Regular exercise is essential if you want to slow down the clock. And scientists have now discovered that doing at least three hours of vigorous exercise a week can make you biologically nine years younger.
A study at King’s College, London, looked at 1.200 pairs of non-identical and identical twins. Researchers analyses the twins’ telomeres – ‘caps’ at the end of chromosomes that protect them from damage – which shorten with age. Those who exercised regularly had longer telomeres and this had significant health and anti-ageing effects.Aerobic exercise keeps the heart, lungs and circulation healthy, while regular resistance work keeps your bones strong and helps your muscles and joints stay young and flexible. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking and running, are especially beneficial because they stress the bones, increasing the rate at which they regenerate.
Regular exercise also helps prevent age-related weight gain. Research shows that after the age of 20 the lack of exercise results in one pound of muscle loss every two years. Resistance work will help you retain your lean muscle mass. Ideally, you should aim to do 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise at least three times a week. Exercise can help age-erase your looks too. It feeds your skin with oxygen and the nutrients needed for collagen production. Studies show women who workout regularly have firmer skin than non-exercisers.
Finally, remember to balance vigorous exercise with a more soothing mind and body session, such as yoga, to reduce stress levels and flood your body with anti-ageing hormones. Scientists at Ohio State University found women who regularly practice yoga had lower inflammation markers in their blood.