Exercise-junkies have long touted the line that it is never too late to change your life. The good news is that now we know this is true. A study has found that the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle can be reversed with only two years of regularly exercising in middle age.
Scientists found that the risks of heart failure posed by a sedentary youth were fully reversed after two years of aerobic exercise, four or five times a week. If there has ever been an incentive to get off the sofa in your 40s, this is it. But this isn’t the only reason why you should be regularly exercising in your middle years.
THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISING IN MIDDLE AGE
EXERCISE GIVES YOU MORE ENERGY
Despite what you might think, regular exercise actually gives you more energy. Exercising stimulates mitochondria production, which leads to increased energy levels. In your middle age, when energy levels might be dipping after your 20s and 30s, regular exercise might be just what you need to give them a boost again.
Many people think that they will feel tired after going to the gym. The opposite is actually the case. I like to go to the gym in the morning as I feel calm and have a steady flow of energy throughout the day.
EXERCISE HELPS YOU DESTRESS
The only hormone level that does not drop as we enter middle age is our cortisol levels. Unfortunately, this is one hormone we don’t want high levels of. It is the stress hormone and leads to increased belly fat and weight gain.
It is one of the main hormones released by the adrenal gland in response to stress. An exercise plan that has you completing regular aerobic exercise reduces cortisol levels, and therefore, leaves you feeling great.
As I mentioned above, I prefer to do my exercise sessions early on in the day so that I am relaxed and can deal with work, and life in general, with a better attitude.
EXERCISE IS AN INVESTMENT IN YOUR FUTURE QUALITY OF LIFE
Researchers in the US found that adults who were aerobically fit in their 40s and 50s typically postponed the onset of chronic illnesses later in their lives.
In the study, those who were not aerobically fit in middle age typically developed chronic illnesses in the final 10 or 20 years of their lives. Those who exercised and enjoyed high fitness levels only developed chronic illnesses in the final five years of their lives.
That might not sound so great, but the fact remains, keeping fit will give you a better quality of life, and you will also be looking a lot better as you age.
YOUR SKIN LOVES EXERCISE
Exercise dilates the blood vessels and the pores, allowing you to sweat out all the trapped oil and grime and leaving you with clean, healthy skin. This is another indirect way exercise helps you to look (and feel) younger.
AVOID THE MIDDLE-AGED SWING
Everyone should embrace regular exercise when they reach middle age but some people get trapped in a middle-aged pendulum swing. They start exercising and cleaning up their diet, only to fall back into their usual bad habits shortly afterwards, then trying to clean up their lifestyle again several months later.
Some men continue like this for years, never fully realising all the benefits of regular exercise because they are stuck in this destructive cycle.
Avoid this by taking up an athletic activity you enjoy. Tennis, running or swimming are enjoyable ways of doing exercise. If you enjoy it, then you are much more likely to make it a habit.
It shouldn’t just be about making the occasional visit to the gym or swimming a few lengths of the pool every now and again. It is about building healthy habits in your middle age that will put you in good stead later in life. Rather than a temporary situation, it is about lifestyle change.
In my experience, the more I exercised, the more I found I want to exercise because of the great feeling I get afterwards. Furthermore, once you get into a routine, whether that be gym or swimming, you want to eat better, you look better and you realise that those good vibes flow into all areas of your life.