keeps you young

Many people have slowly and gradually accepted that the sole purpose of exercise is not just to be slim and fit well into your clothes. Research confirms that running or any other form of exercise also brings about many other positive changes to our mental, emotional and physical health. People often comment on how fit an older person is and does not “look” his/her age. Their secret to looking and feeling younger is the fact that they have kept themselves fit through regular exercise and healthy diet.

We are now more aware of the benefits of exercise but not enough people are adopting this lifestyle. If you are looking for some inspiration, let’s read how running can keep you young from the body, mind and the heart!

  1. Running actually slows down the aging of cells

Our chromosomes have protective caps at the end known as telomeres. They keep the chromosomes intact and prevent their fraying and damage. Telomeres are often considered a mark of age as they get shorter as we age. Too short telomeres are unable to protect our chromosomes and cause the cells to stop functioning and eventually die. A study conducted by Professor Larry Tucker in Brigham proves that running or other forms of exercise can protect our telomeres and delay or prevent cellular aging. The study revealed that those with sedentary lifestyles had the shortest telomeres.

  1. It strengthens the brain

Numerous studies point towards the fact that exercise and running protects people from memory decline, cell ageing and diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Regular exercise results in the growth of brain cells, increased blood flow and reduction in stress hormones such as cortisol. A research conducted by neuroscientists at Cambridge University shows that running boosts the grey matter; the hippocampus in our brains which is responsible for memory retention. Moreover, running can also improve depression symptoms greatly by promoting new cell growth.

The Cambridge researchers joined forces with US National Institute on Ageing in Maryland by conducting a study on two sets of mice. One set was exposed to running everyday whereas the other was not. These mice were made to stand in front of a computer screen and nudge the small boxes on the screen. If they nudged the left box, they got a treat and if the right box then nothing. The mice exposed to exercise scored far better on this test even when the boxes got smaller and closer together! Brain tissue taken from the mice pointed to more grey matter being produced in the running mice.

  1. It keeps the heart pumping

The heart is also a muscle along with being an organ, which like other muscles in our body gets stronger with exercise. Running or other forms of exercise encourage the arteries in the heart to dilate more. It also encourages the sympathetic nervous system to be less reactive. Regular exercise will lower your blood pressure, reduce “bad” cholesterol, and boost “good” cholesterol. Moreover, being overweight puts undue pressure on your body and heart; hence regular exercise will help you shed those extra calories.

A study in the American Journal of Medicine by Dr. Simon linked even walking or gardening once a week to lesser heart attacks, strokes and generally a better quality of life.

  1. Exercise keeps you happier

Any physical exercise releases hormones that are known as “happy” hormones, namely endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone. These hormones act like a natural pain killer and can reduce discomfort, lift up mood and even enhance self-esteem.

Exercise also releases more energy, which results in getting more work done during the day which gives you a feeling of achievement that of course will make you happier. Exercise can no doubt make you look good and hence, be more confident. Running can give you instant results but even if you don’t see instant changes, your exercise routine will immediately boost your confidence, and make you feel stronger. The Journal of Happiness confirms that even 10 minutes of daily exercise can play a huge part in uplifting your mood.

  1. Exercise can keep your skin young and fresh

The skins of people who exercise regularly often look more radiant. Maybe it is the internal happiness or self-confidence beaming off their faces but there are other reasons to this glow also.

A dermatologist in Kansas City says that working out is nothing short of a mini facial. It causes us to sweat which takes out the dirt and oil trapped in our skin and our pores to dilate. Studies even say that regular exercise after a few years can cause your stature to increase! This news is too good to be true for short people! Exercise also boosts and strengthens our immune system which means less falling sick with the changing seasons. The result is that you are not worn down by illnesses and fatigue and can look fresher. Another reason for that skin glow is associated with your sleep. Exercise makes us sleep more peacefully due to which we can say bye, bye to those dark circles plaguing our eyes since an eternity!

  1. Relieves mental and physical stress

Stress is a daily part of one’s life due to the competitive, congested and polluted world that we live in. It is not possible to eliminate the stress that comes with the modern lifestyle. However, one can definitely manage this stress through exercise. The best technique recommended by physicians of Anxiety and Depression Association of America, to manage stress is nothing but exercise.

Exercise releases endorphins that act as natural painkillers for the body and help us sleep well and in turn reduces our stress and anxiety. Research also says that exercise stabilizes moods and releases overall tension.

There are no two ways about the fact that exercise is something each one of us should incorporate in our daily lives. However, it is not a magic pill that will suddenly take away all our health problems. It is going to be a slow and gradual process so there’s no better time than starting now.

Author's Bio: 

Kathy Mitchell is a writer and avid researcher on the subject of beauty, nutrition and general wellness. She likes to go out with her friends, travel, swim and practice yoga.