WE MIGHT have that uncle or aunt who swears by their daily exercise routine. It may be walking, dance, yoga, lifting weights, gardening or even mahjong. I don’t know about you, but I envy them.
We know a lot of people who have maintained good health up to an advanced age, and they seem like the people who have more vigor than most of us younger folks. Exercise, when done consistently over a long time, has ageing mitigating effects. What are the long-term benefits of exercise?
On the skeletal system
Exercise leads to an increase in the thickness as well as the density of bone. This is especially important for women and for elderly individuals in case of a fall. Impact exercises such as jumping, skipping and lifting weights all help.
On the muscular system
Exercise helps us retain muscle mass and increase muscle tone. Muscle mass and tone decrease as we age hence, the importance of keeping as much of it as possible. Lifting weights, body weight exercises all help.
On the endocrine system
Strength training increases the production of Human Growth Hormone and testosterone. For those struggling with metabolic issues like high blood sugar and diabetes, exercise forces the body to utilize the blood sugar and converts it into energy for movement and exercise. The more glucose and glycogen is utilized, the more your body increases its insulin sensitivity.
On the cardiovascular system
Our heart and blood vessels transport oxygen and essential nutrients to different parts of the body. Exercise makes our cardiovascular system more efficient by increasing the heart’s ability to pump blood by increasing its stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped in each heart beat) and by decreasing the resistance of blood in the blood vessels thereby decreasing blood pressure.
What are we waiting for? It’s also never too late to get started. Any exercise is better than none at all, provided you prioritize your safety. As always, consult your physician before embarking on an exercise program.