and strength with low impact, so needless to say that one is highly recommended if you have access to a pool. Another that would be easy to start now is climbing stairs. Start slow, and work your way up to climbing more stairs every day, speed is not the goals here so don't worry about that. Any activity that strengthens your ankles and hips is going to improve your balance.

Speaking of balance, don’t underestimate how critical it is to keep your balance as you age in tip-top shape and reduce your risk of falls, the number one cause of injury-related death among older people (a.k.a. seniors). That is where iStand can still help you stay upright (well, I guess it’s in the name, isn’t it?.) The risk of falls can be reduced dramatically by doing iStand’s Tai Chi program, Moving for Better Balance which also lowers blood pressure and increases musculoskeletal strength. Or, you can do a low-impact program called Otago which is perfect for those with mobility issues or prone to injury. You can find those exercise programs here, TheiStandFoundation.org/exercise/ .

Wonder what's considered a normal part of the aging process?  Here's the boring part, wrinkles, kids never calling you, frequent naps and a new found love of prunes. What we will not let become our "normal" is falling and breaking a hip, getting sad because we are older, or no longer going out and enjoying life. This old world is just as tough as it was when we were kids, and look how far we've come. 

Do you know your fitness age? There are fancy new scales that can tell you based on your BMI and all those other stats we mostly ignore, but isn't it a state of mind rather than a number? If you look around your life and you don't see what you thought you would, nothing is stoping you from changing it. If on the other hand you do see the beauty and wonder you have built, than what are you waiting for? Don't fall into the 'aging and depression' trap, remember what Betty Davis said, "Aging is not for sissies", and she was right.  

Thinking of taking those ball room dancing lessons is the first step to growing that noodle of yours. If you really, really hate dancing (and some do) opt for walking, swimming, or climbing stairs.  Anything is better than nothing, right? It’s never too late, and now you have a legitimate excuse to be a dancing fool, improve your overall health and extend your life by doing just that. Don’t worry about what people say or think, wear those plaid shorts or red lipstick and just dance.