With your first grey hair often comes the startling realization that you are not going to live forever. Of course, you have always known that life is finite that all of us must “check out” at some stage but when we see the first signs of growing older we often get a wake-up call about our own mortality.
Getting older is inevitable. However, growing old is optional!
What do I mean by this?
Well, we all have to get older but we can take steps to stay feeling and looking young.
Although our bodies do tend to slow down as the years pass by we can take proactive steps to keep our bodies working at optimal level.
Although this may seem like trying to hold back the tide there is actually much more at work here than just making yourself feel like you are taking action.
For instance, a seasoned 60 year old marathon runner can, and is usually, fitter and in better shape than a “normal” 35 year old.
In many cases when people in middle age take up fitness they feel better than they did when they were in their 30′s.
Recent research, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, documents evidence for the anti-aging effects of exercise.
In the British study researchers found that regular moderate to vigorous cardio exercise can postpone biological aging by up to 12 years.
I’m sure all readers will agree that a 12 years reduction in biological age is well worth the effort of regular exercise.
As a natural part of the ageing process the ability to perform aerobic exercises diminishes as we get older.
Our aerobic capacity starts to decline at a rate of 5 ml/[kg*min] every 10 years or so.
This simply means that if you had a normal aerobic capacity of 40 ml/[kg*min] when you were 20 then by the time you hit 40 your aerobic capacity would be at 30 ml/[kg*min].
To get a better “feel” for what these numbers mean consider the fact that when a man’s aerobic capacity goes below 18 ml/[kg*min], and a woman’s dives below 15 ml/[kg*min], any type of physical exertion becomes very tiring and difficult to complete.
Reversing the Aging Process
It stands to reason that keeping your aerobic capacity number high will mean a better standard of interaction with life as you get older.
According to the research study fairly robust cardiovascular exercises, when performed regularly and over a period of years, can boost aerobic power in any normal person by up to 25%.
This equates to a reduction of between 10 and 12 years for most normal people!
Although many people rarely get enough exercise it is never too late to start.
It has been shown that starting a healthy cardio exercise program at any stage, even after years of inactivity, can start the biological age reversal process.
How to Turn Back the Clock
We have seen that increasing your aerobic capacity can reverse biological ageing. Now we need to determine how we can increase your aerobic capacity.
To improve aerobic capacity you must start working your heart and lungs forcing them to expand their abilities.
If you have ever trained using weights in order to tone your body or build muscle you will know that you must challenge your muscles in order for them to grow and develop the way you desire.
To get stronger you need to regularly y increase the weight you lift or expand the bodybuilding exercises you perform.
In a similar way you must increase your cardio workouts in order to continually challenge you heart and lungs.
Luckily this takes a lot less effort than weight lifting and can be much more enjoyable. You do not need to run a marathon every week to stay fit and keep the biological clock moving slowing backwards instead of racing forward.
Interval training can also be a great way of increasing your metabolism as well as increasing your aerobic capacity and this form of exercise is often the cardio of choice for many athletes.
Thinking of getting into shape for the summer but fighting a losing battle with the bulge, unable to resist the taste of those fatty, sugar-filled foods that you know you should be avoiding?
Well here is a list of some tasty alternatives to those fat fueled burger meals and high calories carb loaded snack fests.
It can be a thin line between getting the correct nutrition that you need to build and tone muscle and overeating.
Sculpting the perfect body requires exercise but the nutritional aspect of training is often misunderstood or even ignored by many would-be beach bodies.
So, before you hit the gym and start running treadmill marathons take a look at these top muscle building fat burning calorie crunchers.
The key to burning fat and building muscle while ensuring your body gets all the nutrients and calories it needs to produce energy is to keep the proper balance between protein and carbohydrates.
For those wishing to bulk up it is usually best to keep the carb count higher than protein, while for the rest of us who need to shed a few pounds to get in shape for the beach would be better increasing our protein intake and reducing our carb intake.
The following 5 foods are ideal for doing this.
Chicken is a high source of natural protein.
Chicken is a staple of almost every body builder’s diet because it is low in fat while extremely high in protein.
Chicken becomes even less fattening when it is boiled and any excess fat on it (from the water) is washed off.
A standard piece of chicken is composed of about 23% protein.
One piece of chicken breast is usually enough to give you the recommended 20g of protein with each meal.
For best results boil the chicken although this may impair the taste somewhat.
Grilled chicken breast is perfectly acceptable.
Serve with roast or steamed vegetables or salad and some ‘good’ carbohydrates like wholegrain rice. Turkey, and other poultry (except duck as it is often fattening) can be used a substitute for chicken.
Tuna is extremely low in fat as long as you buy it either fresh or tinned in spring water or brine.
Do not buy tinned tuna in sunflower oil as the oil will greatly increase the fat content. Always check the label.
Tuna, like most white oily-fish such as mackerel, cod, haddock and sardines are an excellent source of protein and health enhancing vitamins and nutrients.
Tuna and other fish is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have amazing health benefits as well as stimulating the release of the hormone leptin.
Anyone interested in nutrition and weight loss will recognise leptin as an important hormone in appetite suppression and for increasing metabolism thus helping the burning of excess calories and fat stores.
Although meat is arguably the best source of protein for muscle building there are alternatives.
Tofu is a great source of soy protein that can be just as effective for training purposes without having the same fat content as red meat for example.
Tofu (and similar alternatives) is also low in calories an, like fish, is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which also help us to burn fat.
Eggs are also a great alternative to meat for gaining your protein requirements.
The only thing you should be aware of while using eggs as a protein source is the risk of increasing your cholesterol levels.
However, this is something you should always be aware of and keep an eye on as meat and other food sources that derive from animals can greatly increase your cholesterol levels.
5. Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seed are perfect for replacing crisp, potato chips and snack bars.
They are the ideal snacking food.
As well as staving off hunger nuts and seeds kick start the fat burning process in the body that targets fat reserves rather than other snack type foods that encourage the breaking down of muscle for energy.
As a rule of thumb any type of natural nuts and seeds are a great healthy alternative to snack foods. However, you are probably best avoiding the roasted or salted variety as they are usually very high in fat. Check the label.