You move, You Lose

Whether you’re in your 30s, 40s or older, it’s never too late to get fit and enjoy the youth boosting benefits of exercise

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Whether you’re in your 30s, 40s or older, it’s never too late to get fit and enjoy the youth boosting benefits of exercise
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Now is the time to take control of your fitness. Whether you are juggling your career and family, or enjoying having more time on your hands, you’ll reap huge benefits from focusing on your own well-being.

After all, by incorporating various types of exercise into your life, you can lose weight, build muscle, improve bone density and skin tone, and rebalance your hormones and energy, which all will help slow down the ageing process and create a fitter, more energetic you.

“By exercising, you can trick your body into behaving younger,” says beauty expert Tracey McAlpine from Fighting Fifty.

“There’s an exciting correlation between exercising and slowing the ageing process at a cellular level. When we exercise, our brains naturally release human growth hormone (HGH), which normally decreases with age. But by exercising we can stimulate its production, helping us to look and feel younger.

“Aerobic exercise has also been shown to lengthen the life of telomeres, the end ‘caps’ to your DNA,” says Tracey. “When they shorten, your cells age faster. By lengthening them and keeping cells healthy, they perform better.” While you can’t stop the clock, research shows that you can slow its ticking. Just one hour a day of exercise for 12 weeks can give you the cardiovascular and metabolic capabilities of women 16 years younger. Don’t know where to start? We’ve got eight anti-ageing ways to move your body.

Dance For Bone Health – And Big Smiles!

Like all aerobic exercise, dancing helps strengthen your heart and bones as well as reducing blood pressure. It’s also a really enjoyable way of doing some body-weight resistance training, which strengthens and defines muscles.

The repetitive movements, such as jumping or stamping your feet, force the muscle fibres in your legs to break down, and then, as you recover, adapt and come back stronger.

Because it’s such a fun and sociable form of exercise, it’s likely to reduce stress too.

A recent survey showed that 95 per cent of dancers agreed it helped them relax. Zumba, Latin dance and BodyJam, a fusion of the latest dance styles, are all great ways of getting involved via group classes.

Perk Up With Weights Picking up a dumbbell can help reduce muscle loss and metabolic sluggishness that occurs naturally. Building or maintaining muscle helps you burn through more calories, so while your metabolism does slow down as you age, having more muscle helps prevent middle-age spread from developing.

Lunges are brilliant for building your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calf muscles. Holding weights, stand straight and take a big step forward. Imagine your feet are on train tracks rather than a tightrope. Bend your back knee until it brushes the floor, then return back to starting position. Repeat 10 times on each side, building up to two to three sets.

Another great anti-ageing resistance exercise you can try is chest presses. These build muscle around your breasts, which can help support them and keep them looking perky. Lie on a bench on your back, holding a dumbbell in each hand, with elbows bent so the weights are by your shoulders. Push the dumbbells up until they meet at the top, then bring them down again.

Run For Heart Health “There’s evidence to show that running is the perfect high-impact exercise, whatever your age,” says Tracey.

“The health benefits of running increase because it can improve muscle strength and bone density, coordination and a sense of well-being. Contrary to popular belief, it’s been proven that running doesn’t cause arthritis and may in fact help to prevent it by increasing the fluid in the knee joints.”

Before you grab your trainers and take off, however, consider starting off slowly first.

Research shows that light and moderate jogging is more beneficial for you than strenuous jogging in the long-term.