We’ve all fallen victim to late-night infomercials selling some magical cream that keeps you looking great into old age. Here’s a secret about the fountain of youth – it doesn’t come in any box or bottle. Maintaining a healthy body into your fifties, sixties, and beyond is only achieved by going back to the basics: staying active and eating well.
Whether you’re already experiencing some pain that you’ve chalked up to simply getting older, or you’re trying to be proactive about the aging process, physical activity is the closest thing we can get to a cure-all for the negative side effects of aging. Getting your body moving for at least 30 minutes a day can have a profound impact. Light cardio such as swimming or walking combined with light resistance training can improve your health, both inside and out.
There are hundreds of studies that show regular physical activity to be beneficial in decreasing your risk of illness associated with aging, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and various types of cancer. Remember, your body will only perform to the limits you set on it. So, if you’re constantly sedentary, your body won’t know to exert extra effort when you do things like pick up your grandkids or take the dog for a walk. Rather, these activities will cause undue stress on your muscles and bones, limiting your mobility. Incorporating physical activity into your life regularly will make these daily activities seem like a piece of cake!
Taking a morning stroll through your neighborhood or any other outdoor activity can also increase your intake of vitamin D, which your body needs to absorb calcium. Proper absorption of nutrients such as calcium can help combat ailments such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
Getting stronger not only makes your body more durable, it gives you a wealth of energy and improves your quality of life. A few benefits not often attributed to exercise are those that impact your mental health through improved mood, sex drive, quality of sleep, and self-empowerment. There’s a sense of pride and confidence that comes along with being able to climb stairs without getting winded or carrying your shopping bags from the car without stopping for a rest.
Regular exercise is beneficial to people of any age, but these benefits are particularly important to those of us who have already surpassed our twenties and thirties. Getting older shouldn’t mean you’re less capable of taking care of yourself. Today, make the effort to take a short stroll around the block or clean out your garage. Pave your own path to the fountain of youth!
Kristina Duran is a freelance writer, English major, and supermom to her nine-year-old little girl