Which Workouts Keep the Body Young?
Christine Chen, Certified Yoga Teacher and Author | My Body
It doesn’t take much to feel younger: drive less and walk more or take the stairs rather than the elevator. Regular exercise keeps our brains young, according to a recent study from Harvard. Add to that, recent research in The Journal Physiology, which suggests that older, active adults can have physical health that is closer to young adults rather than their own age group.
However, pounding your body and getting hurt is not healthy. Try these activities, which are low in impact, but high on health benefits, for any age.
Resist The Water
Using your muscles, physical coordination, and full lung capacity to propel your body through water, swimming is an aerobic exercise, which pumps your heart and lungs. As you work to move against water resistance, you build muscles with little shock to your joints and an overall low impact on your body.
Start with lessons; you can find some through U.S. Masters Swimming. Go swimming once or twice a week for 20 minute sessions, taking breaks as needed. You’ll improve quickly, eventually swimming for longer and going more often.
Be An Artist
Based on Chinese martial arts, Tai Chi and Qi Gong feature gentle, slow, and flowing movements with focus and grace, and are often considered a type of meditation. Your body is in constant motion to stretch and strengthen muscles, accompanied by deep breathing, all of which reduces stress and anxiety and carries little risk of injury due to sudden movement.
First, find a teacher, perhaps through the American Tai Chi and Qi Gong Association. You’ll easily meet others who gather regularly to practice both inside and outdoor, because this activity promotes community, which is also good for your health, by the way.
Massage Your Insides
Yoga improves circulation, gets oxygen to flow, relieves pain and stiffness, and helps your internal organs perform optimally. The very nature of the physical movements simultaneously and repeatedly stretches and compresses your muscles and inside organs like a massage for your insides, combining the movement with mental practices such as meditation and breath work, which reduce stress and help us sleep better.
It’s very easy to find a yoga class, with yoga’s surge in popularity in recent years. Not all yoga is the same, so check out our overview of commonly found types of yoga – a little research before you go.
Discuss with your doctor, and know that being active regularly also an incredible side effect: as your body feels younger, you might also feel more young at heart… aka, happier.