What Ages You – Use It Or Lose It

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There are many things that we do to our bodies that age them. Spending too much time in the sun without sunscreen is particularly bad for the skin. Eating processed foods and a generally poor diet is a recipe for health problems later in life. Smoking is a definite no no. However, the irony is that not doing some things can age you too.

The secret to anti-aging is knowing what to do and what not to do.

This article will cover some of the things you should strive to do to keep aging at bay.

Let’s start with an analogy :

if you don’t drive your car for a couple of weeks, you might find that the battery is flat the next time you turn the ignition key. Even if the battery is full of vim and vigor, it still might take the engine a few turns before it fires into life. Then the car runs a bit sluggishly for the first few miles.

The same applies to our bodies. If you don’t use a part of the body, it withers and eventually stops working.

This is known as disuse atrophy.

The body knows what parts of the body aren’t active and will redirect nutrients and energy from that part of the body to other parts that it deems more worthy. There is even a name for the research that goes into disuse atrophy – it’s called inactivity research.

slow aging - dance
Use your body…

Office Worker’s Be Warned

A new report came out late last year claiming that people that spend long periods of time sitting down have a shorter lifespan than people that don’t. The report was focused on diabetes risks and claimed that people that spent long periods of time sitting down doubled their risks of getting diabetes and heart disease. And even if you exercise after a long period of sitting, the report claims you are still at risk.

For me, someone that spends long hours in front of a computer but tries to get regular exercise, that is quite a disturbing thought.
The thinking goes like so : sitting is a low energy activity which makes our bodies think we are in energy storage mode. In this “mode”, the body is more resistant to insulin. Insulin converts glucose (liquid energy) in the bloodstream into usable energy for the body and consequently reduces the blood sugar level. In storage mode this doesn’t happen and the body is more likely to get heart disease and diabetes, but also the excess glucose is turned into fat making the person more likely to be overweight.

The take away is clear, try to spend less time sitting down. If you work in an office and most of your day is spent sitting down at a desk, try to get up every 40 minutes to an hour and “walk around a bit”. You can even tell the boss that it’s good for productivity 😉 (cite the report as evidence).

A growing line of treadmill work desks are being created too but I still find it hard to believe anyone could work effectively while walking. Maybe this will be the future of the office workplace.

Other Things You Lose

The brain and brain function is another thing that will diminish if it isn’t exercised. This is probably more relevant to older people but even stay at home moms would fit into this category.

slow aging - Crossword
Use your brain…

Mentally exercise your brain to keep it healthy.

  • If you like word games like crosswords then get into a habit of doing one a day. Do number games like Sudoku. Read books rather than watch television.
  • Get creative and make things with your hands. Woodwork projects, home diy projects, gardening and dancing are all hobbies that will challenge you mentally and physically.
  • Salsa and Latin American dancing is a very popular way to exercise for both the body and mind. In fact any form of dancing that involves complicated (or not so complicated) steps keeps the brain ticking over and the limbs…limber.

           I personally love ZUMBA!

  • Exercise also keeps your heart healthy, less susceptible to disease and age slower. Aerobic exercise is actually good for the heart within reason. Again, this is dependent on your age so see your doctor if you are planning to take up a physical exercise routine.
  • Sex is also something that benefits the body as a whole – it’s a form of exercise for a start :). However the function of the sex organs will also diminish if not used so aim to keep a healthy interest in sex to stay healthy.
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