London: We are always keen to hear of the latest anti-ageing therapy, machine, pill or surgical intervention. Yet possibly the most effective therapy’ for living longer and healthier and the closest thing we have to an anti-ageing pill is regular exercise.
The International Institute for Anti-Ageing exercise expert, Professor Wayne Derman, tells us more.
There is increasing research that suggests specific forms of exercise training, in appropriate doses (duration, frequency and intensity) can slow and in some cases even reverse the ageing changes in the body. This is particularly relevant to the chronic diseases associated with increasing age.
In type 2 diabetes (when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin causing blood sugar levels to soar) strength training can improve the sufferers sensitivity to insulin, effectively helping to reverse the disease.
Exercise enhances blood flow to the brain improving cognitive processing, reasoning and memory, as well as enhancing creativity. It is also profoundly antidepressant.
Exercise is such a good anti-ageing intervention because it is effective at various levels in the biological system. Even simple exercises such as walking can have a profound effect on ones quality of life as the years add on. Because walking can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that help to keep urine in the bladder, simply walking for 30 minutes a day can reduce a womans risk of urinary incontinence by up to 25%.
The key of course, is how much we should exercise for optimal effects and what exercises should we be doing? New guidelines recommend:
moderately intense cardio-respiratory activity (eg. brisk walking) 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Moderately intense means anything that creates a sweat and raises the heart rate.
vigorously intense cardio-respiratory activity (eg. jogging) 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week. Vigorously intense means you cant carry on a conversation while exercising.
Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week. These can be done at home with an elasticised resistance band an inexpensive and highly effective alternative to conventional weight and exercise equipment and ideal for strength training.
It is always important to remember that if you’ve been sedentary for a long time, are overweight, have a high risk of coronary heart disease or some other chronic health problem, see your doctor for a medical evaluation before beginning a physical activity programme.