What Science Says About Exercise and Staying Young

What Science Says About Exercise and Staying Young

There’s a great article out in the New York Times at the moment highlighting some new research on the effects of regular exercise on aspects of aging. Specifically, they share findings on the effects of regular exercise on immune system function and muscle health.Exercise for Staying Young

Inspiration

While no one can predict the future, research suggests that there are things we can do now to increase our chances of being more physically healthy as we age. As I approach middle age, this is very much of interest to me. I’m inspired by people like this man, who finished the ~2,190 mile thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail last fall at 82 years old. Currently he holds the record for the oldest person to complete the hike. The findings of these researchers (Pollock et al., 2015) suggest that at least one part of what is important for being able to move later in life is to keep moving earlier in life.

Supportive Habits

Time constraints and commitments can make it feel challenging to make movement a priority. Habits that help me keep moving include:

  • Seeking out other people who want to move too!
    Movement activities are often more fun with company. 🙂
  • Fitting in smaller activities, like just taking a walk around the block, when I really don’t have time for more than that.
  • Planning adventures
    I’m more motivated to keep moving now when I know that I have an event or trip coming up
  • Generally doing things that feel good in my body
    I’m more motivated to keep moving when I feel good. Habits that support feeling good to me include: eating well, getting enough sleep, maintaining a regular yoga practice, and getting massage.

Research suggests that moving now is important for being able to move later. If you’ve been feeling a bit stuck on how to support a movement habit, consider starting with a yoga class or a massage to work out the heavy feelings of winter. Then take a look at where some movement might fit in your day now. Your older self will thank you for it later!