We all want to be that grandma who can still show up the teenagers skateboarding as a septuagenarian, but a lot of the habits that keep you youthful have to start while you’re, well, youthful.
One of the best habits for staying youthful is to get regular exercise–and the younger you start it, the better.
So how does exercise keep you younger?
5 Ways Exercise Keeps You Younger:
- Longer telomeres. Biologically, a large part of aging has to do with your telomeres, which protect your DNA. Every time your body replaces cells, your telomeres shrink slightly. A 2014 study showed the telomeres of people who got regular exercise had telomeres up to 8 years younger.
- Stronger muscles. Under a microscope, the muscles of older adults who are physically active can appear almost identical to the muscles of people in their 20s, making their muscles up to 30 years younger than than those of their inactive counterparts.
- Faster reaction time. We lose a lot of our coordination as we age, and our response time slows down as our muscles and mind-body connections wear down. Exercise can’t keep you from needing reading glasses, but it can give your nervous system a serious firewall against premature aging.
- Better memory. Aerobic exercise has been shown by researchers to increase the size of your hippocampus, the part of your brain that controls memory storage.
- Higher metabolism. Exercise, especially weight training, raises your metabolism, which keeps you thinner and makes you more energetic.
So how can your family cash in on these benefits? Exercise for adults should involve 150-200 minutes of muscle-strengthening, heart-rate-increasing physical activities, but exercise for kids really just means helping them play in ways that get them moving. Take them to parks, indoor playgrounds, or other kids indoor play places. Get those healthy habits started while they’re young!