Can Exercise Stop the Aging Process?

The majority of the people I meet are wanting information on health and wellness AND anti-aging. Most of our clients are wanting to know how they can feel better and continue to look better. According to this article, it’s looking like exercise can be a huge help in the anti-aging department. Learn how exercise can stop the aging process in it’s tracks!

By Dr. Mercola

Almost  from the beginning of time, people have been looking for a fountain of youth,  or at the very least a magic potion that can keep you feeling and looking  forever young.

The  potions usually come in a bottle or a jar — or from plastic surgery — but as  it turns out, we’ve been searching in the wrong places.

Instead  of running to the nearest outpatient center for plastic surgery or to the store  to buy a “potion,” we should be looking no further than our running shoes and  workout clothes.

Exercise  is One of the Best Ways to Slow Aging

According  to new research published in the American Journal of Physiology,1 the best  way to stay young is to simply pick up your feet and start exercise training.  The training triggers mitochondrial biogenesis, a decline of which is common in  aging. This reverses significant age-associated declines in mitochondrial mass,  and in effect, stops aging in its tracks.

This is not  the first time researchers have linked exercise to mitochondrial changes. A 2011 review in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and  Metabolism2 points out that exercise induces changes in mitochondrial  enzyme content and activity, which can increase your cellular energy production  and in so doing decrease your risk of chronic disease.

Aside from  impacting your skeletal muscle and fat tissue, researchers noted that exercise  induces mitochondrial changes that may also benefit your liver, brain and  kidneys. The mitochondria is the “power plant” of your cells, responsible for generating  the energy that drives all metabolic functions.

Increasing  mitochondrial activity is extremely important because free radicals, which are  toxic byproducts of metabolism as well as exposures to chemicals, pollutants  and other toxins, can overwhelm your body’s defenses, leading to oxidative  damage to cells and tissues that can destroy cellular proteins, lipids and DNA;  this process often leads directly to the loss of mitochondrial function. In the  long-term, irreversible damage in the mitochondria can occur, leading to:

  • Impaired ability to utilize carbohydrates and fat for energy
  • Insulin resistance
  • Lower threshold for physical exercise
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Accelerated aging

At  least two additional studies, one in the Journal of Applied Physiology3 and the  other in Neuroscience,4 also showed  that exercise induces mitochondrial biogenesis in the brain, with potential  benefits such as reduction or  reversal of age-associated declines in cognitive function and helping to repair  brain damage following a stroke, respectively.

What’s One of the Best Anti-Aging Exercises?

Make no mistake — virtually all forms of exercise are  beneficial, provided you’re challenging yourself without overdoing it.  Overdoing it, particularly with long bouts of traditional cardio, can actually damage your mitochondria and should be  avoided. According  to fitness expert Ori  Hofmekler

“When  done chronically, it [aerobics] causes accumulated oxidative stress in the  mitochondria with increased risk of oxidative damage. And when chronic aerobic  overtraining comes along with inadequate nutrition (such as with those dieters  who obsessively run on a treadmill to burn excess calories they get from a bad diet)  the results could be even worse…

The  combined effect of bad nutrition with bad training can be extremely  destructive, and may lead over time to irreversible damage in the mitochondria  along with a total metabolic decline.”

The end result is not to shun all  forms of aerobic exercise, but to learn how to do it wisely. This brings me to  my most preferred form of anti-aging exercise, which is Peak Fitness, or  high-intensity interval training. High-intensity interval-type training boosts  your body’s natural production of human growth hormone (HGH), a synergistic,  foundational biochemical that addresses the serious muscle loss and atrophy  that typically occurs with aging.

Your production of vital human growth hormone increases by up to 771 percent during a Peak Fitness workout because you are stimulating  your fast muscle fibers, which are rarely used during most exercise programs. The higher your levels  of growth hormone, the healthier and stronger you will be. Once you hit the age  of 30, you enter what’s called “somatopause,” at which point your  levels of HGH begin to drop off quite  dramatically. This decline of HGH is part of what drives your aging process, so  maintaining your HGH levels gets increasingly important with age.

Description: Description: gh graph

The longer  you can keep your body producing higher levels of HGH, the longer you will  likely experience more robust health and strength. Some  athletes choose to inject it for this very reason, though it is a banned  substance in nearly every professional sport. I do not recommend injecting HGH  however, due to the potential side effects, the cost and, more importantly, it  is likely to cause more long-term harm than good. Fortunately, your body  produces HGH naturally when you exercise your super-fast muscle fibers during  vigorous, high-intensity exercise like Peak Fitness.

Because these exercises are so intense, you only need to do  them three times a week, and the entire workout takes just 20 minutes. Doing  them more often can actually be harmful, as your body will not have enough time  for recovery. Here’s  a summary of what a typical Peak Fitness routine might look like:

  1. Warm up for three minutes
  2. Exercise as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. You should feel like you couldn’t possibly go on another few seconds
  3. Recover for 90 seconds
  4. Repeat the high intensity exercise and recovery 7 more times

As you can  see, the entire workout is only 20 minutes. Twenty minutes! That really is a  beautiful thing. And within those 20 minutes, 75 percent of that time is warming  up, recovering or cooling down. You’re really only working out intensely  for four minutes!

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2012-12-05T13:08:01+00:00 December 5th, 2012|HEALTH + WELLNESS|

About the Author:

Margot Rutigliano Whatley is the creator and owner of Vita Vie Retreat. She is a Certified Personal Trainer of 15 years, a Certified Nutrition Coach and a natural living expert. Vita Vie Retreat is a fitness retreat and active getaway for women and men wanting to refresh body + mind. Our blog is a source for information and inspiration about health, nutrition, wellness and fitness. Enjoy!