Fountain of Youth: How Exercise Can Keep You Feeling Young

8 Min Read

Doing 30 minutes of hard and gentle exercise like cycling three times a week for two weeks can reduce insulin sensitivity by 35%, which is especially helpful for those who don’t move around much in their middle years. Keeping muscles strong by lifting weights, working with resistance bands, using weight machines, or taking yoga or Pilates classes can help combat muscle loss caused by inactivity. Strength training for 10-15 minutes twice a week using cans or other household items can also help regains muscle mass and power.

The Feldenkrais Method, which uses gentle movement exercises, can improve balance control. Using a moving platform, such as a vibrating metal plate, can help prevent osteoporosis by increasing bone mineral density and muscle strength in the hips. Regular exercise, such as playing golf, Zumba, tennis, or taking a long walk, can help protect eyesight and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Get moving in quick spurts

A study done in 2012 found that doing 30 minutes of hard and gentle exercise (like cycling) three times a week for two weeks can reduce insulin sensitivity by 35%. This is especially helpful for people in their middle years who don’t move around much. This alternative practice is great for people who find it hard to get the 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week that is usually recommended. Talk to your doctor about a training plan that will work for you.

Get strong to live a long

It’s important for your health and energy as you age to keep your muscles strong. Researchers say that sarcopenia, or muscle loss with age, is mostly caused by inactivity and not by getting older. By staying busy, you can keep your muscle mass and feel and look younger for longer. Some ways to build muscle strength are to lift free weights, work with resistance bands, use weight machines at the gym, take yoga or Pilates classes, or sign up for a strength-training class that includes weight work. You can always start something new.

Grab a can of legumes

If you have lost muscle mass and power, strength training can help you get them back at any age. For this, you can set aside 10–15 minutes twice a week. You don’t have to go to the gym or use weights; you can just use things around the house, like cans. Start with a weight you can easily lift 8–12 times, and do two sets of repeats. As you get better and it gets easier, you can add more weight to keep yourself challenged.

Follow Moshe’s method

Research has shown that you don’t have to lose your balance as you get older. Moshe Feldenkrais, an engineer and martial arts teacher, came up with the Feldenkrais Method in 1949. It is a gentle movement method that is especially good for improving balance control. A number of gentle exercises are used in this method to help people learn more about how they move, think, and feel.

Stir it up

A Belgian study found that using a moving platform can help keep people from getting osteoporosis. The platform is a big metal plate that vibrates at a high frequency. It was shown to increase bone mineral density in the hips of women ages 58–74 and improve muscle strength in just six months. The movements seem to turn on cells that build bone and turn off cells that break down bone. This can make you less likely to break a bone as you get older.

Improve eyesight with Zumba


A study done in the US with almost 4,000 people aged 43 to 86 found that regular exercise can help protect your eyesight. The study found that people who worked out three or more times a week were 70% less likely to get “wet” age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the top cause of vision loss in people over 60. It’s important to pick something you enjoy doing, because that will make it more likely that you’ll keep doing it. You could play golf, Zumba, tennis, or go for a long walk.

Stand up straight

Research done in the US and Canada shows that keeping a good stance can be good for your mental and emotional health. Standing up straight with your shoulders back and chest out can make you feel stronger and more in charge, which can help you handle stress better. People who tend to slouch feel physical and mental pain more keenly. By taking on a strong, open posture, amounts of the hormone testosterone may rise, which could make both men and women more tolerant of pain. A worry hormone called cortisol may also go down.

Walk a little faster

Researchers at Australia’s University of Sydney have found that going a little faster can make you live longer. They watched the normal walking speed of more than 1,700 men over 70 and found that those who walked faster than about 3mph (5km/h) were 1.23 times less likely to die early than those who walked an average of 2mph (3km/h). If you want to stay healthy and live longer, the message is clear: don’t waste time.

Dig, plant, prune

If you don’t like going to a gym, you could work out in your yard. A US study found that people who garden an average of 30 hours a week in May and 15 hours a week in June and July easily meet the daily exercise standards of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five times a week. Gardening is a weight-bearing activity that is good for your bones, and being outside lets you get a lot of sunlight, which can make you feel better. If you don’t have your own yard, you can still enjoy the benefits of gardening by helping a friend or neighbor with theirs.

Try tai chi

Research shows that the Chinese martial art of tai chi, which has been around for hundreds of years, may help slow down aging and make people live longer. In 2010, the American Journal of Health Promotion looked at the effects of tai chi on more than 6,400 people. They found that tai chi has many health benefits, such as better bone, heart, and lung health, better physical function and balance, less chance of falling, and better mood and quality of life.

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