Time takes toll on our physique. While aging seems inevitable, the rate of physical deterioration which is seen as aging can be slowed down. This is the premise of my book, Forever Young Forever Fit. We age differently from each other. As young children, everyone looks almost similar, and have similar physiological characteristics. As we get to middle age and beyond, we start to look physically different from each other: some are fit, while others suffer more symptoms of aging. While the extent of aging is visibly obvious, medical professional have also identified “biomarkers” of aging.
These are: Muscle Mass & Strength Sarcopenia is a loss of muscle mass with aging. It has nothing to do with genetic capacity. It is caused by lack of use of the muscles. Muscle strength and mass is also related to health of the nervous system. The result of muscle loss is loss of balance, and loss of mobility. Sedentary lifestyle increases risk of muscle loss.
Strength training, i.e. lifting, pushing, pulling type of exercises, is necessary to stimulate growth of new muscle tissue. People at any age will benefit from increased muscle mass doing strength training. However it is important to start as early as possible, since fast-twitch muscles (the muscles involved in movement) are known to deteriorate irreversibly with age.
Bone density Loss of bone is related to loss of mobility and osteoporosis. Strength training stresses the bone, stimulating bone to strengthen. Building bone strength when young helps us build up reserves.
Body Composition Body fat increase is associated with aging. While not all fat in the body is harmful, accumulating excess fat is a sign that your diet is imbalanced. This is especially significant because of our sedentary lifestyle. Visceral fat — fat that surrounds the organs in the abdomen — or belly fat is to be taken seriously. Accumulation of visceral fat is an indication of underlying serious health problems like metabolic disorder (type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease). While diet is an important factor in attaining optimum body composition, strength training will work to compensate for poor diet (with limits).
Blood lipid profile Blood lipid profile is connected with metabolic health or metabolic disorder. Good nutrition will automatically lead to healthy blood profile. There is a bit of controversy over what is healthy rate of cholesterol in the blood. Therefore I believe this point still needs more study.
In any case, exercise and diet is the best action to take. Referring to the publication above, I would advice against taking Statins. Read Also:
Hemodynamics Healthy heart function and blood pressure is related to healthy lifestyle. Strength training plus healthy diet is also the solution to maintaining healthy state of the heart and blood vessels. One reason is that intense muscle activity opens the blood vessels in the muscles. The important thing to remember that the best thing we can do for healthy heart is to start strength training exercises young, and not wait till pathological symptoms appear. Glucose control An intense workout drains glucose from the blood. Certainly strength training exercise prevents metabolic disorder caused by poor diet. Aerobic capacity How much oxygen you can consume or measured as VO2 max. This is related to metabolic health. Strength and intensive training improves aerobic capacity. Gene expression This is an indication on how well the cells in the body regenerate. Strength training has been shown to revert expression of genes to a youthful level. This can be explained by the increase of growth hormone production with strength training. Growth hormones influences regeneration of cells in the body overall. Telomere length Telomeres are genes at the end of chromosomes that reduce in size with age.
Strength trainers maintain longer telomeres than their sedentary counterparts. Important point to note that shortened telomeres are also see in people who do “cardio” exercises or those who do excessive strength training. Telomere lengths reduce when we encounter stress. Any stressful situation, even if it were exercise will result in aging.
What is “Health”?
According to WHO,
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Health is basically the ability to function in autonomously in our physical environment and enjoy life. The key is to start young. Aging does not happen from one day to the next.i.e. we do not wake up one morning and suddenly find ourselves old. Aging happens while we are young.
Adopting healthy lifestyle is an insurance against unnecessary accelerated aging.