It’s not just your heart and muscles that benefit when you work out. Here are eight age-amazing benefits that regular exercise delivers:
It’s your brain’s best buddy.
New research has found that working out several times a week is the best way to keep your brain in shape. Training with weights can improve memory skills and the ability to plan and organise, while aerobic workouts improve cognitive skills such as reading, learning and reasoning ability.
What’s more, working out floods your body with feel-good endorphins so that you feel completely energised, relaxed and ageless as a result, while being ‘in the zone’ helps distract you from stressful thoughts.
It’s good for your sex life
Working out is a win-win situation when it comes to sex. The increased blood flow produced by exercise reaches all parts of the body and assists arousal, while strengthening the core muscles can improve orgasms.
And of course, weight loss and achieving a toned, flexible body makes you feel much more confident when it comes to getting naked!
Your skin gets a glow on
Working out increases blood flow to your skin, resulting in an internal ‘facial’ that carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells, and removes waste products including free radicals. You should though remember to wear sunscreen when exercising outdoors: harmful UV rays don’t differentiate between sunbathers and athletes!
Your posture gets a youth-boost
Muscle loss, decreased flexibility and bone density changes will all affect your posture as you age – but you can counteract this natural process with strength training, which is proven to build muscle, strengthen your core to help keep the spine strong and upright, and improve bone health.
Meanwhile regular practice of stretching exercises such as Pilates or yoga will help prevent muscle and joint stiffness.
It kick starts your metabolism…
Metabolism slows with age, which means it’s harder to keep weight off. But you can fight back! Exercise will, of course, help you burn more calories – and if you train with weights regularly then your increased muscle mass will burn even more calories, and that continues for several hours after your gym session.
… and slows down cell ageing
Telomeres are the part of our chromosomes that control ageing. They become shorter as we age, but studies have found a link between regular exercise and their lengthening. Exercise is not a guarantee of a longer life, but it may improve the odds!
It helps banish belly fat
‘Middle aged spread’ – visceral fat that accumulates around your belly – is particularly dangerous as it increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease. But the good news is that regular cardio sessions have been found to be a great way to reduce or banish it (combined with a good diet, of course).
And so to bed…
Those who exercise regularly have been found to enjoy better sleep, including deep REM sleep, and that helps every part of your body function better (and who doesn’t look better after a good nights rest?).
Sleep is also an essential part of the process of building fitness: when your body rests after a hard workout it uses the time to adapt to the exercise load and repair, so that you come back fitter and stronger.