No amount of physical activity can stop the biological aging process, but an anti-aging exercise program can help.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine Guidelines, regular exercise can minimize the physiological effects of a sedentary lifestyle and therefore increase active life expectancy by limiting the development and progression of chronic diseases and disabling conditions.
What should an anti-aging exercise program involve?
An anti-aging exercise program should involve general activities that focus on:
Weight lifting machines are perfect for introducing your body to exercise, especially since there is significantly lower risk of falling or injury. You can include free weights and elastic bands once you’re comfortable with machines.
A 68-year-old friend of mine recently became certified as a TRX instructor, and this is certainly more challenging, but completely doable, even for senior exercisers.
You can use treadmills to slow aging, and in the process build both cardiovascular fitness and balance, since a rail is there to help if you need it. Elliptical trainers and bicycles are also good for cardiovascular endurance, anda recumbent bicycle is a great option for beginners.
Rather than simply riding a bicycle at a set pace, you should go out of your way to include a few hard intervals that involve hard breathing and burning muscles. This will help boost the slowing metabolism.
Bone grows stronger in response to loading and impact. While you might find impact-sprinting on a treadmill difficult, loading of the bones and spinning along the long vertical axis is a very good idea, and you can achieve this with exercises such as squats, overhead presses, chest presses, or lunges.
While many yoga classes require a degree of balance that can be difficult for seniors, a beginners yoga class is the perfect solution for improving flexibility. In addition, you can include a full body stretch routine after exercise, when the muscles and joints are more warm and pliable.
An anti-aging exercise program
For an anti-aging exercise program that addresses the above activities, I’d recommend starting with the following routine, 3-4 times per week:
- Warm up for 10 minutes on a recumbent bicycle, alternating 2 minutes of easy pedalling with 2 minutes of hard pedalling.
- Perform a full-body stretch, including flexibility moves for the upper and lower body such as arm circles, leg circles, toe touches, reaching for the sky, and torso twists.
- Do a full body circuit on exercise machines that consists of 10-12 repetitions 2-3 times of chest press, seated row, shoulder press, pulldown, leg press, leg extension and leg curl.
- Finish with abdominal bracing on the ground, which simply involves lying on the ground with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor, then pressing the low back down and tightening the abs, holding for 5-10 seconds, releasing, and then repeating 10-12 times. This does not involve low back bending and extending, and can build abdominal strength while being easier on the spine.
Remember, it’s never too late to start exercising, and the effects to slow aging are dramatic!
- Nelson ME, Rejeski WJ, Blair SN, et al. Physical activity and public health in older adults: recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2007;116(9):1094-105