There are few things that make a person appear older than they are than reduced muscle mass. This results in trembling and falls. Skin sags and droops in our arms and even on our face. This is due to a process called sarcopenia which involves the death of neurons that control the fibers of muscles. These neurons die due to lack of use. Thus, the best way to avoid sarcopenia or to reverse it is via exercise. The same holds true for your mind. Another noticeable sign of aging is mental slowing; but, exercising your brain can keep it strong for years to come. Let's discuss physical and mental exercises that can help you stay youthful. You don't have to bulk up at the gym to keep from looking older. You just need about half an hour of moderate exercise, five days per week. It can be something as simple as taking a fast-paced walk (remember this is for exercise, not leisure). Studies have shown that such exercise increases life expectancy by as much as 4 years. To tighten up arm and leg muscles, try curling light weights, and doing exercises like squats or lunges. If you've already begun to experience muscle loss, start slowly so you don't hurt yourself or fall while exercising. If you are younger and are just trying to stay ahead of the game, remember that working the hip flexor is a key to maintaining independence later in life. Lunges are the best way to keep this muscle strong. Being able to walk is a major factor in not ending up in a nursing home when you are older. Exercising doesn't just help you to tone up, it also releases collagen. Collagen can help your body to avoid and reduce wrinkles, so a little exercise is also great for your skin. Just be careful not to overdo it as you get older. Bulk up too much and you can have saggy skin later on. The mental effects of aging can be even more debilitating. Personal relationships are a key, since isolation often leads to a reduction in use of mental capacities. Keep your circle of friends wide! Also, as you get older, challenge yourself. Try taking up a new hobby or learning a new language. Endeavors like this will keep your mind creating new pathways. Physical exercise will also help maintain mental abilities by increasing blood flow. More blood in the brain means less protein build up, which has been linked to Alzheimer's disease. An additional benefit of physical and mental exercise is stress reduction. Stress can actually age cells prematurely by shortening the length of the telomeres which is necessary for DNA replication. Less stress also means better sleep which is another vital anti-aging process. This is just one more way that exercise fights aging. Everyone ages, but some do so more gracefully than others. Incorporating a regular exercise program into your life can be one way to fight the effects of aging and look your very best.
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