There is a lot of exciting new scientific evidence on the anti-aging effects of exercise. Researchers are looking at what they call physiological age as opposed to biological age, and what they are finding is that exercise can often lower your physiological age more than 20 years below your biological age. This means that a 70 year old could actually be functioning at the level of a health 50 year old or better. It also means that the physical decline associated with aging is very much preventable.
I recently read a great book titled “Younger Next Year” by Henry Lodge M.D., and Chris Crowley. There is even a special edition of the book wriiten specifically for women. Dr. Lodge presents the scientific evidence regarding the anti-aging effects of exercise. Chris Crowley is a patient of Dr. Lodge who reversed his physiological age by over 20 years and relates how it affected his life.
So what does it really take to turn back the clock? In a word “consistency”. Exercising once in while, or just engaging in some physical activity on the weekends doesn’t cut it. Exercise needs to become an integral part of your life. That said, you don’t have to live in a gym. In their book “Younger Next Year” Lodge and Carmichael advocate exercising 5-6 days a week. Actually the newest information about exercise tells us we can do much less than that and get even more benefit. The key is to perform high intensity exercise with plenty of recovery time in between. What we now know is that spending 30-45 minutes on a treadmill is not nearly as beneficial as high intensity weight training or aerobic interval training for only 15-20 minutes. If you want to know more about high intensity weight training I highly recommend The Power of 10 by Adam Zickerman and Body by Science by Doug McGuff M.D. For high intensity aerobic training I recommend the Sprint 8 or Peak 8 exercises recommended by Phil Campbell in his book Ready, Set, Go. My new favorite book on training and exercise is “Beyond Training” by Ben Greenfield. Ben has a great website full of resources for anyone interested in optimizing human performance. You don’t have to be a super athlete, you just need to get started and commit to making exercise part of your life. Actually you should think of it as saving your life. Exercise not only increases your quality of life, it lowers blood pressure, helps prevent and turn around heart disease, diabetes, osteoprosis, and arthritis. There is also evidence it may prevent certain types of cancer.
Before beginning an exercise program, and even if you already exercise regularly, consider adding Foundation Training to your exercise routine. Foundation Training will correct faulty movement patterns and reduce the likelihood of getting injured while exercising. These ar my favorite exercises for back pain, posture, and core and back sterngthening. I would recommend these exercises for at least 2-4 weeks before beginning a regular exercise program. If you already exercise consistently, use these exercises before and after your regular routine. They only take a few minutes, and you will really notice a difference in how effective your regular exercises become. See my post on Foundation Training.
I’ve always been physically active, but did not begin a regular exercise program until April of 2011. After 6 months I had lost over 15 pounds, 4 inches around my waist, and dropped from 25% body fat to below 16% body fat. I sleep better at night and have lots more energy during the day. One thing I didn’t expect was that my mood changed for the better. I find I am more optomistic and excited about life again, just like when I was younger. I had been exercising 5-6 days a week, but once I discovered high intensity exercise I only need to exercise twice a week for 20 minutes. On that schedule I lost another 10 lbs, 3 more inches around my waist, and feel better than when I was working out for a hour 5 times a week. I’m amazed at how effective these high intensity protocols are!
Please ask for a personalized consultation regarding exercise if you are interested, or just get one of these books and get started on turning back the clock.