Use it or lose it.
This adage is applied to many aspects of life: talent, memory, skills and even relationships. It’s almost a given with regard to your body, but what if exercise does more than just normalize your aging process? What if it could actually slow it down?
Enter epigenetics, the study of gene expression. According to health gurus like Mark Sisson, our diet, exercise regimen and even our thoughts tell our genes what to do. Can we change the DNA we’re born with? No. But can we tell our cells that may be predisposed to hereditary cancer to “turn off”? According to epigenetics, the answer is yes.
“Every time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. When the telomeres get too short, the cell can no longer divide. Scientists believe that aging occurs as more and more cells reach the end of their telomeres and die -- muscles weaken, skin wrinkles, eyesight and hearing fade, organs fail, and thinking clouds.”
Sure enough, in studies of identical twins, the body cells of the twin who leads an active lifestyle are revealed to be younger under a microscope. Because identical twins have identical genetic makeup, the theory of epigenetics is supported.
What kind of exercise is best? Most nutritionists and health experts report that aerobic exercise is most effective—literally meaning that which “uses oxygen.” In other words, getting your heart rate up is the best indicator that you’re exercising aerobically. Not a fan of treadmills, stationary bicycles or step classes? No problem—weight-lifting does the trick, too.
Lastly, the area of your brain known as the hippocampus shrinks with age, leading to memory loss and even dementia. Exercise has been shown to maintain or even grow the size of the hippocampus, which may be the biggest benefit of all.
Looking to soothe the tired, achy muscles that so often accompany strenuous exercise? We have two words for you: spa bath. Check out our luxurious bath options and schedule one as a Valentine’s Day gift to yourself!